30 May 2008

Project #1 is FINISHED!

Well, the painting part of it is. I still have all the stuff to put away (or at least hide until I start the dining room.) Tomorrow, John has to replace the light switches and outlets, and then we can start moving stuff back in.

I took a break for a few hours this afternoon and rode to Opelika. I wanted to go to Kirkland's and to Hobby Lobby to get a few things (and to Dick's for a new pair of Crocs.) I got a pretty set of sconces that I'm going to use on either side of the mantle and a decorative plate and a bowl to use on the mantle. I found a gorgeous arrangment at Hobby Lobby, but they wanted 60 bucks for it. I have a really pretty vase in a stand already, so I just bought the stuff to do the arrangment myself! I may not be able to come up with decorating ideas myself, but I can sure recreate something. :)

My curtains came today, too, so I got rods for them. The door panels are on backorder until August 1, but that's okay. I can live with the one already on the door until then. I did go ahead and get panels for the French doors between the living room and dining room and one for the door between the living room and the hallway. I haven't had anything on these doors in forever, but I decided to put something back on them. I especially want something on the door at the hallway since you can see straight into our bedroom from outside! I didn't get sheer panels to use with the curtains, but once we get them up, I may decide to get the sheers. It just depends on the way it looks without them and how well the panel on the hallway door hides the bedroom. lol

I'm taking a break from painting for a couple of weeks. I really wanted to try to get it all done at the same time, but it just ain't happenin'! Mom will be here from Monday until Wednesday. My jewelry party is Tuesday night, and on Thursday, Susan and I have a spa day planned. I'm staying at her house Thursday night so we can do a pool day on Friday. I'll head to the lake from there, and then John and the pups will come when he gets off work. The pups and I will stay the next week, and then John will come back the following weekend. Then, I'll get back to painting.

Fortunately, after the dining room is done, the only thing left will be to repaint our bedroom, and that really won't be hard. The ceiling and trim work won't need anything done--just the walls. Actually, that won't be the last thing. We'll still have the bathroom to do, but there is more to do there than just paint. That will be more of John's project than mine. :)

29 May 2008

Will it NEVER end??

John swears it won't, but I swear it will. Just not as soon as we'd like! We have just finished the first coat of paint on the living room walls, and it looks pretty darn good! I'll do the second coat and the baseboards tomorrow. When John gets home, he'll replace all the outlets and switches. Except for the floor being redone, we'll be finished with the living room. Then, we'll start on the dining room. Not until AFTER a little R&R, though!! Hopefully, before the summer is over, we'll get an estimate on having the hardwood floors redone in the living room, dining room, and hallway, and maybe we'll even get that done before school starts back.

I'm having my jewelry party Tuesday night. Mom is coming down for it, but I'm not sure yet if she'll be here Monday or Tuesday. I hope Monday (um hum--Mom, I know you're reading this! haha) I had hoped to have the dining room painted before the party, but...Unless Norm and his crew from This Old House show up, I don't think that's gonna happen.

It's late (for me, anyway) and I'm hot, stinky, and sore, so I'm going to go take a nice, long, hot shower and call it a night.


26 May 2008

I Blew Out My Flipflop

I did NOT step on a pop top, cut my heel, and have to cruise on back home. :) I seriously did blow out one of my Crocs, though, and I love them. Guess that means a trip to Kinnucan's or Dick's to get a new pair. I think I'm going to bill Danny and Linda's neighbor since it was his boat dock on their anchor line that caused their walkway to separate from their dock, and I was stepping across that spot when it blew. lol

John and I got up Saturday just like it was a work day so we could get an early start. We left home a little before 6 and got to the lake about 9. Misty, my cousin, got there about 10.

I have to digress for a minute...I have Misty to thank for John and me getting together. This is one of those "What if..." deals. After college, I was in between jobs. A friend of my mom's told her they were hiring at the hospital, so I went to put in an application. All of the jobs posted were those that I really didn't want, but at this point, I couldn't be choosy. I had rent, utilities, a car payment, car insurance, and medical insurance to pay, and my last paycheck was coming up fast. When I turned in the application, the HR receptionist, whom I've known most, if not all, my life, looked over it and asked me to have a seat. A few minutes later, the HR director called me back to her office. An opening for a receptionist/clerk in the radiology department had just become available but wasn't yet posted. Would I be interested? Uhhh--YES! She took me down to interview with the supervisor. After the interview, Pam showed me around and introduced me to several people, one of whom was the assistant director, a nice guy named John. A couple of weeks later, I was offered the job, and I took it.

Fast forward about 3 months. Misty and her best friend Monica stopped by my apartment one Saturday night. One of the guys from the X-ray dept. was having a party, and they wanted me to go. I really wasn't in the mood, so I told them I'd just stay home. They kept on, and finally Misty told me John was going to be there. Suddenly, I was a little more in the mood to go to a party. (I'd decided that I kind of liked him just a little bit.) :) Much later I found out that Misty and Monica had made up their minds that John and I needed to get together, and they were not going to take no for an answer that night. Sixteen years later, here we are. So, what if I hadn't put in an application at the hospital? What if I'd waited a couple of weeks and the receptionist job had been filled? What if I had been insistent that I would not go to that party? I think John and I still would've found our way to each other, but it might have taken a little longer.

Back to this weekend...After I fed Misty and John a delicious, gourmet lunch of hot dogs and chips, Misty and I headed down to Danny and Linda's swim pier for a little R & R and some sun. We had a really good talk--caught up on a lot of stuff. A couple of hours later, Ron and Cindy pulled up on their pontoon.

Ron and Cindy are the first friends of John's that I met, and we clicked from the beginning. Cindy and John have been friends since their school days, and he and Ron met after college. Ron was kind of John's lifesaver after his divorce. Ron let John stay out at his house on the lake for about 6 months or so. John has said so many times how he enjoyed living there. He would get up early and fish before getting ready to go to work, and then in the afternoons he would just sit and enjoy the solitude. Ron was calling me "the wife" before John and I ever even used the "L" word. :) Guess he saw something pretty early on. After they left, Misty, John, and I headed back to the trailer to clean up for dinner.

John grilled chicken for dinner (YUM!!) Danny and Linda had come down Saturday afternoon, so the five of us had a good visit.

Misty left pretty early Sunday so she could get home to see Hudson before he had to go home. John and I walked to Danny and Linda's, and then I was back in the sun. Two days of REAL sun!! Much better than a tanning bed tan for sure. Last night, John fried up some fish that Danny and Linda had caught with Tim. Talk about good. I'm surprised I didn't sprout fins overnight from eating so much.

We left about 3 today and headed home. Coming home this time wasn't quite as depressing for me. I guess it's because I know that if I wanted to, I could get up in the morning and go back. (Ah, summer vacation...) Unfortunately, my classroom still has a little that needs to be done, and the living room and dining room won't paint themselves. I hope I can get that done before the weekend gets here, but if not, I know how I'll spend this coming weekend, and it won't be in the sun.

23 May 2008

Just waiting...

Today was just a work day--finish with grades, clean, etc. I had all my grades done and in the computer yesterday, so all I had to do today was to wait for the registrar to run the averager at noon, print my grades, and I'd be done with that part. My plan was to clean this room and to get rid of books I inherited when I moved into this room. If you are a teacher, you know exactly what I mean. You move into a room and you have tons of stuff, but none of it is relevant to what you are teaching, or it is so old Noah probably used it on the ark. I had a cabinet FULL of old textbooks, sample textbooks from previous adoption years, workbooks, you name it. None of it has even been looked at in the two years I've been in this room. With this being our lit. adoption year, we are getting rid of all the old lit books. A company is coming in to buy them. What can be used will be, and what can't be used they will buy at tonnage. Hmmm--perfect time to clean out the old cabinet! Needless to say, right now I am covered in dust, I'm hot, and I know I'm in need of a shower! All I need to do before I can leave is to print grades. I had just started when the principal announced that we had to shut down STI for about 20 minutes because of something they needed to do system-wide. Crud. So, I'm sitting here. Just waiting.

On a more fun note--we are going to the lake tomorrow, and my cousin is coming to stay tomorrow night with us! Yea!!!

21 May 2008

Ahhh--a little RT

Retail Therapy--one of my favorites! It wasn't just shopping for "therapy" though. We have graduation Friday night, and the senior advisors will be sitting on the field. They want us to wear something that "blends" with the students--either something in school colors or conservative. Our graduation ceremony is by far the most dignified ceremony I think I've ever attended. Everyone in the community understands that this is the chance for the seniors to have their moment, and they abide by the rules. The seniors may complain and grumble at first, but they always come back to say they appreciate it.

Anyway, since all my school color clothes are golf shirts, T-shirts, etc., I don't think that would be quite what they have in mind. The dresses I have aren't really what I would consider conservative, either. Those of you who know me know that I'm MUCH more comfy in casual stuff--jeans, capris, etc. I'm not a "suit" person!

After work, I headed to Auburn to Dillard's. (Oh, how I miss Parisian!!! I'd have gone to Birmingham if Parisian were still around.) The stuff they had just really didn't appeal to me, so it was off to the other stores I shop in. Chico's had a cute dress, but it didn't fall into the conservative category. I love, love, love Coldwater Creek, but their stuff is a little too perky for a dignified graduation ceremony. Fortunately, there is a Talbot's in the mall. I found the perfect outfit--navy blue and definitely conservative! Of course, that meant I had to have jewelry to complement, and since I didn't have navy shoes, a stop at the shoe department in Dillard's.

Today was the last day for seniors. My advisement gave me a picture of all of us. They had matted it and put my name above the picture and "We Love You" under it. They also gave me a coffee mug with my name on it. They KNOW I love my coffee!! My next group has a lot to try to live up to. I'm not sure they will have it in them, because these young men and women are without a doubt some of the most wonderful I've ever known.

20 May 2008

Old Age

A (young!) friend sent this to me. (Gee, Brooke, are you trying to tell me something? hahaha) While I don't consider myself in old age (middle age, yes) I can see the truth in this. (The purple is my commentary.)

Old Age, I decided, is a gift. I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometimes despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!) but I don't agonize over those things for long. (Would it do any good to agonize over it?)

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, and my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. (Never, never, never!) As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. (Fortunately, I have someone who decided to be critical of me for me. teeheehee) I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon, before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50's, 60's, & 70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love...I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, (Well, maybe not this...) despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life (people included) is just as well forgotten. (Amen to this!!!!) And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect. (I really agree with this!)

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray (although I do color it...), and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. (I really don't care about what many people think, but I think it's funny when they think I do.) I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. (Life is much more fun and interesting when you don't waste time.) And I shall eat dessert every single day. If I feel like it.

19 May 2008

It's here!

The last week of the school year is here! Today and tomorrow are "normal" days, except for seniors. They'll be taking their 3rd and 4th block exams tomorrow afternoon. Wednesday is 1st and 2nd block exams for everyone, and Thursday is 3rd and 4th block exams for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Teachers have to come Friday to finish up, and then graduation is Friday night.

Before school started this morning, Jaquetta and Jimmon, who were in my advisement until this year when they leveled the numbers, brought me flowers! They are SO pretty and bright. Then, in advisement, one of my girls made a comment about this being it, and tender-hearted me teared up. I've been one of the lucky ones with my advisement. Not every teacher has a group of kids that they really like, but I love ALL of mine!!! I've said before in a post that there are times I want to whop 'em, but heck, they ARE teenagers. Since the seniors will all be finished Wednesday, I have a feeling that when advisement is over that day, I'll be in tears again. When you spend 180 days out of the year with the same people, it is hard to say good-bye.

Since I'll be at graduation Friday night (Mr. Davidson wants all the senior advisors to sit on the field) we won't be leaving for the lake until early Saturday. John and I decided we'd just get up like it was a normal work day so we could leave early and get there before the day is gone. We've got to get some yard work done Saturday, but I told him that my bum isn't leaving the swim pier at all on Sunday! Unless something drastic happens, he'll be off work Monday, so we won't come home until later that day. I would love it if he could take off Tuesday, too.

Since he more than likely won't be off Tuesday, I'll start my summer painting project. For the last 3 summers, I've taken a room (or rooms) and painted. I started with the den, then I moved to the front bedroom, the hallway, and the breakfast room. Last summer I got the kitchen done. My goal this summer is the living room and the dining room. That will leave our bedroom to repaint and the bathroom, but it needs some work done, so I'm not touching it until John gets his part done!

We're looking forward to an awesome, relaxing summer (except for the SUPER Teacher Institute the last week in June...) We have no huge plans, but that's quite all right. We'll enjoy spending as much time as possible at the lake, and that means spending more time with family and friends. I'm quite sure that over the summer we'll be having cookouts a lot. Hmmm--family, friends, food--what could be better?

17 May 2008

The Harley really IS gone

The guy who bought the Harley came yesterday afternoon and got it. That is the only time anyone other than John has driven it, with the exception of the guys at the dealership when he's taken it in for servicing. It was SO sad to see it, and then to hear it, go.

John had been talking to Katy when the guy called to say he was almost here, so after they left, he called Katy back. He was telling her he'd sold it and he said that he nearly cried. In the time I've known John, he has cried twice--once when his dad died and once when Roy Watts died--both very important and influential men in his life.

This feels like one chapter in our lives has closed. It was a chapter that was full of freedom and adventure. Anyone who has never ridden motorcycles wouldn't understand. It is something riders can't explain. You either "get it" or you don't. We'll start the next chapter, and I know that it will be just as much fun and adventurous.

15 May 2008

Happy Birthday, Ali!

Today is Ali's first birthday! It is so hard to believe that a year ago, I just happened to look on Nichole's website and saw that a brand new litter of pups had been born that very morning, AND they were chocolates!! I had decided that Bama needed a sister, and I wanted a chocolate or a blue, so this must've been meant to be. John wasn't as keen on adding another puppy to our household, but as soon as he got home, I made him look at the sweet babies on her site. I think he knew it was hopeless at that point. hahaha We talked about the two females in the litter. I had picked out the runt, but John liked the other one better because her blaze was more centered on her face. He said I could call Nichole to see about getting her. Well, that one was already on hold, but the other female was still available. I told her to put HOLD on her and that I'd be there in about 15 minutes to make the deposit.

Nichole always names her puppies herself, and since the momma and the daddy of this litter were Cocoa and Candy, all the puppies had candy/cookie names. I THINK Ali's might have been Oreo, but I had already decided on Ali, so from the minute I saw her, she was Ali.

She was absolutely the tiniest thing! Nichole got the other female to show me the comparison. Ali was half the size. Because she was so tiny, Nichole said that if she didn't make it, I could have first choice out of the next litter. I had no doubt that this little girl was going to make it. I could just tell that she was a fighter. I would call or email Nichole about once a week, and I would go to her house about every couple of weeks to see her. She stayed tiny, but she just thrived! The first time I got to hold her, she gave me sweet little puppy kisses (and she hasn't stopped yet!!)

We didn't actually bring her home until she was 8 weeks old. Those were some long weeks! The minute she walked into the house, she knew she was home. She ran over to John, jumped up in his lap, and kissed him. Then she began her job as tormentor to her brother. :) Bama wasn't too sure about her, and even now he acts like she's just something he HAS to deal with, but he gets just as much enjoyment out of her as we get out of them. Yes, she aggravates the snot out of him, but he does his fair share of instigating.

So a year later, how does John feel about having two pups in the house? HA He is 100% smitten with both of them. He tells them he loves them all the time. He pretends to be the big tough "daddy" but that is so not the case. He spoils them rotten!

Ali Bug, happy, happy birthday!! We love you!

The Harley is gone :(

John decided a few weeks ago that he wanted to list the Harley again. I put off listing it, because I wanted to make sure that was what he really and truly wanted to do. Several times, he told me I needed to put an ad in the paper, so I did last week. He's had 4 calls about it, and one man even came by to look at it. He got the same thing--"I need to think about it." He got the 4th call last night. After hanging up, he said he didn't think this guy would buy it and that he sounded like Larry. Not being able to recall a Larry, I gave him a puzzled look and said, "The cable guy?" He said, "No, Larry from the safety class." Ohhhhh. (This is one of those "you had to be there" things. They sent Larry home from the class after the morning riding session.)

I got to work this morning and checked all my emails, and "Larry" (not his real name) had sent a reply. He was serious, and he wanted to know if John could meet him tomorrow so he could bring a certified check! I called John and told him I was forwarding the email to him.

John just called me and said it's sold. He sounds like he has lost his best friend in the entire world (which is me, by the way. tee hee) When I told him how he sounded, he said he has lost his best bike. I told him that if he really doesn't want to sell, don't! Since he hasn't gotten to ride much in the last couple of years, he said he would go through with the sell, but it is still so sad! I'm even wondering if this is the right thing to do!

The Harley motto will always be one that I love: It isn't the destination; it's the journey. We've had lots of great journeys, and I know we will miss having the bike. It's like John said, though--he can always get a new one.

14 May 2008

Am I therapeutic?

Almost every morning, Karen, one of my dear friends, walks over to my room, or I walk over to hers and we just chat about everything and nothing. One of the disadvantages of being a teacher is that during the day, we don't get much "adult" conversation, so we take advantage of any opportunity to be around other adults. Even though I teach seniors for the majority of the day, and even though they are considered young adults, their focus and mine are vastly different. That isn't to say that I haven't had wonderful conversations with my students, but some things you just don't discuss with them!

Anyway, back to Karen. She has been one of my many sounding boards and support providers over the last few months This morning, our conversation drifted around to several different topics: summer plans, parents, kids, among others. As we discussed one of the others, Karen suggested that I am actually being therapeutic. When a person is faced with grief, there are the five stages of acceptance: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Not everyone experiences grief in the same way or for the same lengths of time. At the anger stage, one sometimes "transfers" his or her anger to someone outside the situation--a scapegoat, if you will. Karen feels that has happened to me, and I can see where she might be right. Maybe I am actually helping someone through these stages. I will admit that I am not totally in the right in the overall situation, but I know that I am not totally wrong, either.

12 May 2008

Woo Hoo!

This post is from my NEW LAPTOP! When we adopted new grammar books at the end of last year, we got to choose a "freebie." Most of us wanted laptops. We waited and we waited and we waited. It has been a YEAR since we made the adoption, and we just got the freebies on Friday. Of course, I couldn't post over the weekend because we don't have phone service (yet) at the lake, and when we got home last night, I just didn't feel like hooking it up to the phone line. We will be getting a wireless router for the house soon. :) It's going to be SO nice to be able to work on tests and to research material while sitting in the den with John instead of having to be off in another room.

11 May 2008

Weekend Update

No, this isn't a SNL Weekend Update comedy skit, so if that's what you're looking for you will probably be disappointed. I have a pretty good sense of humor (that is necessary with John as my husband), and I can be funny, but this isn't anything comedic. :)

We left about 5:30 Friday going to the lake. We'd probably been gone about an hour when I realized I left my GREEN BAG at home! Fortunately, we have everything we need at the lake as far as toiletries are concerned, but I haven't bought a hair dryer, brushes/combs, flat irons, etc. to leave up there yet. So, the hair was dried naturally all weekend long, which means it is C-U-R-L-Y and big! If John and I had decided to have a child, he or she probably would've hated us because his/her hair would've been HUGE! Anyway, not long after I realized my green bag had been left, Linda called to tell us the power was out and to give us the number so we could call and report the outage as well.

By the time we got there, it was about 10:15 (yes, it took WAY longer than usual!! Stops for gas, money, food, and one of John's new favorite stores--Hobby Lobby--will add minutes, or in this case 2 hours.) Still no power. We went to Danny and Linda's and visited with them and Billie for about an hour. When we got back to our place, we opened the windows in the bedroom. I felt like I was back at summer camp! Complete silence except for nature. No hum of electricity. Only crickets. I loved it! It took me no time to fall into the best sleep--until about 2:00 AM when I was jarred awake by the sound of the power company truck and a chain saw. They finally finished up about 2:30, and we had power.

John and the pups got up about 6 Saturday morning, which meant that I wasn't far behind. Whenever Bama is ready to get up, EVERYBODY should be ready to get up. And once his daddy was up, well, that was it! Fixed coffee and took my morning stroll down to the water. It was so calm and peaceful. Huge fish were jumping everywhere. About 7, John and I decided to fish for a little while. He caught two, but I wasn't so lucky. Linda walked over a little later, and then once Danny and Billie were up, we went to their place for a bit.

We had decided to cook-out Saturday for Mother's Day, so Mom and Dad, Connie, and Tim and Tisha came up, too. We had the best time! I've said it before, but I'm saying it again. I have to be the luckiest person in the world because I got the greatest family when I married John!! My mom and dad feel like they are a part of the Vest family, too, so that makes holidays even better because we don't have to split our time between families, which is hard since John and I don't live in the same place as either of our families. While the "guys" talked fishing and who knows what else, the "girls" sat and discussed books, recipes, and tons of other stuff. It was a very interesting conversation. Thanks Billie, Linda, Tisha, and Connie (Mom, too) for...everything. :)

After everyone left, John and I just enjoyed the quiet of the lake. We went out and fished a little more. He had one bite--it had to have been a really good side bass--but he lost it. I had two little nibbles. Oh well. It just wasn't my day for fishing. We went in and started watching the race, but I was exhausted (thanks to the 6 Benadryl I took throughout the day) so I fell asleep pretty early. About midnight, the storms began. The lightning was a constant flash, and the thunder rumbled continuously for about 45 minutes. To me, that was really soothing. The wind was a different story. Through the window,I could see the trees being whipped around. That wasn't so soothing since our lakeside "McMansion" is a 12X48 mobile home!! It finally moved on, and I was sound asleep again.

We didn't get up quite as early this morning. After being awakened two nights in a row, it was a little easier to sleep in, if you call 8:00 sleeping in. Coffee, walk to the water, ahhh--a beautiful day! Then, a little work. Anyone who thinks that lake weekenders don't do anything except vacation doesn't know what he or she is talking about because there is no vacation. Every time we're there, we have to do in one day all the stuff that we can do all during the week at home. We did the hardest part today so we won't have quite as much to do this weekend. Hopefully, we can get the yard cleaned up really well so that we CAN begin enjoying it more and working less.

The hardest part was loading up and coming home. Everytime we're up there, we enjoy ourselves so much, even if we are working our bums until they are dragging the ground. There is just nothing like hearing the sound of the water or watching the sunlight or the moonlight reflect off the smooth morning or evening lake. Even though we've lived in Dadeville just over 14 years, our little spot in Winston County feels more like home every time.

09 May 2008

Happy Birthday, Bama!

The Bamster is 2 years old today! According to the chart at the vet's office, that is actually closer to 20 years in doggy years instead of 14.

Since shih tzus were the breed of dog I'd been around the most, I never thought I would have had any breed of dog other than a shih tzu. After Elvis died, John was completely set against having another long-haired dog. We had talked about maybe getting a Jack Russell Terrier, but decided against that (too hyper!) Then, we talked about a Boston Terrier, but that never went beyond talking. We were out riding around one Saturday, and he saw a sign for Rat Terrier puppies. I quickly informed him that I did NOT want one of those, either. (I think I was being just a little obstinant. :) ) The next day was Father's Day (and Katy and Phillip's anniversary.) Jessi came over and we went to Oskar's for lunch. On the window, there was a sign for puppies...Rat Terrier puppies! I looked at it and decided I wanted to go LOOK. I called the number and spoke to the breeder. She said we could come, but all she had left were males. We got there, and she showed us the babies she still had for sale. Oh my goodness! I fell in love immediately with the cutest little black, white, and tan pup, and we decided to get him. He weighed a whopping 1 pound 1 ounce! He was SOOOOO tiny, and he was such a little snuggler.

John and I couldn't decide on a name for him. Everything I suggested, he didn't like, and everything he suggested, I didn't like. Jessi suggested Bama. We looked at him and decided that yep, he was a Bama!

We took him home, and while he and Daddy bonded, Jessi and I went to Petco and bought tons of stuff for him. I spent more on the stuff FOR him than I actually paid for HIM. lol He still has a couple of the toys.

In the almost 2 years that we've had him, I cannot imagine NOT having him. He has brought us so much joy and love. I still miss Elvis, but Bama came in a filled the void that our home had.

Happy birthday, Bama! Momma and Daddy love you!!

07 May 2008

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is Sunday, so I wanted to make a tribute to BOTH of my mommas.

My mom has been such an important woman in my life, and she has shown me unconditional love. Of course, she has to because she gave birth to me. lol (Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. Who can forget the woman who left her children to drown, trapped in a car? Many of you may have read the book The Boy Called It. Those women are NOT mothers, even if they DID give birth to a child. They are monsters!) Anyway, back to my mom. She has always been there for me, even when I did stupid things. We didn't always agree, and we had our share of arguments, but I knew that at the end of the day, she still loved me and would support me. NEVER as a child or a teen did I feel like she was my friend. She made it clearly known that she was my PARENT. (Thinking back, none of my friends' parents acted like they were our friends, and that is how it should be!!) As an adult, though, my mom is my closest friend. Recently, she has been a sounding board for me. She completely understands some of the things I have had to deal with lately because she has dealt with them as well. Her situation was different from mine, but she knows! I don't know what I'd do without her! Thanks, Mom, for EVERYTHING! I love you!!

My other momma, Billie, has also been a tremendous influence in my life. From the minute I met her, I knew that she and I would get along very well. Just like my own mom, she has provided support, advice, and unconditional love to me over the last 16 years. John and I had been married a very short time, maybe a month or so, when Billie and I were out doing some things together. She wanted to stop by the nursing home to see Miss Margaret, one of her dearest friends. I had gone to the bathroom, and I know they didn't realize I could hear their conversation. Miss Margaret commented to Billie that I was pretty. Billie agreed, and then she went on to say that I was also very sweet and that I was the best thing that could have happened to John. Tears welled up in my eyes because I knew this was from Billie's heart. She had said this to me before, and she still tells me quite frequently, but it meant so much more to hear her say it when she didn't think I heard. I feel so blessed to have this woman in my life as a mother. She doesn't have to love me, but she does, and for that I am forever grateful! Billie, I love you! Thanks for being a second mom to me!

So how does Mother's Day affect me, since I don't have any biological children? Do I get sad and cry? Do I regret the decision John and I made? No, I don't. Many times I have people question me about why John and I chose not to have children. When I met him, Katy and Jessi were 10 and 8. As our relationship began to become more serious and we began to talk about having a future together, the one thing he made sure I understood was that he wanted no more children. I was actually fine with this. Aunnie, my college roommate, and I had often discussed the fact that I didn't feel like I would ever have children myself, so this was NOT a decision I made only after John and I had gotten serious. We had been married about a year or so when we did actually toss around the idea of having a child, but after much discussion, we stuck with our original decision. Now that Katy and Jessi are independent adults, our house is almost paid for (only 8 more payments!), and we have the financial ability to do most anything we want, I am REALLY glad! If we had decided to have a child, he or she would be at the most 14. I don't have the desire to "deal with" all of the teenage angst that comes with that age. I deal with it everyday at work, anyway! Sounds selfish? Maybe. I know some people would think so, but I think it is extremely wise for a couple to realize that they do not have to bring a child into this world just to "complete" themselves. Some people pity those of us who consciously decide not to have children. Please don't! It would be different if I had wanted to have a house full of children but couldn't, but that isn't the case at all!

Happy Mother's Day!

04 May 2008

Aunt Trina on the loose!

Baby King, Aunt Trina went shopping for you today, and I had a BLAST!! Buying for a little girl is going to be so much fun. There are so many sweet little outfits out there that it was hard for me to choose. Tell your mommy that I'll bring everything to the lake this weekend. It's probably a good thing Uncle Johnny stayed home. ;) Sweet Girl, you are going to be SO spoiled since you are the only baby girl in the Vest family in 24 years. Don't get me wrong--we love our boys to death, but there is just something about a little girl.

02 May 2008

Summer fun??

OK--I'm wondering what in the world I have signed myself up for! Back at the beginning of the year, we got brochures in our mailboxes at work from the Alabama Humanities Foundation for summer workshops and institutes. One of the institutes was for "eResearch and eWriting: Preparing Students for Tech-Savvy College-Level Work." Hmmmm--might be really beneficial since teaching the research paper is something I have to do. Plus, students are so much more "tech-savvy" than they were even five years ago--maybe I need to apply for this week-long institute. Heck, it's even at the University of ALABAMA. Can't get any better than that!

So, I filled out the application, wrote the one-page essay, and sent in the $50 (refundable) check. About three weeks ago, I got an email that said participants would be notified within about ten business days. Ten business days came and went, so I figured I had not been selected. That's fine. I'll try again next year if it is offered.

Today, I get an email saying I have been selected! WOO HOO!! Until I read further. Boy, is this thing going to be I-N-T-E-N-S-I-V-E!! I already knew it was a week long, so that was no big deal. Lodging and all meals are provided by AHF--fine with that. BUT--in the next few days, I should receive two packages with "books and other important resource materials." Included in these materials will be instructions for the pre-institute reading assignments. WHAT? PRE-INSTITUTE READING ASSIGNMENTS??? UGH! I have to sign a form stating that I agree to read all assigned texts in preparation for the institute sessions, and I'm pretty certain these reading materials won't be good, juicy novels! So much for relaxed reading at the lake. lol

It won't be so bad though. In addition to getting my $50 refunded, a week's worth of lodging and meals (three a day and two breaks), I will get a $100 stipend and 45 hours of CEUs. That should take care of all of my hours for next year. hahaha

Seriously, I know that this will be a tremendous help to me in teaching the research process to my students, and that's what it is all about. Anything that I can do to make myself a better teacher is worth it.

I love my Crimson Tide!

I really, REALLY mean this...

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