31 July 2009

This is it

This is the last weekend before I start back to work. The summer has flown by, but that happens as we get older. I remember the summers seeming to last forever when I was younger. Yes, we did have longer summers then, but they were longer by only a couple of weeks or so. I guess that does make a pretty big difference. Of course, I also remember using the "I'm bored. There is nothing to do" phrase at least a bajillion times over the summer. How did Mom put up with it? LOL As an adult, I really don't have time to BE bored, and I know that makes a huge difference.

Teachers in Alex City start back Tuesday. We have meetings all day Tuesday; Wednesday is "individual school planning" which means faculty meeting, department meetings, and then random meetings for various other groups; Thursday will be the day to work in our rooms. I had planned on driving to the lake myself and staying until Monday, but I've decided to come home Sunday so I can go to the school Monday to try to get copies and all that fun stuff taken care of. I went last week and got my room back in order after the summer cleaning, so that much has been taken care of. My plan is to leave from the school on Thursday though and spending the weekend at the lake before greeting all of the smiling faces of the students on Monday (the 10th.)

My schedule for this next year looks pretty good. First semester I have two English 12 classes and one English 11. The only thing I don't like about it is that the English 12 classes are 1st and 3rd blocks, and the English 11 class is 2nd block. There isn't much time for changing gears. We have our advisement (homeroom) period between 1st and 2nd blocks, and it is about 10 minutes, so I will have some time to put aside the English 12 and get the English 11 out, but I'll have about 5 minutes between 2nd and 3rd blocks. During those 5 minutes, we are supposed to stand at our doors to keep an eye on the happenings in the hallway. I'll do the best I can but I'll have to pull out the English 12 stuff. Second semester will be better because my two English 12 classes are in the morning, and my planning is between them and my English 11 class.

I've got a few things I need to get done this morning, so I'll wrap up for now. I hope you have a GREAT weekend!


28 July 2009

I neeeeeddddddd

a full night's sleep! For the last week or so, I've been waking up between 2 and 2:30 (it was more like 1:30 this morning, though) and I'm awake for at least an hour and up to three hours. This shouldn't be any surprise to me because this is my normal it's-almost-back-to-school-time routine. Some teachers have dreams where they are standing naked in front of their classes or where they have classes that they just cannot control. I wake up thinking about the million and one things I feel like I need to do. I think I'd rather dream about being naked in front of a class that I couldn't control. :)

Way back when I first started teaching, I taught special needs students. There was a group of about 3 or 4 guys who were thugs. T.H.U.G.S. All of them have ended up in jail and/or prison. One year before school started, I did dream that my classroom had been moved to the farthest end of campus in a tiny closet-sized room, and I was going to have these guys ALL DAY LONG. That was a nightmare.

Because of my habit of waking up, I hit a brick wall about 2:00 every afternoon. I guess the fortunate thing about my schedule for first semester is that my planning is 4th block, so when my sleepies hit, I won't have a class. The unfortunate thing is that I'll be so tired that I'll have a heck of a time getting anything done. Looks like I'll be making an afternoon pot of coffee!!

Seniors had their orientation day yesterday. One of my former students sent me a message to tell me that she has me for English 12. This is be the 3rd class I've had her for in as many years. (Luckily for me, she is a good student whom I like!) There may be a couple more who will have me for the third time. There were a few in my English 11 classes last year who were in my English 9 class their freshman year, and some others who were in the English 10 class I taught their sophomore year.

I think I'm going to go take a power nap with the pups. Bunco is tonight, and I don't want to fall asleep and miss a big bunco. :) I neeeeeddddd to win!

Have a GREAT day!


27 July 2009

Groundhog Day

Remember the movie Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray as the weatherman who relives the same day over and over again? I have decided that living with Alzheimer's as a family member, friend, or caregiver is like being stuck in that movie, but the "replay" happens every 4 or 5 minutes instead of every 24 hours.

John and I spent the weekend with Billie. She has sitters for day and night, but on weekends, we're each taking turns staying with her. Like all visits, it was...repetitive. :) She read her bank statement to us no less than five times (and fussed about the money that was being spent on the sitters.) She read the headlines in the paper several times and then made the same comments about them (What is swine flu? I've never heard of that in my life.) On Saturday, we all went over to Tim and Tisha's for a fish fry, and she asked me over and over if I had ever seen Landon before. (Landon is Libby's step-son, and what a cutie pie!!!) As we were sitting down to eat, Linda said something about John, and Billie didn't even remember he was there, never mind that I was sitting right next to her. On Sunday, she asked Tim why Tisha didn't come to breakfast with him. Tisha was sitting right next to her. She kept thinking that Danny and Linda were at Mike's, and when we'd tell her that they were at Tim and Tisha's the night before, she would ask why they didn't come by to see her, so we'd have to remind her that WE were at Tim and Tisha's, too.

I have been seeing the commercials on TV for the Alzheimer's Memory Walk. I checked to see where one was locally, but the closest one to me is in Columbus, GA. I decided to participate as a "virtual walker." My goal is to raise $1000. I'm doing this in support of Billie, and I am doing this so that hopefully a cure can be found. I have set up a webpage, and I would like to ask each of my readers to consider making a donation. I don't care if you make it through my page or through some other means. Sure, I would love to reach my goal, but all that I really care about is that the money is there for research. If you do donate, let me say a huge THANK YOU!

OK--I have GOT to get ready and go to Opelika. I have been on the road so much lately that I would love to stay home in my PJs all day, but I need to pick up my computer. It is a gorgeous day here in Alabama. I hope it is wherever you are!

Have a GREAT day!


22 July 2009

So it was just the port

I took the computer in to the Geek Squad today, and the Geek who helped me (and I say that in the kindest of ways...I don't think he ever told me his name) figured out that the problem appears to be with the ethernet port and not some major internal issue. He also told me that they could do one something and it would be $500 OR they could do another something and it would be about $70. Guess which one I chose. I'm also having my security software updated while they're at it.

While I was out and about, I "treated" myself to a pedicure and a manicure. Is it really a treat, though, when it's something you do on a regular basis? LOL I guess I treated myself to a mani because I don't get those regularly. And when I do, I never have them polish my nails because I am SO rough on my hands that within a day or two the polish is all chipped and crappy looking. And I've already had to file one of my nails because I broke it. DOH!

I did a little RT (retail therapy) too. I have got to do something to psych myself up for the new school year (cleaning up my class room sure didn't do it), and what better way to do that than to buy new clothes? :) Of course, buying a couple of basics--black pants, a cardigan--doesn't really count. With the new student dress code, visible tattoos are a no-no. Nothing in the revised faculty dress code mentions tattoos, but as a role model, if my students can't show their tattoos, then neither should I. Soooo...all of my knee-length skirts and dresses that I LOVE to wear...not happening. That's okay though. When I got my tat on my leg, I knew that there was always the possibility that I would have to keep it covered. Luckily, longer-length dresses and skirts are in, so I am just adding a few of them to my wardrobe.

Gotta run. John and I need to haul off the huge limb that fell last week while we were gone. Our poor old oak tree can't have much life left in it. Anytime we have any hard wind, it is going to lose a limb, and that is the tree that was struck by lightning a couple of weeks back.

I'm thinking grilled burgers for dinner. We have some home-grown tomatoes that John got from Aunt Kat yesterday. Won't they be delicious on a grilled burger? Yum!

Have a GREAT one!

Love ya!

19 July 2009

Title dilemma

Every time I come back from a week-long trip to some gorgeous, exotic locale such as the South of France the lake, I have a hard time deciding on the "perfect" title for my blog post. There are usually several events that stand out, but I can never choose just one. So, this time, I'm going to break my post down into "mini-posts." Hope you enjoy!

A Working Vacay

I really feel badly for John because every time he's taken a week's vacation and we've gone to the lake, we've had some DIY projects (and there is no Ty Pennington, Carter Oosterhouse, or Norm to help.) I make sure that he does take some time to relax, but he's never had a week like I do when I'm there alone. This trip, we got TONS done, and he did get to relax. J The first thing that we did was to put in an air conditioner in our bedroom and run a dedicated line for it. That made a HUGE difference (although I swear there were a couple of times that it must have quit working…) After we did that, he ran a dedicated line for the AC in the living room so now the lights don't dim every time the compression kicks in, and we don't have to worry about a breaking kicking off. Let's see…what else did we do? Oh yeah, we put in a light over the back porch and we added motion lights to the back. Now when we come in after dark, we'll be able to SEE. He also took down the dusk-to-dawn light that blinded us every time we sat on the front porch at night. It is now on the end of the McMansion trailer. And he added floodlights to the front. That may sound like a ton of lights, but all of them were needed. Especially the motion lights and moving the D2D light. For the past two years (almost) we have stumbled over roots and rocks every time we've gone in after dark. The last project was to replace the underpinning he had to tear out when we redid the plumbing back in the spring. Oh yeah, we had one unexpected project. On Monday night, I realized that we didn't have hot water in the kitchen. John checked the element, and sure enough, it had gone bad. That was really crummy because we just replaced it when we did all of the plumbing! We still have a few small projects—adding stepping stones and pea gravel, replacing some of the rocks on the patio area—but those aren't things that HAVE to be done anytime soon, and they are things that SHOULD take very little time. Our next BIG project will be to tear down the trailer and build our cabin. Unfortunately, that won't happen for a few more years. Unless, of course, that filthy-rich, long-lost relative kicks the bucket and leaves us everything.

I Blew Out My Flip-flop, Part Two

Last summer, I made a post about blowing out my Croc flip-flop as I was walking to the dock. This year, it was John who blew out a flip-flop (and yes, it was a Croc. We had a laugh about that.) Luckily, he had several other pairs to choose from. Guess I'll be making a Dick's or Kinnucan's run to see if I can find another pair for him.


We did have a few days of doing nothing. Or very little of nothing. After we did the AC on Saturday, we decided to make last Sunday a day to relax before getting super busy on Monday. On Tuesday, we took a quick trip to Cullman to get the new element for the water heater. We went by Books-A-Million and Hobby Lobby, too. I read two books (In Cold Blood by Truman Capote—I'm going to use that with my Am. Lit. 2 class—and one of Jennifer Weiner's books, but I don't remember which one) and I did a craft project. (Pictures to come later when I locate the disk to add my camera software to this computer.) John did his own craft project, too. I had found some reproduction lures a while back. We've just had them lying around, just waiting for the perfect idea. John finally had it. He had found a neat piece of driftwood a few weeks back. It had just by lying out on the retaining wall, so he decided he would hang the lures from it. It is REALLY neat! Again, pictures later… We took the boat out a few times, too.

Friends and Family

We cooked, well…John grilled a pork tenderloin last Saturday and had Ron and Cindy over. It was DELISH! (Everything John EVER cooks/grills is delish!!!) On Friday, Linda, Mike (her brother), and Christopher (Mike's grandson) came up to Linda and Danny's. Linda, John, and I took a nice late afternoon boat ride. On Saturday, Tim and Tisha came up so Tish could bring the Princess House I'd ordered. Amy, Will, Maggie, and Danny came up for a while, too. Oh, I left out Mike's son Chris and his stepdaughter Jessi. It was almost a family reunion. J Susan and Tim came up, too, and we cooked out. John did some hot wings. I thought they were great, but he didn't feel like they were the best ones he'd ever cooked. Susan, Tim, John, and I went out on the boat, but we didn't get started until about 3.

A Perfect End to a Perfect Week

Susan and Tim had originally planned on coming up Friday, but the wonderfully accurate meteorologist was giving a 70% chance of rain and/or storms, so we rearranged the plans. John and I got up Friday, and it was kind of yucky looking. It did sprinkle a little, but it ended up being a GORGEOUS day! (Changing the plans worked out well because Susan's niece and nephew went to their house and Kayla told them all about her trip to Great Britain over the summer.) It was still warm, but the humidity was nothing like it had been earlier in the week. And then Saturday and today…Oh my goodness!!! They were the two most perfect days. I don't EVER remember days in July being so nice! When we got up yesterday, John said that it felt like a football Saturday, and then Tim said the same thing when they got there. There was such a nice breeze blowing, and I don't think the temperature ever hit 80 degrees.

NOOOOO!!! I Don't Want to Go Home!!!!

Unfortunately, we had to pack up today and head home. John has to go back to work tomorrow, and I have tons I need to do (finish a week's worth of laundry, call the Geek Squad, call Alfa…) I'm leaving at the end of the week to go to Sam and Todd's wedding in Michigan. I'm excited about that because 1) I love weddings, 2) I love Sam and Todd, 3) I've never been to Michigan, and 4) the wedding is on Mackinac Island! Then it will be almost time for school to start back. I'll actually have one week (the 27th – 31st) but we're going to have John's mom here with us, so…I had planned on going back to the lake probably on the 29th, but I'll just have to wait. We have in-service on Aug. 4 – 6, and then I'll have a classroom of bright, shining faces on Aug. 10. (FYI…from 3 PM or so on Aug. 6 until whenever I get home on Aug. 9 is MINE. Don't ask me to do anything! ;)

Well, that's it. For now anyway. Have a GREAT Monday!


09 July 2009

DSL is back!

I finally have my DSL back up and running. WOO HOO!!! But (and there is always a "but") it appears that the lightning not only got the router, but it also got something in the PC tower. (Yeah, we're still using a desk top as our "main" computer.) So, it looks like it's time to take advantage of the Geek Squad. :) I'm not going to bother to take it in until week after next since we'll be leaving tomorrow and will be gone all next week. (***Georgie, I would LOVE for you to come spend time at the lake!***) Fortunately, I can connect the laptop to the ethernet cable and use it. (If I had my way, instead of having the desktop computer repaired, I'd get a laptop that was OURS. This one is property of the Alexander City Board of Education.)

I had wanted to post some of my pictures from last week, but this computer doesn't have my camera software on it, and I really don't want to dig through the desk to find it. (If I get adventurous later today, I might look for the disk. Don't count on it, though, because this desk is one humongous mess, and I desperately need to clean it out before school starts back. For kids, that is one month from tomorrow!!!!!) I'll just put all of the previous ones and the ones I'm sure I'll take next week in one post. I'm actually thinking of starting another blog with just my lake pictures anyway. And then whenever we DO begin to build, I can use that blog as a journal of the process.

Just wanted to make a quick update. I'll be "out of touch" (but not with reality) until the 19th. Everybody take care and have a GREAT weekend/week/weekend. :)


07 July 2009

I was such a bum! (I LOVE my BlackBerry…)

**My BlackBerry has been a lifesaver! We had a HORRIBLE electrical storm Sunday—we actually drove about 50 miles in torrential rains. I'm surprised that I don't have fingernail marks in my palms from griping the steering wheel so tightly. When we got home, we found that our oak tree had been struck by lightning—bark was thrown to the other side of the yard—and our phone line was out. I reported the phone, but of course, AT&T says that service will be restored by 6 on Thursday. I remembered that BlackBerry phones can be used as an external modem, so I've hooked up to mine. It is S-L-O-W-E-R than molasses on a cold day in Michigan, but it works.**

My original plans were to stay at the lake until Wednesday, but Kristen sent me a text to see if she and Janine could come up for a couple of days. Naturally, I said YES because I have missed seeing Kris over the summer, and I've been dying to meet Janine. She said they were thinking about coming up Wednesday, so I immediately changed my plans. It was SUCH a tough decision, too. LOL That explains why I've been missing, though. Please forgive me for not keeping up. We just don't see a reason to have internet service at the lake since it's only a weekend/vacation place. If we did have it, it would have to be dial-up (unless AT&T has made some changes since I last checked.) Whenever we do build, we will have to have internet access, but that just isn't a priority right now. Besides, I really enjoy being "disconnected" when I'm up here.

So…how were my 11 days of lake bumming? Awesome. Splendid. Marvelous. Superb. Ideal. The pups and I got there Thursday about 4. I unloaded and unpacked while they ran and explored. Then I grabbed a bottle of water, turned on the porch fan, sat in the hammock swing, and enjoyed the quiet. I spent Friday basking in the sun on the dock. My nose has had that red glow ever since. J John got up about 3:30. We had thought about going to The Angler for supper, but we decided to head over to Big Bridge and eat at The Hitchin' Post. He had a blackened rib eye sandwich that he said was to die for, and I had catfish. It was really good, but after seeing his rib-eye sandwich, I wish I had gotten one, too. Next time…

Phillip, Katy, and Sam got up Saturday about 11. Sam didn't take long at all to find his favorite thing to do. We have a step up going into the kitchen. He discovered that and spent a LOT of time going up and down. Then he found the extra bottles of water that wouldn't fit in the fridge, so he tossed them all over the kitchen floor. Isn't it amazing how babies/toddlers/kiddos are entertained by the simplest of things? As adults, we should ALL take some lessons!!!

After Sam's nap (which was only about 45 minutes…not long enough!) we went out on the boat. Poor Sam was miserable. He didn't have his full nap, it was hot, and he was NOT a fan of his life jacket, so we didn't stay out long. After we got back, we thought he might enjoy the water, but he was just so tired. Phillip and Poppa John took him back up to the trailer while Katy and I floated around for a bit longer.

Sunday was much better. Sam had a good night's sleep, and we used the 30-50 pound life jacket. That was much better for him! He did toss his pacifier overboard, though. J He kept rubbing his eyes, and before long, he was sacked out. He slept on Phillip for most of the ride. After we got back, Katy fed Sam and PB&J before they packed up and headed out. John left about 5:30, and it was QUIET!! Suddenly, it was just Ali, Bama, and me.

I decided to use Monday as my get-everything-done-day. I did a little raking in the yard, cleaned the trailer, and cleaned up the boat. Then I cleaned up, loaded the dirty clothes (that John didn't take home), and went to the laundromat. Let me tell you that there isn't ANYTHING more fun than hanging out in a laundromat for an hour or so. (If you believe that, I have a gorgeous piece of oceanfront property I can sell you.) At least I got everything done at the same time. A quick trip to the grocery store, and I was done with chores.

Tuesday was a dock day. I only stayed about 3 hours, though. I needed a nap, and it was just too hot to nap in the sun.

Kris and Janine came up Wednesday. The interesting thing about their friendship is that Janine is the ex-wife of Kristen's ex-boyfriend. Remember the guy who totally turned her life upside down a few months back?? (I really don't think I should even refer to him as a "guy"—he's barely human.) The sociopath…Yeah, his ex-wife is one of Kris's really good friends, and their kids LOVE Kris. How is THAT for poetic justice? I love it. It just goes to show that you cannot screw around with another person's life without being punished in some way. Anyway, Janine is German. She moved her 4 years ago (when Bill conveniently dumped her in Atlanta.) She spoke practically no English, but she has done a tremendous job learning in the short time she's been here. I loved listening to her accent and to the way she pronounced some words. The three of us had a great time doing nothing. J

On Thursday night, we decided to go to The Angler for supper. On the way home, we ran over a rock, but it ended up NOT being a rock. It ended up being something that punctured my tire. Within a mile or so, we were FLAT! Just a few minutes after we stopped, three YOUNG guys came by. They were, well, how do I say this…they were stinky…and I wasn't sure they knew what they were doing, but one of them got the spare on it, and we limped on back home. That meant to trip to Wal-Mart on Friday for a new tire. What fun!

Danny, Linda, Chris, Trisha, and Audrey got to the lake on Thursday, too. I tried to call them to get someone to come change the tire, but they were out swimming. On Friday, Amy, Allen, Will, and Maggie came up. The kids played in the water ALL day long! John was able to get up early again on Friday, too. He's been lucky for the last few Fridays. Susan and Tim had come up, and we grilled out. John did ribs that were to die for! My hubby is awesome when it comes to grilling. (He's actually awesome when it comes to LOTS of things. For example: he just fixed the phone but we think the modem is fried, so we still don't have internet.)

We rode to Ron and Cindy's Saturday morning and had breakfast with them and Heinz and Suzanne. We sat around and chatted for a couple of hours before we headed home. Connie, Pete, Billie, and Zac got to the house about 5. Billie wasn't going to go, but Connie told her that John wouldn't let HER come if Billie didn't. Billie got ready and came. LOL Connie brought barbecue. Delish!

Sunday was a rainy, rainy day, so we didn't do much except get ready and come home. To a phone line that wasn't working. I wouldn't have come home, but I had a meeting with our new principal yesterday, and I needed to do laundry. I'm meeting some friends from high school tomorrow at The Fish Market. I haven't seen them in probably 20 years! I can't wait to catch up!!!

John is taking vacation next week, so we're heading back up to the lake Friday. We have a couple of "sweat equity" projects, but I hope we can get them done early in the week and play the rest of the week.

I know this has been LONG, and it may be somewhat rambling, but I'm not going to re-read it. I have a pup who is BEGGING me to play. J

I hope you have a GREAT day tomorrow. I know I will with my girls from the past. J


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