28 March 2009

Angela gave me this award, oh, a week ago, but between being out of town and just crazy trying to get the last term of the school year started, I haven't had time to do anything with it. I do want to say THANKS to Angela! I love awards. :)

The rules are very easy. (Those are my favorite kind.) I tell you seven things I like and then pass it to seven other bloggers for them to do the same. So, here goes!

1. Signs of springtime -- I love seeing the flowers and trees as they begin to bloom. It is one of those wonderful reminders from God that He loves us.

2. Girls' Night -- Hanging out with my girls (some could literally BE my daughters...) is so much fun. There is something about getting with my gal pals and laughing and talking that makes all those little aggravations disappear. For a while anyway.

3. The perfect song to fit my mood -- Sometimes I want to rock out to something from the classic rock genre. Other times I want to sing along (loudly and badly) to a good ole country "she left me and took my dog" type song.

4. The sound of rain on the roof -- We've had quite a bit of this lately. :) I really enjoy the sound of a slow rainfall on a tin roof. It's even better when I'm sitting on the porch at the lake.

5. The feel of sunshine on my skin -- I'll admit it...I'm addicted to the sunshine. There is just something about the feel of it on my skin that makes me happy. I have a sunshine tattoo on my shoulder. I tell people I got it because sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. (Yeah, that's corny...)

6. Hot, gooey chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven -- I had one last night, and Oh. My. Goodness. It was h-e-a-v-e-n. I don't even need milk to go with them.

7. Laughing until my sides (and my face) hurt -- This isn't something that I get to do nearly enough, but I love it when I do.

OK...so now I get to pass this along to seven of my bloggy friends. They are:

1. Mom

2. Debbie Y.

3. Shay

4. Tracy

5. Karen

6. Tammy

7. Debbie

Anyone else who would like to play along certainly can!

Hope you have a GREAT day!

27 March 2009

John's pumped, I'm swamped, and we're all soaked

John got started on his insulin pump on Wednesday. So far, so good. Since then, his blood sugar has ranged from 98 to 166, so we're pretty happy with that. :) He has The Calorie King book, which will be great. We've already learned some things from it. For example, a Budweiser Select has fewer carbs (and calories) than a Bud Lite. LOL I hope this makes it easier for him all around. My biggest fear is that I'm going to snuggle up next to him one night and get tangled in the tubing and rip it out.

I'm already up to my knee caps in stuff with work, and we're just finishing the first week of the term. (ONLY 8 TO GO...) English teachers always seem to have tons of work, but the research really seems to get me bogged down faster than anything. I spent almost my entire planning period on both Monday and Tuesday either copying or organizing research packets for my seniors. And I still have to do them for my juniors. UGH...

I did get some very good and exciting news today, though. Every year the Kiwanis Club does a pancake breakfast with the proceeds going to The Alexander City Schools Education Foundation. The ACSEF then uses the money to provide technology to the schools. That is how the schools have gotten the laptops, LCD projectors, ELMOs, and big screens. Our superintendent asks teachers to buy or sell two tickets to the pancake breakfast. All employees who do so are then entered into a drawing to get a day off FREE--no charge to our sick leave balance. And I won for the high school!! I'll have April 13th off. Yea!!!!!

We have had so much rain since Wednesday. On my way to work yesterday, it was raining so hard I could barely see in places. I even had to wait for a few minutes before getting out of the car once I got to the school. (Of course my umbrella was right where it was supposed to be--in my classroom.) This is my term to have bus duty. My day is Thursday, and for the first two weeks, my location is in the PARKING LOT. I had already made up my mind that I was not going out in the lightning, but by the time I got out there, that part had stopped. Coach Goggans doesn't make us actually go out into the parking lot, either, which is really nice on a day like yesterday. It has rained most all day today, too. It's just so gloomy. Makes me want to be home in my comfy jammy pants and a ratty T-shirt.

That's it for now. I hope you have a GREAT (rainy) day.

23 March 2009

Only 9 to go...

The true countdown has begun. There are only nine weeks of school until summer vacation! Yea!!!

Our little piece of Heaven on earth

Speaking of vacations...Our few days at the lake were wonderful! We got up there about 6 Wednesday evening. The weather was perfect all week. The water was at full pool and looked beautiful. The only bad part was having to come home yesterday. I told John that I was going to move up there permanently and that I'd just drive the six hours round trip every day.

John replaced all of the water lines. It wasn't a job he HAD to do, but since he was going to have to make repairs anyway, he decided to just redo the whole thing. The way that the lines had been run (due to repairs over the years, I'm sure) was crazy. At least now if there is a break in a line, it will be MUCH easier to fix. After being a plumber's helper for a couple of days, I'm quite sure I could make repairs if necessary. LOL

The most exciting thing to me is that we now have a 40 gallon water heater dedicated JUST to the bathroom! No more jumping in the shower and praying for enough hot water just to get wet, forget actually trying to take a complete shower with hot water. :) Back before Christmas I posted that we were going to get a water heater as our gift to one another. Sure, it isn't the typical Christmas gift. Heck, it isn't even the typical gift, period. But every time I take a shower at the lake, I'll be forever thankful for John's gift to me. hahaha

We did have a couple of COLD nights and mornings, but by late morning each day, it warmed up really nicely. We were able to keep the doors and windows open during the days so the trailer got a good airing out.

Ali and Bama played outside until they were exhausted, especially Ali. I've often said she is ADHD, but she was 110% engrossed in whatever was in the leaves. She would stay in the same spot looking and pouncing for the longest. By nightfall, they were ready to go night-night. When we got in the truck to come home yesterday, Ali sat up and looked out the windows until we got to the top of the hill. Once we were out of the gate and on the road, she curled up and slept for the majority of the ride home. Bama never does lie down until we get to the interstate. Once we hit the exit ramp, he jumped down into his spot in the floorboard, and that was pretty much it for him. They both got into their spots at home and were down for the count by 7 last night.

We took Saturday to relax. Susan and Tim came out and we grilled steaks. YUM! They were soooo good! Of course, the company was superb, too.

On Sunday, Ron and Cindy rode out for a bit before we headed home. Just before they got there, John and I decided to fish for a bit. He caught two crappie. One was huge! I can't wait until we can get a big bait of fish and have a fish fry.

Now that spring break is over, we don't have any time out of school. The time will fly by, though. There is so much that goes on during this last term. It isn't that I'm wanting to rush life by, but I am ready to head back to the lake and relax.

Have a GREAT day!

18 March 2009

Yea! It's LAKE DAY!!!

Since it is almost 9 AM and I'm NOT in Birmingham with Misty and Susan, plans for today were obviously changed. John worked until 6 Monday night, and he thought he was going to have to work over last night, so he decided he was going to take off a little early today so we could be on the road earlier. He ended up getting home about 4:30 yesterday, but I think he's still planning on sneaking out early today, unless something major comes up.

I did go to Birmingham yesterday for Dad's biopsy. Mr. Grouchy Pants did well for the procedure, but they won't know the results until March 27. Please pray for the BEST results! I've posted before about how my dad has never really been sick, so the last year with three hospital visits and now this has been unsettling.

I called him Mr. Grouchy Pants because that's exactly what he was yesterday. LOL Dad is not the most patient of people in the world, and he is definitely an VERY impatient patient! :) It all started when they couldn't find a parking space in the VA Hospital parking deck. Mom ended up having to drop him off at the hospital and then parking in the public deck. Then she had to walk about four blocks to the hospital. The VA deck is about the same distance, but there is a shuttle that will drop them off. I got parked and to the hospital before Mom and Andi did. (Andi is a friend from church who has "adopted" Mom and Dad. She didn't think they needed to drive over there by themselves. I was really glad that Mom didn't have to walk from the parkign deck by herself.) I found Dad just as he was having to go downstairs for something. About 30 minutes later he was back in the waiting room, and then a couple of minutes later they called for him. He was finally finished up about 11:30. Mom, Andi, and I decided to go downstairs to get his prescription and travel voucher taken care of and to go get the car while he was in recovery. The problem was that he was finished in recovery and ready to go before we finished with all of that other stuff. He had to wait about 30 minutes, and THAT made him Mr. Grouchy Pants. hahahaha

I called Katy to see if they were home and if it would be okay for me to stop by for a bit. After all that at the VA, I had only about an hour from the time I got to Phillip and Katy's until I had to take my car to get the oil changed, but that's better than nothing. Sam was still up when I got there so we got to play for about 30 minutes before he showed signs that it was nap time. Then I visited with Katy and Phillip for about 30 more minutes.

When I got to the dealership, I found out it is time for my BIG service, so I ended up not getting my oil changed. I'm going to drop it off today on our way to the lake and then Kristen said she'd ride back with me on Monday to pick it up. I am on the "free tires and batteries for life" plan, so it's worth it to have to make another trip up Monday. I've already had one set of "free" tires.

Since I wasn't stuck waiting on my car, I called Susan to see if she wanted to meet for coffee. We sat at Starbucks for right at 2-1/2 hours. (I think it was Mary who took the picture of the no loitering sign at a coffee shop. What kind of coffee shop does that?? LOL) I miss not getting to spend the day with her and Misty today, but if John does take off early, we wouldn't have much time at all. Misty was going anyway, so I know she and Susan will have fun. :)

I need to head to the tanning bed and the grocery store and then come home and start packing. Bama is ready to go NOW. He knows that when I get the duffel bag out, we're taking a trip. Talk about impatient...

When we're at the lake, we don't have internet service, so this will be my last post of the week. I'll have lots of catching up to do when I get home. :)

I hope all of you have a GREAT week!


16 March 2009

More signs of spring!

Almost every day I see another sign of spring. I began noticing the red buds last week, and on Saturday I noticed that the dogwoods were beginning to bloom. When the pups and I went out to get the paper this morning, I saw that one of the azaleas and my yellow bell were beginning to bloom. Yea! I love springtime.

John and I really need to do some work in the yard this spring. We had several OLD, SCRAGGLY azaleas in the front of the house that we finally pulled up, but we never have replanted any. It looks kinda bare out front, but bare looks better than what the azaleas did. I need to do some work in the sidewalk bed, too. And the ivy bed in the back of the house needs a good cleaning out. Unfortunately, I did NOT get Granny's green thumb. But I did get her love of the word shit. ;)

Today is the first "real" day of spring break. I had thought about getting up and going to the mall, but I decided I'd hang out a home with the pups today. I got the house cleaned up and all of the laundry done Saturday, so I can enjoy today without having to DO anything. I started reading The Autobiography of Henry VIII, so I'll probably kick back here in just a bit with that. After I finish my third cup of coffee and go to the tanning bed, that is.

My dad is having his prostate biopsy done tomorrow, so please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. He has to be at the hospital at 9:30, but who knows how long it will be before they actually see him. He's having it done at the VA in Birmingham, and from what Mom says, they don't seem to get into any real hurry. Usually, Dad goes to the VA in Tuscaloosa for his checkups because they are much better about keeping on schedule, but for this they sent him to B'ham. I'm going up in the morning to keep my mom company while he has it done. They won't have the results for another ten days or so. That's the crummy part.

I plan on going to see Phillip, Katy, and Sam while I'm in Birmingham. I have to get my oil changed, and since I don't know how long Dad's appointment will take, I'm going to schedule my oil change for late afternoon. Phillip and Katy live less than five miles from the dealership, so if they are going to be home, and if they feel like company (Katy and Sam have both been sick), I'll hang out there and visit for a bit.

On Wednesday, Misty and I are going back to Birmingham to see Susan for our semi-annual Girls' Day. We always try to spend a day together during our spring and fall breaks. Sometimes we do some pampering; sometimes we shop; sometimes we just hang out. It really doesn't matter what we do because we have a great time no matter what.

I THINK we're going to the lake Wednesday after John gets home from work. That's what he said at first, but he has also said we might leave Thursday morning. If we leave Wednesday, he'll pick me up at Susan's so Misty doesn't have to make a short day of it. I'd rather go Wednesday so that we'll have three full days up there, but whatever is fine.

That's about it for today. I'm about to go bake myself for 20 minutes, and then I'm gonna be worthless. :)

Have a GREAT Monday!!

14 March 2009

She would have been 87 years old

Today would have been Granny's 87th birthday. It's hard to believe that she's been gone over 10 years now. Some days I still miss her so badly that it hurts. Today isn't one of those days. Oh, sure, I miss her today, but I know that she is in a much better place than she would be if she were still living.

Granny was a character. She was one of those people who said it if she thought it. There would be times when I would be mortified because of something she said. I think back on it now though and laugh. Her favorite cuss word was shit. It's my favorite, too, although I do try to censor myself a little more than she did.

Talk about a green thumb...she had it! She could make anything grow. Her yard was always full of beautiful plants and flowers, especially her roses. She lived for gardening. I can remember her going out early in the morning with her hat and her long-sleeved shirt on to weed or to pick the ripe veggies. One of the worst things that happened was when my dad decided NOT to have a garden. He honestly and truly felt like he was doing the right thing because she would work herself until she just about couldn't go, but when he took that away from her, it was like taking away her life.

A couple of years before she died, she fell and broke her hip and collar bone. From that point on, she had to depend on others for so much. All she ever wanted to do was to move back into her house, but she wasn't able to live there alone, and if you've ever tried to find good help to sit with an elderly person, you know it is not an easy thing to do. She lived, for the most part, with my parents.

For as long as I can remember, Granny had been a smoker--Kool Menthols--but eventually she "quit." I laugh as I type that because everybody in the family knew she still snuck around and smoked. We'd stop by to visit and the house would reek of Lysol. More than once, a just-put-out cigarette was discovered in an ash try in the linen closet in the bathroom. On her 75th birthday, we had a big family party for her at The Bull Pen, a steak restaurant in Oakman. We were all sitting around talking after the meal. As many smokers do after eating, somebody pulled out a cigarette. Granny bummed one off whoever it was (probably my uncle Bruno.) From that point on, she never hid her habit. And boy, did she smoke!

Anytime my cousin Misty and I get together, we always end up talking about Granny. We laugh, and we usually cry. I see Granny in Misty so much, and it makes me happy. I like to think I'm a lot like Granny, but Misty really is. She thinks it, and she says it. Shit is one of her faves. She smokes way more than is good for her. And she looks a lot like Granny in my opinion.

Granny, I know you're in Heaven with Grandmother, Granddaddy, Thelma, and everyone else. It's a rainy day here, so I know you are looking down on your family because there are holes in the floor of heaven. Happy birthday! I love you, and I miss you!

13 March 2009

A post about my brother

I got a short letter from my mom yesterday. In it, she had enclosed a letter my brother had written to me. I'm not really sure he even knows she found it and sent it to me. It broke my heart, though.

Eddy is exactly 5 1/2 years younger than I am. When he was a baby/toddler, I remember being so very protective of him, but as we grew up, we weren't really what I'd call close. We fought like cats and dogs. All the time! The "I hate you"s were used a whole lot more than the "I love you"s. Even though we acted like we couldn't stand one another, we wouldn't stand by and let anyone else hurt the other.

We lived in a very small town. The schools were K-6 and 7-12, so my senior year of high school was his 7th grade year. I was the drum major, and he was on the drum line for a while. I probably gave him a harder time than anyone. (Let me also say that I was quite snotty at this time.) Eventually he quit band because it was "the" thing to do--football was. Our cousins on my mom's side of the family were all very athletic and popular. Eddy, not so much. But to be accepted, he did what was expected.

When Eddy was young, he would have night terrors. He would "wake up" absolutely terrified. It would take what seemed like forever for my parents to settle him down and get him back to sleep. The next morning, he would have no memories of them, and he would even become very argumentative when anyone tried to talk to him about them.

He also exhibited behaviors that many people attributed to his being a boy. My mom heard, "Oh, he'll grow out of it" many, many times. Being the pain-in-the-ass older sister, I would tell him he was mental and that he needed help. Sadly, I wasn't wrong. However, no one knew it at the time.

In high school, Eddy had horrible problems with authority figures. Heck, it wasn't even just at school. I can assure you that it was NOT because our parents weren't good parents. They were. Were they perfect? No, but no parent is. Did they do everything they could to make sure we were well-behaved children? Yes.

Eddy also had extreme difficulty staying dedicated to a particular task or interest. He would be gung-ho about a particular interest or activity, but within six months, he would have completely tossed that and be interested in something else. Music was and is the only thing that he has consistently maintained interest in.

Keeping a job? HA! He could get a job selling ice to an Eskimo, but he would eventually quit or be fired. If he quit, you could guarantee that he'd done so just before being fired. And it was always someone else's fault. At least according to him.

I guess it was around '93 or '94 that he married Kim and became a step-dad to her daughter. Our entire family loved them and accepted Courtney as if she were born into our family. Within about 3, maybe 4, years, Kim had had enough. Eddy had started using drugs, and she was not going to subject her daughter to that kind of life style. None of us could blame her, and it broke our hearts when she divorced him. (She still keeps in touch with my parents.)

Eddy spiraled deeper and deeper into his addiction. He would use any and all excuse he could to get money from our parents, our grandmother, other relatives. Eventually, he began stealing from our parents. The general attitude was that he was a dope head (he was) and that he'd end up dead in no time. (It's truly a wonder he hasn't.)

Several years ago, I saw an interview with Danielle Steele on Oprah. She had just had her book His Bright Light published. I decided to get it and read it. Every page that I turned could have been a page written about my brother. Was he bipolar? Could this be the problem? I began reading everything I could about bipolar disorder. I told my mom that she had to read the book. Shortly after I told her that, Kim called her and said, "I've just read a book about your son."

My parents began trying to work with Eddy and with mental health to see if he was bipolar. What a joke mental health was! Because he was using, they wouldn't even consider doing an evaluation because drug use often mimics the symptoms of bipolar disorder. When he'd be clean, he wouldn't want to go in for an evaluation. I mean, who WANTS to find out that he has a mental disorder? It was an endless, vicious cycle of using drugs, doing something stupid, getting arrested, going to jail, getting clean (while he waited forever for anything to be done), having his court date, being slapped on the wrist and let go, getting a job, doing well for a while, using drugs, doing something stupid...

Finally, after about 10 years, he was actually diagnosed as being bipolar. What a relief! But the problem was that once he got clean and on his meds, he started to feel good and felt like he didn't need the meds. So he'd stop. Within a short time, the depression would start, and he'd turn to drugs and the vicious cycle would begin yet again.

He is currently in rehab--for the 7th or 8th time. He just went last week (I think...maybe the first of this week.) He has been in jail for months, so he is clean and he is on his prescribed meds.

Over the years, I have hated Eddy for what he has done to himself, to our parents, and to others. He is an extremely smart person, and he could have been anything he wanted to be. I just wish that somewhere along the way he could have found the help he needed before he became addicted to the drugs. I truly hope and pray that THIS TIME is THE time that he manages to turn that corner.

I know this probably rambles and may not make a whole lot of sense, but it is hard for me to put into words what I want to say. If you've read this far, bless you. :) I hope you can kind of get what I'm feeling.

Have a GREAT afternoon/evening!

12 March 2009

Boredom (sung to the tune of Freedom by George Michael)

***Any idea how long it takes 12 hungry seniors to devour 4 large pizzas? About 30 seconds!***

All we have to do now
Is take these tests and make them go away
All we have to see
Is that they take time from you
And they take time from me
Makes you want to scream
Makes you want to scream

Today's testing was social studies, and I was proctoring with one of the special education teachers. This is one of the sections that can be read orally to students who have an IEP, so at least all of the students basically finished at the same time. We had one guy who went back and checked a few of his answers, but for the most part, all testing materials were turned in at the same time.

For an hour and a half, I walked (and walked and walked and walked) around the room. I think there is now a groove worn in Mary's floor. We still have a minimum of 30 minutes before students who are still testing will be consolidated. Then we'll have advisement and 1st and 2nd blocks.

A few of my 1st block seniors won't be here today or tomorrow. One of the girls is going to Germany with her family. Her step-mom's family lives there, and they are going to visit. I have a couple others who are going on a student trip with one of our history teachers. Their flight is out of Atlanta later today. I have a few others who did their presentations yesterday. They asked what we were doing today, and I said we were finishing up the rest of the presentations. Suddenly, they said they were starting to feel "sick." LOL If I were a senior who had good grades and I wasn't going to miss anything, I wouldn't come in, either. Several of my 2nd block seniors are on DO, so they have to leave to go to work. I know they won't be there today, either.

I am SO ready for tomorrow to get here! I am in such need of my spring break.

Guess I'll go for now. Hope you all have a GREAT day!

11 March 2009


Today is the third day of grad exam testing. I'm not having to test today, so I'm sitting in Stark's room with Kristen and Scott. Why am I not in my own room you ask. Well, I've been kicked out. They use the third floor to do as much testing as possible so that everyone is in the same general location. On Monday, I got to stay in my room while I administered the test, but since we can't do anything except listen to the sniffing, sneezing, coughing, and turning pages, it was awful. There were tests I could have been grading and putting in the computer, but nooooo.

I got all of my tests graded yesterday while I hung out in the library with Karen, Don, and Angie, but I didn't get them put in the computer. I don't have planning today, either since we're seeing our 1st and 2nd block classes. They are doing presentations today, so I won't have time to put grades in STI. I don't have access to STI on my laptop, so I'm sitting here talking, wasting time.

Tomorrow I'll be proctoring for special needs students, and on Friday I'll be administering for those same students. One of the IEP accommodations is that everything except the reading portion can be read orally to the students, SO on Friday, I get to READ the BIOLOGY test OUT LOUD. Loads. of. fun. HA

I'm really envious of Karen and Mary. (Karen of Karen's Korner) They are leaving Friday for a trip to Europe. They are going to England, Wales, and Ireland, and they will be in Ireland on St. Paddy's Day!!!!! Another teacher from another school, a couple of students, and the aunt of one of the students are going as well. I would LOVE to go with them. I told John yesterday that I wanted to go next year.

For years, my dream has been to spend an entire summer in England. When I was in the 4th grade, I had a pen pal from England. At first, I was SO disappointed because I had a BOY pen pal. YUCK!!! (LOL) Mom told me that I needed to give it a shot, so I did. Graham and I wrote to one another for several years, then the letters stopped. A short time later I got a letter from his mother. He had decided to live with his bio dad, and he wasn't having much to do with his mom, step-dad, or sister. I've often wondered what happened to him.

Now that I teach British literature, I would really love to spend the summer in the British Isles. To be able to go to Canterbury, Stratford-on-Avon, Westminster Abbey, and every other place I teach about. I'm not giving up hope of doing that. I'm sure that my stinkin' rich uncle that I don't know exists will leave me his fortune and I'll be able to fulfill my dream. hahaha

It's a beautiful day here in Alabama. I hope it is wherever you are. Enjoy it, and have a GREAT day!

09 March 2009

I'm brain dead

And I haven't done ANYTHING all morning long. Today was one of my days to administer the graduation exam. They delayed the call-in bell just a few minutes so that all of the test administrators and proctors could get the materials and get to the classroom. Distributing the test materials takes a few minutes for each person because the test administrator has to count the test booklets and the answer documents to make sure the numbers match what the building test coordinator wrote on the delivery/receipt form. Once testing has finished for a particular group, we have to recount to make sure we are turning in the same number of materials that we took from the "secure location." (I love saying things like that. It sounds so "official." LOL)

The actual testing didn't get started until 8:25. After 90 minutes, the students get a brief restroom break, and then they begin testing again for another 90 minutes. For the entire time that students are testing, the administrators and proctors can do nothing except walk around the room. Talk about BOOOORRRRRRIIIIIINNNNNGGGGGG. The last student in the group I was testing finished up just after 11:00. I took the materials down and got back to my room just as the principal announced that the remaining students would be consolidated to complete testing. It took about another 20 minutes to get that taken care of because each test administrator has to complete a consolidation form with the name of the student(s) and the number of the test booklet. The teacher who is then going to be the test administrator for the remainder of testing has to verify the information.

I am SO glad that I am not "important" enough to be the building test coordinator. I wouldn't sleep at all the week before or the week of testing. It's always an administrator or a counselor who gets that distinguished (cough, cough) job.

Fortunately, I don't have to do anything test related for the next two days. Tomorrow will be heavenly because I won't have a class until 1:34. I'm going to find a nice quiet--hidden--location and finish up the last minute grading I need to do.

Today and tomorrow my juniors are watching The Great Gatsby. We finished reading it Friday, so now they get to watch it. Wednesday and Thursday my seniors have presentations, and they are getting to have their Medieval Festival. We don't have parties here, but if there is some way to incorporate food into a unit, we can do that. LOL They have to bring foods that would have been eaten during Medieval time--roast chicken, fish, eggs, fruit, cheese. It usually turns out to be a pretty good spread. Somebody always asks if they can bring mead to drink, though. hahaha

OK...I've started to come back to life. I need to go to the library and get Gatsby and get it ready for my darlings.

Have a GREAT Monday!

08 March 2009

It's a Girls' Day Out and a fun giveaway

Ahhh...I can already feel the relaxation. Kristen, Sam, and I are going this afternoon to get pedicures. I'm just waiting on Kris to get here, and then we'll head to Auburn to meet Sam. This will be my first pedi of the season. I slapped a quick coat of polish on my toes yesterday so I could wear my Mephistos to Sam's party. Now that the days have started to warm up, there will be very few days that I'm not wearing sandals or flip flops. I'm thinking I may even get a manicure today, too. I usually don't do manis because I end up having to take the polish off within a day or two. If I do get one today, I'll probably not do polish and just go the buffing route. I prefer plain fingernails anyway.

Once spring is here, I get a pedicure every two to three weeks. They, and tanning, are my indulgence. It's that nice little treat I give myself. I BELIEVE in treating myself, and what better way than to let someone massage my feet and legs while I'm enjoying a caramel macchiato from Starbucks.

There is a new contest I'm promoting, too. It's a rather...ummmm...adult contest, so do not click on it if you think it might be offensive. Alexis over at Running Away? I'll help you pack is hosting it. Like I said, it is adult in nature, but there are some products (candles, massage lotions/oils) that any couple can enjoy. Just be warned! If you think you might be offended and you click over anyway, it's your OWN fault! LOL

I hope everyone enjoys a nice, relaxing Sunday. I'll be thinking about you as I'm getting my toesies done and enjoying a grande caramel macchiato from Starbucks.

Have a GREAT day!

07 March 2009

Beautiful Saturday!

Today has been positively gorgeous, and I am SO glad. Katy and Phillip had Sam's first birthday party today, and I know Katy was hoping for a day just like this one. She could not have ordered one from God that was any more perfect.

It's hard to believe that Sam will be a year old on Tuesday. Time sure does fly. He was so cute eating his cake. He didn't just jump right in, but before long he had icing all around his mouth and nose. Too cute. He got tons of clothes, so he should be set for the summer. Unless he decides to have a huge growth spurt.

John and I rode home this afternoon with the top down on the Miata. Oh, how I miss my Sebring convertible! I miss the wind blowing through my hair and the sun warming my skin, but the car would have been paid for by now. Oh well...

I really thought I'd have more to tell, but my head is about to split wide open, so I can't think of anything else.

Have a GREAT Saturday evening/Sunday.

06 March 2009

I just don't get it

I just finished scanning my term exams for my seniors. This grade is 10% of their overall grade. You'd think they'd take it a little more seriously than they obviously did. The class average for my first block class was about 74%. I can live with that. I'd love for it to be higher, but if you consider that the classes are randomly scheduled (supposedly), you'll have some students who blow the top off every test and you'll have some who bomb every test. There will be those who care about their grades, and there will be those who are in school simply because somebody is making them come. So, yeah, 74%...I can live with it.

The class average for my second block class, though, was barely a 60%. This is my class of 23 boys and 5 girls. In this class, I've got some "good ole boy rednecks" who don't give a rip about school. (Now, I am NOT criticizing the good ole boys...some of my best friends in the world fit that category. As a matter of fact, I love rednecks because they are who they are and they don't ever attempt to put on airs.) Anyway, this class makes me want to pull my hair out. I have talked to them until I am blue in the face. I have 11 of them who need to be referred to the building based student support team because their averages are below 65. Will it make any difference? For most of those kids, probably not. Several of them were referred by their first semester teachers. Many of them are just biding their time until May 22. Actually, May 21 is the last instructional day, so they're just hanging on until then.

Oh well...I'll do what I can, but that's all I can do. I cannot force them to care about their grades. I cannot force them to study. I can, and do, encourage them. I can, and do, offer my assistance anytime they need it. I just know that in about 9 or 10 weeks, I'm going to have some of them coming to me begging for extra work so they can graduate. That's the one thing I hate about teaching seniors.

Now, I need to go finish grading the Chaucer/Canterbury Tales test for first block. I got the second block tests graded, and several of them were h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e -- a 23/200, a 47/200. Maybe first block will have done better. I hope so. I don't want to be even more depressed than I am. :(

At least it is a GORGEOUS, SUNNY, WARM Friday! Have a GREAT one!!

05 March 2009

Busy, busy, busy

I feel like I am on a merry-go-round that just won't stop long enough for me to even think about getting off. It's always like this at the end of every term, so I don't know why I'm surprised.

I have several students who have missed tests and the time is running out for them to make them up. My normal "stay late" day is Thursday, but I am more than flexible when it comes to staying for students to make up work or to get extra help. One of my guys is here now taking the test he missed Friday. All of the others will keep the zeroes if they don't get them done by Thursday of next week. And that is NOT going to be good for their grades. I've talked with them and told them they need to stay. They know what my late day is, and they know I'll stay any other day--as long as they let me know ahead of time so I can make sure I don't have anything else to do. What else can I do? This is one of the frustrations of working with teenagers. :)

Kristen, Sam, Todd, John, and I went to Laredo last night to celebrate Kristen's birthday. We had a BLAST. Kristen is an absolute hoot, and with a margarita (or three) she was even more fun. When I first started teaching here, a group of us who got together every Thursday afternoon and opened up the Mexican restaurant. It was so much fun, and it was such a good stress reliever. I'd love to get back into the habit of doing something like that again, but we're all so busy with first one thing and then another.

There are only six days--school days, that is--left until spring break! On the way to Auburn yesterday, Kristen and I were talking about how LONG this term has been but how FAST it has gone by, too. I know that is totally contradictory, but it's the truth. It seems like Christmas break was forever ago, but then it's hard to believe that it's been only nine weeks since Christmas break.

I really think that one thing that has made such a difference is that I really and truly enjoy what I do, and I couldn't always say that when I was in the special education department. It wasn't that I didn't feel connected to the students I had then because I did. I would have the same kids for all four years, so I really got to know them. I have some who still call me "momma." :) But I don't think I felt challenged intellectually. I was challenged every day, but the challenges were usually in the form of "what in the world can I do to change the behavior of this student?" and that was very draining. By choice, I continue to teach the special needs students in my senior classes.

John is taking off the Thursday and Friday of spring break. We'll leave on Wednesday to go up to the lake. His plan is to replace the water lines and put in the water heater (that fabulous Christmas present we got for one another LOL) If this project is like any of the other projects we take on, we might have water lines replaced and the water heater in by Sunday. hahaha NONE of our projects EVER seem to be as easy as what we think they will be.

Ahhhh...my student is finished with his test, so I'm going to go home. I hear the tanning bed calling my name.

Have a GREAT afternoon/evening/Friday! :)

02 March 2009

I'm getting antsy

I honestly think I'm almost as bad as the students. Spring break is just around the corner, and I can't wait! Being able to sleep past 5:30 is something I look forward to more than anything. Mornings are not my thing...

The next couple of weeks will be pretty busy, so I know they'll go by quickly. In my senior English classes, we're beginning to talk about research so that we can jump right in on the DREADED RESEARCH PROJECT (or the DRP) as soon as we get back from break. We'll do that for the next couple of days, and then we'll review for their term exam. It will be Friday. Next week, I'll see the seniors on Wednesday and Thursday only, so they'll do their presentations on the pilgrim project from The Canterbury Tales on those days.

In my junior class, we're reading The Great Gatsby, so we'll be finishing that up next week. Because several of them are having to take the Alabama High School Graduation Exam, they won't be taking their term exam until after spring break. I hate to do it that way, but they cannot take ANY tests during the week of the grad exam. About half of my juniors are having to take at least one part, and somebody is testing every day, so there is really no way to give a term exam before spring break.

Next week really won't be a bad week, even though it is the grad exam week. We allow the students who AREN'T involved in testing to delay arrival at school until 11:00. That includes all freshmen except those who are taking the math and/or biology portion, any sophomores who have already taken and passed the math and/or biology portions, and all juniors and seniors who have passed each section. Once the students arrive at school and testing has been completed, we'll have our advisement period and then we'll have classes in the afternoon. We'll have our third and fourth block classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, and our first and second block classes on Wednesday and Thursday. I have third block planning, so for three days, I'll only have to teach one class. Woo Hoo!! BUT, I have to either administer or proctor the grad exam on Monday, Thursday, and Friday, so those mornings will be pure torture! At least Tuesday will be an "empty" day until 1:30. LOL

Test administrators and proctors can do absolutely nothing during the test except walk around the room and watch the students. We can't skim through the newspaper or a magazine, grade papers, work a crossword puzzle...NOTHING. I understand the reason behind it, but is sure makes for a L-O-N-G morning, especially on math and reading test days. Try doing absolutely nothing in an almost totally quiet room for 90 minutes.

My dad is having a prostate biopsy on the Tuesday of spring break week (the 17th) because his PSA level more than doubled from last year. He found out about the increased level around Valentine's Day, but they weren't able to schedule the biopsy for any sooner than March 17, and then we won't know anything about the results until the end of the month. It drives me crazy that the length of time between A and B is so long, but I also realize that my dad is not the ONLY person in the world who is in need of medical care. Mom said the doctor was very thorough and explained that it could be an infection, an inflammation, or cancer. We're obviously praying for one of the first two! Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

I think that's about all I'll post for now. There are a few other things I could post about, but I'm kinda tired. I had some of the weirdest dreams last night, so I didn't sleep very well. Actually, I haven't slept very well in over a week. Even when I napped over the weekend, I dreamed crazy dreams and didn't rest.

I hope everyone has had a great start to the week, and I hope you have a GREAT Tuesday!

I love my Crimson Tide!

I really, REALLY mean this...

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