29 April 2008

A poem that speaks to me

I was looking for a quote about lakes to use as a sig line on another website that I belong to, and I ran across this poem. I've never read this one before, but it immediately stood out to me. In it, the speaker has determined that he will leave his urban home and move to a lake island. He looks forward to building his cabin and living in harmony with nature. One of the reasons he chooses to leave his home for this lake island is because deep in his heart, he constantly hears the lapping waters of the lake along the shore.

WOW! If I were able to put my feelings about being at the lake into words, this is exactly what I would have said. My favorite times are early in the morning and late in the evening when the only sounds one hears are the birds, the crickets, and the water. I love sitting out on the porch early in the morning with a good cup of coffee and just "being." I love the end of the day when all the boaters have gone home and the lake is smooth as glass. I long for the day when John and I build our cabin and life is simple and peaceful.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always day and night
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

27 April 2008

Fun in Fort Walton!

I just got in a little over an hour ago from the Junior Civitan District convention in Fort Walton Beach. Ben Russell only had 12 students total, but that number was perfect! I've discovered that the larger the crowd of teens, the more we have to keep up with. Of those 12, three were district officers and one is the international president for Junior Civitan. Someday, I'll be able to say the governor of Alabama or the president of the US or some other hugely important person was a member of the Benjamin Russell Junior Civitan while I was the advisor. Of course, I can take no credit for his success. He became deeply involved with the organization as a student at the middle school. By the time he got to my club, he was already a district officer and he just kept going. I'm still very proud of him, though! For next year, Ben Russell students will hold 5 of the 7 district officer seats.

The kids had a really good time. Friday night they got to watch Cars out by the pool. After the business meeting Saturday morning, it was games on the beach. The first year I went to the convention, I thought this would be the hokiest thing ever. I was SO wrong. It is so funny to watch the teams compete against each other, and of course, it is really fun to watch the Ben Russell teams be quite dominant. :) One of the middle school advisors, two of the middle school chaperones, and I did the sack race after all the kids had finished. I came in 2nd--not too bad for the oldest one of the bunch. lol After the banquet and officer installation Saturday night, they danced until about 11:30. Boy, do they have energy. I was ready to crash by 9. I'm sure most of them slept on the bus today.

25 April 2008

Awesome news!

Phillip will be teaching and coaching at Spain Park High School in the Hoover school systerm next year!! He, Katy, and Sam will be moving back to Birmingham. I'm really excited for him because I know SPHS is a great school. My best friend, plus several other good friends, teach there, and they all love it. Also, his brother Rob is the team opthamologist, so that will be great This means that John and I will get to spend lots more time with Sam. Probably not as much as Mike and Darlene, his other set of grandparents, but that's okay. We'll take him to the lake for the summers. :) Even after John and I move to the lake, Birmingham will still be a little closer than Huntsville was.

This just makes me an even bigger Jaguar fan!!! GO JAGS!!!

24 April 2008

Lies, deceit, and murder!

In senior English we just started Macbeth, and I LOVE it! Every time we start a new piece of literature, I tell the students that it is my favorite, but I really do believe that Macbeth is my favorite. If I were told I could teach only one piece of lit, that is the piece I would choose. After about the first act, the kids start to get in to it, too. We have some really good discussions about how one seemingly trivial act can completely change the course of one's life. Of course, Macbeth's actions are anything but trivial! The students really begin to question the whys and the hows of the things that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth do in their quest to achieve their goals. They begin to "argue" for their own individual opinions. They usually have fabulous discussions about who is really to blame for Macbeth's actions. Like I said, I love it!

22 April 2008

Baby King is a...

GIRL!!!! I couldn't wait any longer, so I sent Connie a text to find out, but as soon as I got home from Bunco I checked my email and had "confirmation" from Amy. I am SO SO SO excited!! This will be the first baby girl in the Vest family in 24 years! Jess, this means you aren't the baby girl of the family anymore. :) I'm sure with Will being the older brother she will be one tough chick because he doesn't too much care for the "sissy girls." But with Aunt Nonnie and Aunt Trina to spoil her rotten, she'll also love the girly stuff. It is going to be so much fun to watch her and Sam as they grow up just 5 months apart in age.

Maya Angelou's Best Poem Ever

My niece Amy sent this to me, and I love it. I guess I'm pretty fortunate because I have all those things, and I know all those things.

MAYA ANGELOU'S' BEST POEM EVER Maya Angelou, for Random House

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .. Enough money within her control to move out And rent a place of her own, Even if she never wants to or needs to... (This is why I felt the need to have a college education.)

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE Something perfect to wear if the employer, Or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour... (The perfect black dress...)

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE A youth she's content to leave behind.... (It was fun, but...)

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE A past juicy enough that she's looking forward to Retelling it in her old age.... (I'm not old enough to share it yet.)

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .... A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra... (Check, check, check)

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE . One friend who always makes her laugh... And one who lets her cry... (Mom, Susan, Connie, Dolly, Karen, Amanda, Misty--oh, it says ONE)

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE .. A good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family.. (My china cabinet is antique, but no one in my family previously owned it, so that counts.)

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... Eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, And a recipe for a meal, That will make her guests feel honored... (Check, check, check)

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... A feeling of control over her destiny... (I am in control of my life!)

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... How to fall in love without losing herself.. (I'm crazy in love with my husband, but I am still my own person!!)

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... How to quit a job, Break up with a lover, And confront a friend without Ruining the friendship.... (Done all three.)

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... When to try harder... And WHEN TO WALK AWAY.. (I'm learning to walk away.)

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... That she can't change the length of her calves, The width of her hips, or the nature of her parents... (Wouldn't change any of it. Well, maybe the width of my hips. lol)

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... That her childhood may not have been perfect..but it's over... (Certainly not a perfect childhood, but I have such wonderful memories!)

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.. What she would and wouldn't do for love. . . (I would walk through Hell for those I love.)

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.. How to live alone even if she doesn't like it... (Been there, done that)

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW.. Whom she can trust, Whom she can't, And why she shouldn't take it personally... (So true...)

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... Where to go... Be it to her best friend's kitchen table Or a charming inn in the woods... When her soul needs soothing.. (Gosh, I AM lucky! I can think of so many places I can go.)

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... What she can and can't accomplish in a day... A month...and a year... (And in a lifetime...)

21 April 2008

Busy weekend!!

Wow--I think I'm glad it's Monday!! It was such a busy weekend, but it was a really good one. :)

I made it to the baseball game Friday afternoon and watched our Wildcats completely dominate Shelby County. They won the first game 28-1 and the second one 12-2. They play Spanish Fort next. Go Cats!!

My next stop was JR's to meet John for dinner. Then I headed back to the Sportplex to watch the soccer games. I saw all but about 15 minutes of the girls' game, and I saw the first half of the boys' game. The girls lost 3-2, but the boys won 1-0. It was their 7th area championship. Way to go, guys!! Both teams will be in play-offs.

Jessi had her jewelry party Saturday. At first, I wasn't sure I was going to go, but then I decided that I wasn't going to allow my life to be dictated by others. I wanted to support Jessi, so I went. She had a really great show. I hope my show is as good!! (It's June 3 at 7, so put it on your calendars!!)

While I was gone to Jessi's, John decided to take the Harley out for a spin. He hasn't gotten to ride very much at all in the last year or so. He's tossed around the idea of selling it a couple of times, but it's one of those things that he isn't 100% sure he wants to do. One week he's saying that he could sell it and we could use the money toward the lake, but then the next week he says he'll just keep it. I guess if the right dollar amount was offered, he'd sell. :)

We didn't make it to church yesterday--I spent the entire day grading rough drafts. I got them all done, though! It would've been much better if I'd done a few Friday night, some Saturday, and then finished up yesterday. At least the final papers don't have to be graded in a weekend!

18 April 2008

No lake relaxation this weekend :(

This is probably one of the nicest weekends we've had in the Crane Hill/Logan area, and we aren't getting to spend any time at the lake. BOO! It's just a crazy, busy weekend, though! Our varsity baseball team is playing this afternoon in a state playoff game, and since I have several baseball players, I'm going to that at 4:00. Then the soccer team is playing Sylacauga--their biggest rival--about 7:30, and I'm going to that. Tomorrow, Jessi is having a jewelry party at 2:00. Yep, I'm going to that. And then tomorrow night is prom, and I really want to go to that. Since I have a senior advisement and I teach primarily seniors, I would love to see them all dressed up, and so many of them have asked if I was going to "hang out" with them at prom. BUT I also have to find time to grade rough drafts of the research papers because I HAVE to return them on Monday so they can have their final drafts turned in on Friday. Ahhh--the life of a teacher. I need a clone! :)

I won't get to go to the lake next weekend either because I'll be in Fort Walton Beach with the Junior Civitan club at district convention. After that, we'll probably go to the lake every weekend. The only thing to interfere with that is graduation.

Once graduation is over, the pups and I will pretty much move to the lake. I know that I'll spend some time in Dadeville. I'll have to be here for Bunco nights. I can't miss spending time with the Bunco Babes. :) And I really can't leave John for THAT long! I'd go nuts, and the pups would, too. He has enough vacation time built up that I'm sure he'll take some LONG weekends.

I'm just ready to have some real downtime with nothing to do. I know I complain sometimes about the amount of stuff to grade and students, but I wouldn't change my career for anything else out there. I love my summers WAY too much.

16 April 2008

My Favorite Things

  • Chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven
  • A baby who has his or her giggle box turned on
  • Sunshine on my shoulders
  • The smell of freshly cut grass
  • Hummingbirds
  • The first daffodil of spring
  • A night sky filled with stars
  • Fresh laundry
  • The wind in my hair
  • Sand between my toes
  • The smell of the ocean
  • Blue skies
  • Rainy days and a good book
  • A good hot cup of coffee
  • Laughing until my sides hurt
  • John's laugh
  • Puppy breath
  • Vanilla scented candles
  • Sleeping with the windows open
  • Snuggling when it's cold
  • Hearing 92,138 fans yelling "ROLL TIDE!"
  • Relaxing at the lake

13 April 2008

We got our "Sam Fix" yesterday :)

Because the weather was so bad in and around Birmingham on Friday, we didn't go north until yesterday. We stopped by Hartselle and picked up Billie and Aunt Kat and then got to Katy and Phillip's around 11:30 or so. Phillip was in Gadsden with the soccer team until about 5:30, so it was just Katy and Sam. Sam got to meet his great-grandmother, MaMaw Vest, and his great-great-aunt, Aunt Kat, for the first time. Neither have stopped talking about him yet! Like I've said before, this child has so many people to shower love on him. Oh, he also got to meet his Aunt Amy and Uncle Allen, too. (Amy and Katy are first cousins, and Amy is expecting a little bundle of joy in August. We're all hoping for a girl.) Aunt Nonnie stopped by for a bit as well.

We had Ali and Bama with us, so it was their first time to ever be around a SMALL baby. They've been around Zack and Will tons of times, so we knew they were good with kids. Bama was fine, until I held Sam, and even then he just "talked" to me. I know he was saying, "Momma, what are you doing holding him? You're not supposed to hold anybody except me!" Ali just couldn't seem to figure Sam out. She tried so hard to get close to him--and kiss him, I'm sure. She finally understood that she couldn't get too close, but she stayed as close as she could. And once she did sneak in a kiss on his ear before I could stop her. :)

Katy decided to take some "Katy time" and went to get a pedi/mani, so Poppa John and Grana got Sam all to ourselves for about 2 1/2 hours! We should've run with him while we had the chance. I know Phillip and Katy would have never missed him. Sure, and the moon is made of bleu cheese. lol

We hated to leave, and John swears he won't go an entire month before he sees him again. He wants to spend as much time with him as he can so that Sam will grow up with lots of wonderful memories of his granddad.

Sam meets MaMaw Vest for the first time.

Four generations

Ali had the hardest time trying to figure out what Sam was. :)

Like Poppa, like Sam
Is this not one of the sweetest things you've EVER seen?
Yep, THIS is why I got outlines graded. :)
I could snuggle like this forever!
Can you guess what he's doing here? This is a picture to
show future girlfriends. :)

11 April 2008

We get to see Sam tomorrow :)

We're going to Hartselle tonight, and then we're going over tomorrow to see Sam. Can you believe that he was a month old yesterday! Wow--the time has flown!! John hasn't seen him since he was in the hospital, and I haven't seen him since he was a week old. I know he has changed so much since then. Huntsville is just TOO far away.

We've got to get to the lake sooner rather than later. I'll be spending the majority of the summer there, so I'm hoping that I can make plans to see Phillip, Katy, and Sam about once a week or so. Of course, we're hoping they'll be able to spend some time at the lake, too! Poppa John can't wait to start teaching Sam how to fish. Katy and I can get some serious tanning done on Danny and Linda's swim pier.

My next class just came in, so this is all for now. :)

09 April 2008

Check the ESL class's blog!

Dolly, one of my closest friends, is the ESL teacher at Benjamin Russell. She and her students thought it would be fun to create a blog for their class so that they can keep in touch with family and friends in their native countries. They're just getting started with it, but check it out. I have it the link to it on the left side of my page, or you can go to www.alexcityeslclass.wordpress.com I'm sure they'd love some feedback. :)

08 April 2008

And just like that, they are gone

Another day down and only 32 more to go until summer vacation! In August, it feels like this time of the year will never get here, but before we have time to turn around twice, the year is almost over.

I always get so nostalgic in the spring. The seniors are all talking about graduation and how they can't wait to "get out of here." I see the excitement of facing the next step in their lives, and it makes me think back to 1985 when I was where they are now. Oh, to be able to go back and take things just a little more slowly. They have so much ahead of them, and they can't wait to get started on that phase of their lives. They always talk about how quickly high school has passed, yet they don't seem to realize that the next few years will fly by just as quickly. As adults, we can tell them to slow down and to enjoy each day because before they know it, they'll be faced with bills and babies and all the other adult responsibilities. They don't listen, though. Very few of us did at that age.

This year, graduation will be a little more meaningful to me. I will be watching my "babies" walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. At Benjamin Russell, we have an advisor program. As freshmen, the students are assigned to a teacher who will be with them as an advisor/homeroom teacher for the next four years. Over that period of time, we get pretty close to most of them. The kids that I have are all very special to me, and I can honestly say that I love them each and every one. Some of them I want to knock upside the head every once in a while, but that's just because they are 18 years old. :) I've loaned money, I've been a shoulder to cry on, I've cried, I've celebrated, and I've counseled. And now I'm about to let them go. Some I'll continue to see in town, and some of them I'll never see again. No matter, I'll rejoice over their marriages and babies, and I'll hurt for them over their losses.

Yes, these 18 young men and women will soon be gone--to college, to the military, to work and a family--but they will always be in my heart. And in August, I'll get a new, fresh group of eager freshmen who will turn around twice and they'll be seniors. And just like that, they are gone.

06 April 2008

Weekend at the lake

Another wonderfully relaxing weekend at the lake. Well, maybe not all THAT relaxing. Everyone who "weekends" at the lake--any lake, really--will tell you that there are very few weekends that are spent JUST relaxing. We've come to know that very well.

A couple of weeks ago we stopped by to check things out on our way from Hartselle. We were going to turn the water on so we'd be able to use bathroom while we were there. You can probably guess--a pipe had burst. John got all the stuff so he could fix it this weekend, or so he thought. What should have been a quick 30 minute project ended up taking about 3 hours and two trips to DJs for extra plumbing supplies. He DID get it fixed, though. We checked all the faucets inside, and they seemed to be okay. The trap under the kitchen sink wasn't though. It had a leak. Trip number 3 to DJs on Saturday morning. That's fixed, too.

When they put in the rip rap, the line for the satelllite got cut, so that was project number 2. John got that taken care of yesterday, but when we went to make sure it worked, the receiver wasn't picking up. He had to make a trip to the top of the hill to call the company to have them reset the box. So now we have TV again. He still has to bury the line, but I think we're going to rent a trencher to do that so we can get it deeper than we did before.

We got my elephant ears planted, so hopefully the next time we're up there (next weekend I hope!!) we'll see some beginning to pop through the ground. I want to plant a few other things, too, but that may have to wait.

Our final project was to "decorate." I know that our trailer isn't much, but we want to make it OURS, and I think we've got a pretty good start. All the things we bought at Hobby Lobby last week will be used in our house when we finally get to build, but for now, they are making the trailer look MUCH better! One thing I hope to do this summer is paint. It really shouldn't take long. After all, the trailer is only 48 feet long and 12 feet wide. Then again, any project that shouldn't take long usually does. :) One thing that I really like about our tiny place is that it takes NO time to clean! I can clean the entire trailer in about the time it takes me to vacuum our house.

I got ALL my bib cards and note cards graded. I started on them about 8:15 yesterday morning and finished about 6:15 last night. That is 10 hours!! I didn't spend the entire 10 hours grading--I schedule short breaks after every 5 sets so that it isn't so overwhelming. I'd guess I probably did spend about 8 hours, though. With no TV at the time, no internet at all, and a cold day, my breaks were much shorter than they would've been otherwise. I knew I HAD to get those done, though!

The pups had a great time, as usual. Both of them slept all the way home and are sound asleep on the couch now. I doubt we'll hear much of them before morning. And even then, they probably won't be waking us up to go out at 4:15, either. :)

It's been a LONG day, so I am going to call it a night myself. Only 7 weeks until summer vacation. I think I can make it.

04 April 2008

Last night I turned John on

...to Hobby Lobby. Oh, wait. You thought this was about something else? SHAME ON YOU! Get your mind out of the gutter!! ;)

The annual turkey hunt that John goes on with a bunch of his buddies from high school and some of Roger's former team mates from Bama was cancelled for this weekend. Roger called and said some things had come up that he needed to take care of, so we decided to go to the lake this weekend.

I had planned on riding to Hobby Lobby this afternoon to get a "V" stamp for all those 80 million bib cards and note cards I have to grade this weekend, but when John said we'd go to the lake, I told him I wanted to run to Opelika last night to get a stamp. It will be SO much easier to stamp their cards than to write TMV 80 million times! John had never been to a Hobby Lobby; he always thought it was just an arts and crafts store. When we went in, we walked by a display of all this "lakey" stuff--fish, boats, stringers, lures, etc.--and it was on sale. We ended up buying lots of stuff for the trailer, and eventually for our house we build. :) I can't wait to do a little decorating this weekend. I figure I can do a little bit when I take my grading breaks.

It's supposed to be rainy tomorrow, which will be good. If it were 80 degrees and sunny, I would be dying to be in the sun instead of grading.

02 April 2008

Responsiblity, people!

As a teacher of senior English, one of the things that I try to stress to my students is RESPONSIBILITY!! Much sooner than they realize, they are going to be out in the "real world" and they are going to be the ones having to make sure bills are paid on time. Momma and Daddy won't be there to prod them (or in some cases, do it for them!) We began the research process last week, and each day I stress to them that I will not accept late work. Misty, the other senior English teacher, and I have a contract we make the students AND their parents sign with a statement that says no late work accepted for ANY reason. If they are absent, they are to make sure the assignments is to us by the BEGINNING of the class period. Today the thesis statement was due, and sure enough, three students were absent. Two of the students sent their thesis statements to me by another student (one even sent hers by 3 students. haha) The third student didn't. About the middle of the class period I get a message from our secretary stating that his dad called and the student is home sick. (Granted, about half the soccer team does have food poisoning and he does play soccer.) Anyway, the message goes on to say that his dad will bring it to me later. When his dad (who was an asst. admin. last year AND had a son who was a senior here last year) comes in, I told him I could not give him the points for it (10 points was all it is worth.) Dad doesn't like this AT ALL and says he will have to take this up with...My principal came to talk to me about it and to see the statement on the contract. Now, I'm waiting to see what comes of it. Unless it can be proven to me that board policy states I must give him credit for it, I will stand my ground.

This policy was put into place YEARS ago because so many students were being absent on the day that assignments were due because they didn't have them done. Then, parents would write notes lying for them and saying they were sick so the absence would be excused and the grade would count. I find it so hard to believe that parents do that! My parents would have NEVER lied for me. If I didn't get something done, I had to face the consequences. Like I said earlier, half the soccer team has food poisoning and he does play soccer, so I know his parents haven't lied about that for him. BUT I have stressed and stressed that they must get the work to me. I even told them that if they had a parent bring it, they better make sure the parent stresses to the office staff that I better get it before the tardy bell rings for their class period. Were that not the case, I wouldn't have a leg to stand on, but I don't think it's going to be an issue. Then again...

01 April 2008

Mrs. Thompson

The wisteria is in full bloom!

Mrs. Willodean Thompson was my 5th and 6th grade science teacher and one of the 6th grade homeroom teachers at Oakman Elementary. I had her for homeroom, so that meant she taught me spelling and reading in addition to 6th grade science. She was the meanest teacher in the entire world!! Or so my memories tell me. I'm sure that now that I'm an adult and a teacher myself, I would have a very different opinion were I able to visit her classroom again. She was very strict, and she didn't put up with any foolishness! We had tape on the floor where our desks were to be, and believe you me, if you got your desk off the tape, she made sure you got it right back on! She was an excellent teacher, though, and she taught me so much.

So, what does wisteria have to do Mrs. Thompson? I don't remember if it was in 5th or 6th grade, but she pointed out a tree covered in wisteria behind the school. I don't know if we had talked about wisteria during the plant unit of our science class, if it had been mentioned in a story we read, or if she just wanted to point it out to us, but every year when the wisteria blooms, I think about Mrs. Thompson.

She is one of those teachers that I wish I were able to go back and thank for all she did. One of my strongest desires is that I am making an impression in some way on my students the way Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Hutto, or Miss Smith did on me. I think it is because of these wonderful, wonderful teachers that I made the choice to go into education.

Thank you, Mrs. Thompson!

I love my Crimson Tide!

I really, REALLY mean this...

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