28 December 2010

Post-Christmas post

I'm finally getting around to posting a Christmas post.  I started one on Sunday, but I decided to delete it because I was about half-way through it when Mom and Dad got here, and I didn't want to have my nose stuck in the computer when I could be visiting with them.

Christmas Day here at the Vest house was very low key.  It was just John, me, and the pups.  John had gotten some DVDs of old westerns at Books-A-Million, so he watched some of them, and I read/watched.  (More read than watched...)  All day long it looked like it would snow, and I saw several friends posting on facebook that it was snowing in North Alabama.  Every so often I would look out, hoping to see a few flakes, but I never did until about 5:30.  It was so pretty, and it didn't take long to get a nice dusting.  I can now say I have seen a white Christmas.  :)

We did our immediate family Christmas on Sunday.  Mom and Dad got here about 10:30 after driving through some fairly heavy snow showers.  Jessi, Lance, and Peanut got here about 11:15.  Jess had gotten up Sunday morning not feeling so great, so we weren't sure she would be able to make it.  I told her that even though we would LOVE to see them, if she couldn't make it, we certainly understood.  Her health, and the health of our grandbaby, is much more important than coming here.  She said she thought she would be able to make it, and they did!  And her bump is so bloomin' cute!  Katy, Phillip, and Sam got here about 12:30.

After lunch (ham, green bean casserole, potato salad, corn, peas, rolls, frozen cranberry salad), we did gifts.  It was so much fun watching Sam this year!  Grana and Poppa got Sam a Tag Junior and some books to go with it. (I think his mommy was more excited about them than he was.  LOL)  Papa Joe and Grandma got him trucks...a HUGE metal Tonka truck and a couple of other ones that make noise.  (I think Sam's daddy liked them more than anybody.  LOL)

I didn't get to hang out long with everyone because Connie and I had planned weeks ago to do a "sister trip" to Ross Bridge Resort and Spa for some pampering, so I left about 3 headed to Birmingham.  Connie rarely ever does anything for herself (she is always putting the needs of others WAY ahead of her own needs) so this was a treat for her.  Because the Retirement Systems of Alabama (of which I am a member) owns the Renaissance hotels in Alabama, I was able to get a special rate for the room.  (And believe me, it is an AWESOME rate!!)  Yesterday, we did some R&R at the spa.  I had a warm stone massage and a pedicure, and Connie had a deep tissue massage and a pedicure.  While I cannot speak for Connie, I can tell you that my massage was heavenly.  I've never had a warm stone massage (other than the hot stone pedicure I get at the walk-in nail salon I go to) but I can promise you that I will have another one! 

Our original plans were for us to do some shopping (or looking in my case) today, but Connie had a doctor's appointment, so she had to leave yesterday afternoon.  She tried to reschedule but they were unable to.  If she'd known then what she knows now, she probably could have spent the night and gotten up this morning and driven to Huntsville. 

After she left, I decided to run to Barnes and Nobel to look.  I ended up getting a few books.  I got a copy of Beowulf, and I got two No Fear titles from Sparknotes:  one for Shakespeare's sonnets and one for Macbeth.  I use the online version of Macbeth, but this way I can jot down notes and if a student needs to use it, I can "loan" it out.  I also got two daily warmup books:  one for writing, and one for spelling and grammar.  Only a teacher would go into B&N and walk out with five books that were useful only in a classroom.  LOL  I did get Mennonite in a Little Black Dress to read before I went to sleep. 

I got up this morning and headed home.  Boy, was it nice to walk in to a couple of happy pups!  Neither of them has left my side for long all afternoon long.  Sadly for them, I'll have to leave them tomorrow because I have my yearly checkup.  Oh joy...

Unless something changes, we're heading to the lake to stay at Danny and Linda's for the weekend.  They invited us up to watch the ballgame and to celebrate New Year's.  If this year is like the last several, John and I will be asleep before midnight.  No wild parties for us.  hahahaha

I guess that's about it for now.  I think I'm going to get my book out and do some reading.

Have a GREAT day!

23 December 2010

We have a baby bump!

No, NOT me!  At my age, if I had a baby bump, I would crawl into a hole and never come out. 

Jessi has a baby bump, and it is too stinkin' cute!  She will be 12 weeks prego on Sunday, and bless her heart, she has been soooo sick for the last 7 weeks.  Between weeks 5 and 8, she was in the ER twice for fluids, and then right at week 8, her doc admitted her for a couple of days to get her re-hydrated.  Once she was discharged, they were able to get her on home health, and that has helped a lot!  She has still had some really rough days, but she has also had some really good days.  I'm still praying that she won't get as bad as Katy got!  We are ALL praying that she's going to hit that 12 week point and it's all going to go away for good.  Hey, I believe in prayer!!!

John and I went over to see her yesterday after he got home from work.  It's the first time I've seen her since the night she called to tell us they were expecting.  When I've had time, she has been really sick, and I just didn't want her to feel like she had to "visit" when I knew she really needed rest, and when she's felt good, I haven't had time.  Luckily, everything came together yesterday--she was feeling really good, and we had time.  :)

She's staying at Wayne and Kay's during the day, so they are making sure she has anything and everything she needs.  (Our girls got some of the BEST in-laws ever!  I know how wonderful it is to be welcomed totally and completely into a family!)  I told John that I feel bad for not having done more (and we have told both Jessi and Lance to call ANY TIME they need us and we will be there!)  When we got there yesterday, Wayne and Kay were gone, but Jess had made her a grilled cheese sandwich and was eating it.  You have no idea how happy John and I are to see her eating and drinking!  She said the only thing she can handle as far as drinks are concerned is sweet tea.  I told her that Peanut is going to be bouncing off the walls, but heck, if she can drink sweet tea and keep her fluid intake up, I say go for it!

She still has her IV, but her nurse is hoping that in the next week or so, they can reduce her fluids and then completely wean her from them.  She said Lance wasn't so sure (after all, the poor guy has watched his love be so sick she could barely get out of bed, so his concern is understandable!) but the only way to know if she is over the worst part is to take her off.  I would guess that once they cut her fluids back, if she can't handle it, they will know before they got her completely off.

Like I said, we're all praying that she's over the ickiness once that magic 12-week mark gets here.  Wayne told her yesterday while we were there that he will take care of her until then, but then she is on her own.  LOL  Of course, we all laughed because we know he would walk to the moon and back for her. Like I said, she is a very lucky girl!

That's it for me for now.  The pups have been begging for some play time, so I need to give it to them.  Have a GREAT day!

22 December 2010

What a happy birthday to me!

I celebrated my 44th birthday yesterday.  I was just sitting here thinking about what I was doing this time half my life ago.  I was living in Tuscaloosa, attending the University of Alabama, thinking I was in love with someone.  When I think about what has transpired in my life in the last 22 years, I'm kind of amazed.

I completed my degree in secondary education, met and married the love of my life, became a (step)mom, began a career I love, and made some of the best friends a person could ever hope to have.  This is in no way the complete list, but these are the highlights.

One day last week, Susan sent me a text to see if I was busy yesterday, and if I wasn't, she wanted to treat me to lunch for my birthday.  I had no plans, so I took her up on it.  I got up early yesterday (6:30), got ready, renewed my driver's license (ick!  At least my picture isn't so bad I'll be embarrassed to show my ID ), and headed to Birmingham.  Susan and I sat and talked for a bit before we headed to Chuy's for lunch.  YUM!  This was my first trip to Chuy's, but it won't be my last.  After lunch (and sitting there for, oh, a couple of hours just talking...) we went to Coldwater Creek.  And EVERYTHING in the store was 50% off...on sale stuff, too!  Happy birthday to meeeee!  LOL  I did get a top that I have been wanting but I wasn't willing to pay full price.  We made a couple of other stops before grabbing some Starbucks and heading back to Susan's.  We talked for another hour or so, and then I headed home.

I did get a huge surprise during the day.  After we got back to Susan's, my phone rang.  I didn't recognize the number, but I answered it. It was my dad...calling me from his cell phone!!!!!!!!!  Mom added him to her plan a few months back, but he never even showed any interest in learning how to use it, so it ended up in his drawer.  So imagine my surprise when I discovered the call was from him.  He decided he needed to keep it with him after he fell a couple of times lately. 

He has some nerve damage in his legs and feet (quite certain it is from his exposure to Agent Orange during one...or both...of his tours to 'Nam.)  He said that a couple of times lately his feet don't "keep up" with the rest of his body and he falls.  So he will be going to Princeton tomorrow for a nerve conduction study.  He also has to have an MRI on his head, AND he is going to see an oncologist because something isn't right with his blood work.  Please keep him in your prayers.  For now, I'm trying not to worry.  Easier said than done, though!

I need to get myself busy this morning.  I need to wash dishes, grade some papers, and shower.  I think we're going to ride over to see Jess this afternoon if she feels up to having company.  I've got a few goodies to take to her, so maybe she'll feel up to visitors for a little while.

That's it for me for now.  Have a GREAT day!

20 December 2010

18 and counting

John and I have been married 18 years today.  The "official" time that we became husband and wife will be approximately 4:15 PM.  One thing we were set on was a short and sweet ceremony.  The fact that our ceremony was at 4:00 on a Sunday afternoon meant it needed to be short and sweet, too, so attendees could go back for evening worship services.

Why a Sunday afternoon wedding you ask?  At first, we were going to have it on Saturday, but it didn't take long to realize how hard that would be.  First of all, John was working in Alex City and living in Eclectic.  Because he was taking the entire week off the very next week, he wanted to work a full day on Friday.  Plus, he wouldn't be picking Katy and Jessi up until 6 on Friday.  Add to that a 3-hour drive, and you can see that having a rehearsal on Friday night was out of the question.  I wanted to do things the traditional way and not have us see each other before I began down the aisle, so that ruled out a Saturday morning rehearsal.  The next weekend would have meant Christmas night rehearsal, and we didn't want to do that, either.  So, we decided to begin our life together on Sunday, December 20, 1992.  And I have never regretted that at all.

When I sit here and think about the last 18 years, my first thought is about how quickly the years have flown by.  It truly seems like it was just a couple of years ago, but the creaks this body makes now tells it was definitely more than just a couple of years ago.  :)  When I try to think of all of the memories we have made, I become overwhelmed.  Whether it was time spent with family, friends, or alone, we have made thousands and thousands of wonderful memories, and I can't even begin to list them all.  I also wonder what our future holds for us.  We have been so very blessed, and I pray that God continues to bless us as we face the next year and every year that follows.

I am truly the most fortunate woman alive.  I have the love of my life, my best friend, my confidante, my biggest supporter...and I thank God each and every day for him!

I love you, John, and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you.  Happy anniversary!

18 December 2010

Happy anniversary!

At precisely 4:00 PM on Sunday, December 20, 1992, I began the journey down the aisle of First Christian Church in Jasper, Alabama, to the man with whom I will spend the rest of my life loving.  I can hardly believe that in fewer than 48 hours, we will be celebrating our 18th anniversary!  The years have flown.

Even though our anniversary isn't officially until Monday, we decided to go out to dinner tonight.  I had suggested a couple of places that are in Opelika, but neither of them are open on Mondays, so we thought about going Tuesday to make it a combo anniversary/my birthday dinner.  (Combining the two was my suggestion.  I'm perfectly fine with killing two birds with one stone.)  We were on our way to Auburn about a week ago and saw the sign for The Yellow Hammer Restaurant.  I told John that we should think about going there, too.

Wednesday, I asked him if he had decided where we were going, and he said he wanted to go to The Yellow Hammer.  I looked it up to give him the phone number so he could call to make reservations.  They are open Wednesday-Saturday, so we decided we'd go tonight.


Oh.  My.  Goodness.  I now have a new favorite restaurant for special occasions.  The building which houses The Yellow Hammer was built around 1912 and was a Ford dealership.  (They sold the Model T here.)  The walls are the original brick, the floor is the original concrete, and the bay doors are still in place.  Needless to say, this place has a neat ambiance. 

We had looked at the menu online, so we had a pretty good idea what we wanted, or at least I did.  I was going to have Tiger Shrimp Alfredo. BUT when I looked at the menu, the first thing I noticed was Blackened Tuna Nicoise.  DING DING DING!  Winner!!!  I love tuna, so it didn't take much to change my mind.  I have had tuna at a lot of restaurants, and I have had tuna that John has grilled, but NONE of them even come close to the tuna I had tonight.  It was FAB. U. LOUS.  John had the Australian Filet Mignon, and while it was good (we shared bites) I much preferred my tuna.  He said that the next time we go, he'll have the tuna.  (Of course, because this is a special occasion place, we won't be going back anytime in the real near future.  LOL)  Following our meal, we decided to share bread pudding for dessert.  Again, we've had bread pudding at a lot of places, but again, this was the best.  (John has had it at Commander's Palace, and he said what we had tonight didn't even compare.)

Now we're home, and I'm in my comfy jammies.  Bama is snuggled up next to John in the recliner, and Ali is snuggled up (under a blanket) with me in the chair.  Not much could make this evening any better!

I hope you have a GREAT Sunday!

15 December 2010

Family Christmas

Vest Family Christmas 2010

We got together this past Saturday for our family Christmas.  Not everyone got to join us for lunch.  Jess and Lance didn't come because SHE IS PREGNANT!!!  And she is feeling really, really sick.  It looks like she's going to have to go through her pregnancy with hyperemesis like Katy did, but I will keep on praying that she manages to overcome it.  Libby, Jay, and Gavin didn't get to come.  Libby is still recovering from her surgery, and sweet Gavin is still just sooooo tiny and didn't need to get out in the blustery cold.  Luke and Amanda were at her grandmother's.  After we had lunch, we all went over to Tim and Tisha's for dessert and so the kids could open gifts.  Billie also didn't have lunch with us, but Tisha picked her up and took her to their house, so she got to see everybody.

It was a very relaxing day.  Nobody was rushing around fixing casseroles or making sure that all of the dishes had spoons.  Nobody had to clean anything up after we all finished eating.  (Well, Tisha probably had a few odds and ends to wash up.)  I vote that we do it this way every year.  Hopefully, next year we can all meet at the restaurant and just do everything there.

As the holiday season continues, I pray that you and yours have many opportunities to share past memories while making new ones. 

Merry Christmas!

13 December 2010

An answered prayer

My dad just turned 73 on November 27.  Growing up, I never saw him darken the door of a church unless it was for a wedding or a funeral he HAD to attend.  My memories of Pawpaw are slim, at best, so I don't know if he attended church regularly or not, but I know Mawmaw did, so I know Daddy was exposed to religion.

Mom approached him about attending worship with us, but he basically said no, and he wouldn't change his mind, so after a while, she stopped.  She never stopped praying though.

Not long after John and I got married, Eddy (my brother) began having problems with substance abuse.  He literally put my parents through hell.  Finally, Daddy decided to give church a try.  Do you have ANY idea how weird it was the first time John and I went home for the weekend and Daddy got up and went to church with us?  That was about 15 or 16 years ago, and for the most part, he has gone faithfully and participated in various activities. 

After one particularly hellish episode with Eddy, Daddy decided he was going to stop going to church.  He was angry that prayers had not been answered, and he blamed God, so he quit attending for a while.  For those of us who have been in church since infancy, we know that God does not always answer our prayers the way we want, and sometimes, it seems our prayers are never answered.  What we have to remember, though, is that while God DOES have the power to completely turn our lives around, He has given us free will to make our own decisions, so even though thousands of prayers were made on Eddy's behalf, it was ultimately up to him to change his life.

Once Daddy began attending church, the prayers for him changed.  Instead of praying for him to start going to church, the prayers were for him to be baptized.  Mom and I have had numerous conversations about the subject.  I told her several times that I just didn't see Daddy ever taking that step out into the aisle during worship service.  I thought that if he ever did decide to take the plunge (literally), he would do so without a huge crowd around...maybe during the week or after church services were over and not a lot of people were around.

Imagine my joy when I read the text from Mom today saying that Daddy was baptized this morning at 11:00!  I had tears of joy, and my first thought was "I have to share this with Karen."  So across the hall I went.  She was at her desk, so I had to walk across the room.  When she looked up and saw me with tears in my eyes, so was immediately concerned, but the huge smile on my face let her know that nothing was wrong.

One of my biggest prayers was finally answered, and all I can say is THANK YOU, GOD, for helping Daddy realize the importance of this decision.

Have a WONDERFUL day!  I know I will!

08 December 2010

Stille Nacht

"Silent Night" has always been one of my favorite Christmas songs.  I found this version by the St. Thomas Boys Choir.  Simply beautiful!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


04 December 2010

Playing catch up

I've gotten so far behind on reading blogs that I'm not even going to try to go back and catch up.  I'll just start at the current post and go from there.  This is what happens when life gets busy!  Between football, going to the lake, going to John's mom's, work...

Hopefully things will slow down for a while.  With football season essentially being over (except for bowl games, but they won't start for a couple more weeks or so), lake season being over (until about March),  and John's mom being in the nursing home (we will still go visit, but we won't necessarily be tied to a particular weekend), I should have more blog time.  But there is still work.  And I still have research papers to grade.  ICK!

From what Connie has said, Billie has settled in fairly well at the nursing home.  Connie said she still says she wants to go home, but it's easy to change the subject with her.  We haven't been up since she's been there, but our family holiday gathering is next weekend, so we'll see her then.

We decided back in the summer to do the family gatherings different this year.  Normally, we have a HUGE traditional meal for Thanksgiving, and then we turn around and have a HUGE meal the Sunday before Christmas.  I don't remember who made the suggestion to combine the two into one celebration this year, but I'm really glad she did.  I know it was a she because I don't know if any of the men honestly care one way or the other.  I know John doesn't.  I did run the idea by him before I gave my input, and he was actually very much in favor of combining the two into one.  For most everyone else, it isn't a big deal because everyone else lives right there in Hartselle.  For us, they always ended up being crazy, busy weekends, and when they were over, we were exhausted, and we didn't get to go home and put our feet up afterwards.  We had a three-hour drive home. 

So this year, we are combining our Thanksgiving/Christmas celebrations into one family dinner next Saturday.  Another thing we are doing that John and I really like is that we are having our dinner at a restaurant, SO that means no having to rush around the morning of to cook and make sure everything is done.  In the past, we (well, the females) have busted our butts getting everything set out...What tray does this need to go on?  Does this need to be heated?  Where are the spoons?...while the men sat around and talked.  Then we eat, and then the women rush around clearing everything...Are you taking this with you?  Toss that because I'm not taking it home!  Where is the Saran Wrap?...while the men sat around and talked.  And then we do the gift exchange, clean up, and head our separate ways.  Very little relaxation, or even visiting--unless you are a man---was done.  I think this year will be better.  If not, we can go back to the old way.

Only two weeks of work until Christmas break.  Where does the time go?  I have so much to get done.  I desperately need a clone!

Guess that's it for now.  Have a GREAT day!

25 November 2010

"Iron Bowl" eve

In just over 19 hours, Alabama and Auburn will kick off the 75th Iron Bowl.  I personally refer to this game as the Alabama-Auburn game simply because I associate the title "Iron Bowl" with the years that the game was played in Birmingham.  Once it was moved from Legion Field to the campuses, it ceased being the Iron Bowl.  It was called the Iron Bowl because at one time Birmingham was known for its iron and steel production.

Tomorrow's game will be at the beautiful Bryant-Denny Stadium, and John and I will be there along with 101,819+ other screaming, rowdy fans.  Since we've been lazy today, I've been reading message boards and seen all of the reasons Bama should win as well as the reasons Auburn should win.  I'll admit it...I'm nervous!  I want Bama to win.  Desperately.  I will also admit it...I hate Auburn.  HATE it.  Now, that does NOT mean that I hate the people who are associated with Auburn.  After all, both of our sons-in-law are Auburn grads, and I have many friends whom I cherish who are grads.  OK...so yeah, maybe I have a problem, but after the last couple of weeks, I have come to realize that I am not alone.

What has happened in the last couple of weeks?  Oh, just the NCAA snooping around in regards to the recruitment of one Cameron Newton, Auburn's QB (who has done an awesome job, BTW.  See, I can say something nice!)  In addition to the NCAA, the FBI has also started poking around looking at the involvement of potential illegal acts of several of the Board of Trustee members who are associated with gambling interests as well as a failed bank.  I have read numerous message board posts and newspaper articles and listened to numerous talking heads from various media outlets discussing this, and I just don't see how Auburn gets out of this without some penalty.  However, some of the Auburn fans who are posting on message boards can't even respond without saying "It's all a lie."  "Bammers have made all this up because we're doing so well this year."  "We haven't done anything wrong.  Besides, everybody else does it."  (Um, isn't that somewhat of a contradiction?)  THIS is why I hate Auburn.

Bama may lose tomorrow.  We have gotten burned more than once, but I have to believe that we will be ready for anything.  We haven't lost at home in the last 20 games.  We have a stadium that holds over 101,000 people, and I know the crowd will be into the game.  We have a coach who will make sure the players are focused and ready to take on the opponents.  We have players who want to prove that, even though we have lost two games this season, we are still a top-tier team.  Because of those things, I believe we will win.  IF we don't, we will know that we lost to a team that felt they had to participate in a pay-for-play scheme in order to win. 

I've got everything laid out and ready to go.  My crimson funnel neck sweater, my black/charcoal houndstooth peacoat, my black with crimson trim leather gloves, my red undies, and my houndstooth tights (which no one will be able to see unless they go to the potty with me, but still...)  We're leaving about 7 or so because we're meeting Susan and Tim at Baumhower's at 10:30 for wings.  Yeah, wings at 10:30, but if we don't go early, we'd never get in and out by game time.  :)  I seriously think I will have a hard time sleeping tonight.  This is like Christmas eve when I was a kid. 

I guess that's it for now.  I hope you have a GREAT day tomorrow, and

ROLL TIDE!!!!!!!!!!!

24 November 2010

Thankful

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so I wanted to take a minute to reflect on the things I am truly thankful for.

First of all, I have to mention that in addition to Thanksgiving, it is my mom's birthday, so I get to do a combined happy birthday/thankful for.  Mom is a truly beautiful person, both inside and out.  She is always thinking about other people and doing so much for those who are in need, whether it is physical, financial, emotional, or most importantly, spiritually.  She stays busy with her Tuesday morning Bible study, working/volunteering at the hospital, preparing meals for the local hospice...I could go on and on.  She has been such an inspiration to me, and I hope that when I grow up, I can be just like her.  :)  Happy birthday, Mom!  I love you!

Next, Dad's birthday is Saturday, so let me do the same for him.  Growing up, Dad wasn't the most affectionate person, but that goes back to his upbringing.  When you grow up in a family that doesn't express love, it's kind of hard to be all mushy.  There is no doubt in my mind at all that he loves me, though, and I know that at any time, all I would have to do is pick up the phone and he'd be there for me.  He provided a great home for us, and he set high expectations for us.  I know that much of my stubbornness comes from him, and I'm glad I have that streak in me.  :)  Happy birthday to you, too, Dad!  I love you!

I am so thankful for my wonderful husband and our beautiful children and grandson.  God knew what I needed to make my life complete.  Even though I thought I knew what I needed, He guided me to what I really needed.  I thank Him each and every day for John, Katy, Phillip, Sam, Jessi, and Lance.  These are the people who make my life complete.  I cannot wait for the day that He adds to our wonderful family!

God has also blessed me by giving me some of the best friends a person could ever dream of having.  It would be impossible for me to name them all because I know that I would leave someone out.  (That sounds sort of like an acceptance speech, doesn't it?)  I would feel horrible if I overlooked someone and caused hurt feelings.  So, let me just say that if you consider yourself my friend, I am extremely thankful for you, and I love you!

John and I both have good jobs, which is not something far too many people have in today's economy.  Not only do we have good jobs, but we both love our jobs and the people we work with.  I talk about how ready I am to retire, but honestly, I will miss my kids and my colleagues.  (I will NOT miss the grading though!  LOL)

We also have a beautiful home which is filled with love and laughter.  Our bellies have plenty (as anyone who sees us can tell...)  We have all of our needs met, and we can even have many of our wants fulfilled.

I know I could go on and on, but I think I'm about to call it a night.

I hope each of you has a wonderful Thanksgiving, one filled with laughter and love.

17 November 2010

I'm still here!

The last few weeks have been..., yeah, they've been.  Busy, tiring, slightly stressful.  But that's normal for this time of year.  I've been neck deep in research (final papers are due Monday), and it's nearly the holidays.  Am I ready?  In a word...no. 

One of my friends from work posted pictures of her CHRISTMAS trees on Facebook the other day.  I posted a comment saying that I hated her because I wasn't even ready for Halloween.  THAT'S how behind I feel.  Not one Christmas gift has even been thought about, much less bought.  Decorating?  Haven't given it a thought.  Heck, it just dawned on me earlier this week that NEXT week is Thanksgiving!  Where has this year gone???

For years John would hunt Thanksgiving weekend, so we would come home from Hartselle on Thursday night or Friday morning.  I would decorate everything except for putting up the tree.  We would go, usually on Sunday afternoon, to cut our tree, and then I would decorate it Sunday evening/Monday.  After he stopped hunting, we would usually stay in Hartselle for the entire weekend, and that's when my decorating began to not happen until mid-December.  Since we're not doing a Hartselle Thanksgiving this year, maybe I can get some decorating done next weekend.

This will be the first year in almost forever that we haven't gone to Hartselle for Thanksgiving.  We, as a family, decided to do only one holiday celebration this year halfway between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The holidays are so, so busy (and they just seem to get busier every year) that we decided to try this to alleviate some of the stress.  Honestly, I'm glad we're doing it this way because it will cut down on the traveling John and I will do.  For months, we've been on the road most every weekend, either to the lake or to his mom's, and I think I will enjoy a couple of days of just hanging around the house.  And even then, we'll still be on the road the day after Thanksgiving because that's when the Alabama-Auburn game is.  BUT we will be home all day Saturday and after church on Sunday.  Even I hope to decorate, I also plan on getting a good start on grading research papers.  (Any volunteers?  No??  Gee, I don't understand why...)

Guess that's it for now.  I'm gonna pop over to tidefans to see what the latest news on the sCam Newton saga is.  You've heard that truth is stranger than fiction?  Well, this is certainly one of those cases.  It is going to be interesting to see how this eventually all plays out.

Have a GREAT day!  I know I will...taking a half day tomorrow so we can go to the Bama-Ga. State game tomorrow night, and then taking Friday off to recover from a late night.  :)

11 November 2010

All settled in

John just talked to Connie.  Billie's transfer to the nursing home went well.  Thank you, God!  She said the ambulance crew were friends of Luke's, and they had her laughing.  She's been told she's going for rehab in order to build up her strength, and with her memory having gotten so bad, she won't remember if she's been there for a day or a month.  For now, she is in the Alzheimer's unit, but Connie said that she would probably be moved into the other part once she's had time to adjust.  Connie said that the lady who is her roommate right now is basically just lying there.  That isn't what Billie needs.  She needs to have people she can talk to and "visit" with.  I would think there are some in the Alzheimer's unit who are communicative, so maybe she can meet some of them.

Today was the twelve year anniversary of Grannie's death.  I still remember that phone call just like it happened this morning.  And the hurt is still just as deep.  Fortunately, it doesn't hurt every day.  Most memories now make me smile. 

I enjoyed my day off. Slept late (8ish...yeah, that's late to me now), had coffee while I read the paper and did the crossword puzzle, put the shoes that my closet had projectile vomited last week back into my closet, got a pedi, bought paint samples for the bathroom, and got my hair done.  I kept the same color, but I went with a shorter cut.  It isn't exactly like the picture I took in, but maybe I'll be able to make it do what I want. 
Going to work tomorrow will be hard after being off today.

Today is Veteran's Day.  I am so proud to be the daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, and friend of veterans of the various wars/conflicts.  (I hope I didn't leave out any connections!)  I know that it is a great sacrifice to leave behind family and friends in order to carry out your commitment to our country, and it has to be extremely difficult to say those good-byes knowing that there is a chance you won't see your loved ones again.  For every man and woman who has served, I thank you.  I appreciate all that you have done for America.

Have a GREAT day!

01 November 2010

The day has finally arrived

I had a voice mail from my sister-in-law Connie today.  Tomorrow is "the" day.  The day we've all known was coming.  The day we've dreaded so badly.  The day John's mom begins her journey to the nursing home.

Connie has told her she has a doctor's appointment tomorrow, but she, Danny, and Linda will be taking her to the hospital for a 10-12 day stay in the geriatric psych ward, and then she will go from there to the nursing home.  This is the easiest way to get her to the nursing home, and Connie said once that it is the best way to go to avoid more out-of-pocket expenses.  Unless I misunderstood, having her go to the hospital and then to the nursing home under "doctor's orders" cost less than what it would cost if the family were to place her into a home.

We all know that this is what is best for Billie, but it doesn't make it easier.  She doesn't always eat like she should or take her meds on a "schedule" like she should.  (She takes her meds, but I know that on the weekends we're there, it might be noon before we remember to give them to her.)  And if you read my post from the last time we were there, you know she doesn't shower like she should.  Trying to get her to do anything other than sit and stare at the four walls is next to impossible.

I knew the plan was for her to go to the hospital first, but when Connie said she would be in the geriatric psych ward first, it felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach.  (I've had that feeling two too many times in the last week.)  When I think "psych ward," I think "psycho" and she isn't psycho.  In a way, it helps me to know that Karen has had to go through this with her mom because I know her mom isn't psycho.

For years, Billie has said that she hoped she died before she ever got to the point of having to go to a nursing home.  Of course, her memories of nursing homes are what they were 30 or 40 years ago, and while not home, they are certainly much, much better than they were then!

The next few days and weeks will be difficult!

30 October 2010

Life can be so unfair

Tragedy struck our family Thursday afternoon.

My cousin Elizabeth and her three boys, ages 8, 7, and 1, were driving from Sumiton to Jasper on Highway 78.  While I don't know ALL of the details, I do know that a car apparently came out of the median, causing Elizabeth to swerve.  When she did, her Cherokee went off the road, flipped down an embankment, and hit a tree.  She was pronounced dead on the scene.  They had to be cut out of the vehicle.  The three boys were relatively okay--physically--but they were taken to the hospital.  One of them was airlifted, and he will probably have significant scarring on his face.  She was 37.  Her birthday is coming up in the next couple of weeks.  Her baby, Phillip, turned one on Monday.

The wreck could have been worse.  They could have gone into the river, which probably would have taken the lives of all four of them. 

The person who hit her...he didn't even stop.  Thank GOD there were witnesses who were able to provide a description, and one was even able to provide the tag number.  If these wonderful people had not been so aware, this person might still be out there, but because of their descriptions, he was found. 

How can someone just run another person off the road and not stop?  Where is the humanity? 

Tonight, a husband, three little boys, a mother, a father, two sisters, three brothers, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends wonder why.  Why did this happen?  Why do these precious babies have to grow up without their mother?  Why will Phillip's birthday forever have such an unhappy memory associated with it?  It isn't fair.

All I can say is that I know that God in His infinite wisdom knows the answers.  I pray that He will wrap his arms around this family and will bring the comfort that only He can.

Elizabeth's younger sister and her husband will be flying in from England where he is stationed.  I pray for their safe trip, but I also hate that they are having to make the trip under such horrible circumstances.

Tonight, hug your loved ones.  Tell them you love them.  Bite your tongue when you want to fuss at your children for the messes they made.  Throw away the five Mountain Dew cans that your husband left on the table beside his recliner.  Those messes and those cans are so very unimportant.  What is important is that they know you love them and that they are the most valuable possession you have.  You never know when it could all be taken away.

24 October 2010

Stars in their crowns

Years ago when I was teaching special education exclusively, I would have people tell me that I must be a special person to work with special needs kids.  I always brushed the thought away because I didn't (and I still don't) feel that my working with special needs kids made me any more special than the next teacher.  Yes, there were challenges, but isn't that the case in every job?  Since I've moved into the general ed classroom, I still have challenges...they are just different.  Instead of kids who can't, I have kids who don't or won't.

However, I do believe with ALL OF MY HEART AND SOUL that those who work with geriatric patients, especially those with Alzheimer's, do deserve numerous stars in their crowns.  I posted last night about the conversation between my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.  Well, this morning, I kind of lost it with my mother-in-law. 

My niece is having her baby shower this afternoon.  At breakfast, Connie and I were talking about it, and of course, Billie didn't get invited (or so she thinks.)  We told her she did but that she had just forgotten.  (I've had this same conversation twice in the short time I've been writing this post.)  We told her that she needed to go because Gavin is her great-grandson and Libby would be hurt if she didn't go.  Then she began with her old standby:  "I'm so dizzy in my head I can barely stand up." 

While she was washing dishes, Connie told her to take a shower and we'd go riding later this afternoon.  Oh, boy...she perked up at that.  "Can we go out to the forest to Momma's and Daddy's graves?"  Connie told her that she didn't know where we'd end up, but we'd go somewhere.  Once she finished with dishes, I told her to go take her shower.  She headed toward the bathroom, or so I thought.

A few minutes later, I went to our bedroom and there she was...GOING THROUGH MY PURSE!  She said she was just moving some stuff so she could make up the bed, but she had my bottle of Lexapro in her hand looking at it, and it was IN my purse.  I sent--again--her take her shower.

She went to the bathroom and I heard her moving stuff around.  Then she said she just was going to bathe off and not take a shower.  I told her she needed to shower, but she insisted she didn't want to.  I insisted she needed to because she didn't take one yesterday. 

Her:  "Yes, I did."
Me:  "No, you didn't, and you said last night you could smell yourself."  (She says that all the time, but we don't smell her.)
Her:  "Well, I do stink, but I can bathe off and get clean."  (She was bathing off, but she wasn't using soap AT ALL.)
Me:  "No, you don't get good and clean if you don't get in the shower and use soap."
Her:  "I took a shower yesterday."
Me:  "No, you didn't."
Her:  "You weren't here yesterday.  You don't know."
Me (using a tone of voice that I really shouldn't have):  "I'VE BEEN HERE SINCE 8:00 FRIDAY NIGHT.  YOU DID NOT TAKE A SHOWER YESTERDAY!!!"
Her:  "Well, I'm just dizzy in my head and I don't feel like it."
Me:  "Fine.  Don't tell me you smell yourself.  If you aren't going to take a shower, you are going to stink."

Now, let me ask you this:  Who is the crazy person here?  The answer to that?  I am.  I'm the one who, almost two hours later, is still catching myself clenching my jaws while she's over in her chair happy as a lark.  I feel horrible about losing my temper because deep in my heart I know she can't help it.  It's just so damn frustrating to see someone you love deteriorate so much.  Have I told you lately that  I HATE ALZHEIMER'S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She just said...again...that she wasn't invited to Libby's shower.

And I have a pain over my left eye.

So yeah, anyone who works with geriatric Alzheimer's patients and can go through a day without losing his/her patience deserves not just a star, but a whole galaxy, or stars.  I couldn't do it.  Give me a teenager any day.

Have a GREAT day, and please pray for me 'cause I need it.

23 October 2010

Weekends...

I love my weekends.  I really do.  Even the "groundhog weekends."  We got to my mother-in-law's house last night about 8:00, and it has been a constant repetition for the last 26 hours.  Just in the last three minutes, she's asked Connie probably five times about her house payment and her checkbook.  This conversation is truly breaking my heart.  Connie is explaining to her why she can't do things, and she--Billie--is just not comprehending that the things she USED to do she can't do anymore because of the Alzheimer's.  Her short-term memory is less than a minute long.  Connie gave her a list of four things:  apple, blanket, table, and shoe.  Just seconds later, she couldn't name even one of them.  A few days ago, she lost her microwave.  It was sitting in the same place that it has been forever.  It is frustrating, heartbreaking, and I HATE IT! 

I got grades done and put them into my gradebook and the computer today.  I hope I got everything done correctly to turn my grades in on Monday.  This new program, iNow, is not the best in the world.  I'm sure it's not the worst, but it certainly leaves a LOT to be desired!!  Our registrar has spent numerous hours trying to figure things out, and when she thinks she has it figured out, we (the teachers) find something that is a glitch.  Bless her heart...this has not been a fun process.  

Bama had a good game today.  It took forever for them to get the ball rolling, but once they did, they ROLLED.  Julio set a single-game record for 221 yards, and Trent had an average of 9.9 yards per carry, Mark had 6.3, and Greg completed 21 of 32 passes for 264 yards.  Not too shabby, I don't think.  We are desperate need of this bye week.  This time last year our guys were tired, but they had managed to avoid the injury bug for the most part.  This year, they are exhausted and the injury bug has bit big.  Last year, a couple of guys had season-ending injuries, and we haven't had that this year, but we have had a lot of dinged up players. 

John is going to Talladega with one of his brothers next weekend, so I'll probably head to the lake by myself.  Since working bibliographies and note cards are due Friday, being alone will probably be a good thing.  Too many breaks get taken when John is around.  LOL

Libby's baby shower is tomorrow.  I've got to run to the store in the morning to pick up a gift bag for her goodies.  Well...they are really Gavin's goodies, but once he gets here, he won't care about anything except a fresh bottle (or boob), a clean diaper, and a comfy bed.  So I guess it really is for Libby after all.  LOL  I can't wait to have a new baby in the family to love on!  It didn't occur to me until Connie got here that I didn't bring "shower" clothes, so I hope it will be okay if I wear jeans.  I thought about packing a nicer top and a skirt, but by the time I actually packed, I didn't think anything else about it. 

I guess that's about it for tonight.  It's been a LONG day, and I'm a tired lady.  Have a GREAT Sunday!

ROLL TIDE!!!!

20 October 2010

Research!

The first time I taught research to my seniors was five years ago.  (Remember that the first 13 years of my teaching career was spent teaching students with IEPs in a self-contained classroom.  My students were classified as mentally retarded, so we focused on life skills--filling out job applications, reading bills, paying bills, going on job interviews, etc.)  As I started the research process, I was terrified.  I mean, I knew how to WRITE a paper myself, but I didn't have a clue about how to TEACH someone else to write one.  Writing is, after all, not a process that has only one correct way.  What works for you may not work for me.  As a matter of fact, until I started teaching the research process, I had never actually followed an actual "process."  I had always just done it my own way.  And it certainly wasn't the most logical or easy way.  LOL

Over the last five years, though, I have learned how to teach the process.  I do tell my students that as they begin their college careers, they may develop their own style that is completely different from the style that I teach them, but at least they will have an idea of what does or doesn't work for them.  One thing that I realized Monday is that I was actually looking forward to starting research.  Whaaaa???????????  When the heck did THAT happen?????  Now, the thing I do NOT look forward to at all is the grading.  I am doing something different this year, though, that I hope will help some.

In the past, the other senior English teacher and I have gone through the process of teaching the students how to write bibliography cards.  Over the last couple of semesters, I've had people question why in the world I was still teaching students how to write bib cards.  And I started thinking about it.  Why was I doing this?  In colleges all over the place, students are using online resources, such as easybib.com, to generate working bibliographies which are then turned into the works cited page.  So...if colleges were allowing students to use resources like this, why shouldn't I?  After all, times have changed since 1985 when I was a college freshman.  Technology has changed.  I needed to change with it.  So this year, I'm having my students create a working bibliography on easybib.  My colleague is still doing it the "old" way, though.  I think once she sees how much easier it should be to grade a working bibliography, she'll change her mind.  Plus, it won't be nearly as hard to bring 85 pages of working bibliographies home as it would be to lug around a minimum of five bibliography cards for 85 students.  (Do the math.  That is a minimum of 425 cards!!!  And those 3x5 cards do get heavy.)

I am still having them write note cards.  I haven't figured out a good way to simplify that process, but I am open to suggestions!!!!  They have to turn in 20 note cards the first go round (1700 cards) and then those same 20 plus 20 new ones the second go round (3400 cards...HEAVY!!)  So please, send any ideas!

We're going to the Mac lab tomorrow for them to get started "playing" around to find sources and to begin building their working bibliography.  I'm looking forward to a day of not having to talk all day long.  My voice is tired.  :)

Guess that's it for now.  Have a GREAT day!

17 October 2010

Look in the mirror, bud.

So the football season here in Alabama is gearing up for the final half, so the hardest part of the schedule for both of the major college teams in the state is ahead.  And it's about to start getting ugly.

After South Carolina beat Bama last week for our first loss in over two years, so many of my facebook friends were gloating about how the "mighty bammers were taken down" or something to that effect.  Even though I may not have liked it, I realize that is how it is whenever intense rivalries are concerned, so I just ignored it.  And I know that whenever Auburn loses, I'll be just as happy as they were last week.

Yesterday as we sat watching the Auburn-Arkansas game, I was pulling mightily for the Hogs to win, and it was obvious from my facebook posts.  (So maybe some of the comments I'm going to share with you were directed at me, but if you don't like what I post, ignore me or delete me.  I wear my big girl panties, so my feelings won't get hurt.  Pinky swear.)  But what gets under my skin more than anything is how some fans (Bama fans are just as guilty) think that their fan base never does anything wrong.

Just a few comments from some of my "saner" facebook friends (you know, the ones who are fans, win or lose...not the fans who crawl out from under the woodpile whenever their team is doing well.)
  • "If you hate Auburn, quit watching the game."  This "friend" has actually deleted me this morning.  My first reply was that the same could be said for Auburn fans who hate Bama.  A couple of other replies were made, and I'm going to guess the one that made her delete me was when I said that in the last week I've deleted a couple of friends from facebook because of their use of vulgarity in their gloats over the Bama loss.  Look in the mirror, bud, because Auburn fans say the same things Bama fans say.  Auburn fans hate it when Bama wins just as much as Bama hates it when Auburn wins.
  • "Why is it necessary to use expletives when rooting for a certain crimson colored team?"  My reply:  "The same reason Auburn fans use 'damn' anytime they say 'War Damn Eagle'."  It makes me cringe anytime I see or hear someone use the F word between Roll and Tide.  Fortunately, I don't see it ALL that much (but I'm sure it's quite prevalent in some places, especially around campus.)  Look in the mirror, bud, because Auburn fans say or use "WDE" or "War Damn Eagle" daily.  The fans of a "crimson colored team" don't have exclusive rights to the stupid use of profanity.  (This particular person completely deleted the thread from her page.)
  • "LOVES how everyone seems to be an Arkansas fan today" to which I replied "same way the barners were gamecock fans last week...It's the same on both sides!"  Look in the mirror, bud, because facebook was crawling with Auburn fans who were South Carolina fans a week ago.  And you were all Ole Miss fans last night, and you'll be Tennessee fans on Saturday. 
I love how some of the Auburn faithful, now when they are doing extremely well, decide to be "classy" and to pretend like they NEVER do the things that the Bama fans are doing.  It goes BOTH ways, so before making any "why do Bama fans..." comments, stop and look in the mirror, bud.  YOU may not be saying it about Bama, but I guarantee you that somebody is.

For the record, the majority of the fan bases--Bama or Auburn--do NOT act this way.  It's just the ones who crawl from the woodpile whenever their particular team is on top.

ROLL TIDE!!!!

14 October 2010

Fall break, days 2-4

Even though my back was still hurting a little when I got up Tuesday morning, I knew I was going to have to deal with it because the house HAD to get cleaned.  Fortunately, the more I moved around, the less the old back bothered me. 

Cleaning house is one of those chores I truly hate, and I probably would have put doing it off until another day, but we were leaving for the lake as soon as John got home Tuesday, and I didn't want to come home to a messy house.  So, clean I did.  And a couple of loads of laundry.  And paid bills.  And went to the grocery store.  Ugh.  A domestic goddess I am not.

Once John got home, we loaded up the truck and headed out about 4.  We stopped by Katy and Phillip's on the way.  Their microwave had stopped working, and since we had our old one, we took it to them until they can fix theirs or buy a new one.  Just before we got there, Katy called to see if we would mind staying with Sam for a bit while she ran to pick up one of her friend's little boy.  Naturally, we said we refused to stay with him for one tiny second.  LOL 

Sam managed to trick Grana (or Nana...I think that's what I'll end up) into picking him up so he could see the CD player.  As I was dancing around with him, Katy called to see if it would be okay for her to run by Target while she was out.  When I told her what Sam and I were doing, she said he'd conned me because he knows he isn't supposed to do that.  AHHHH!!!!  Of course, Grana/Nana didn't mind, but once the CD was finished, we didn't turn it back on.  If I could hang out with Sam for a couple of hours every day, I'd lose some of this weight.  hahaha

After Katy got home, we headed to the lake. It was about 10 when we got here, and I was sure glad we'd left the sheets on the bed Sunday.  I called it a night right away.

When I woke up yesterday, my back was hurting again.  After breakfast John started taking the old swim deck apart.  I helped as much as I could, but other than being a go-fer, I didn't do much.  About mid-morning, I said something to him about my back bothering me again, and then it dawned on me...dancing with a 30-something pound toddler.  :)  We worked until about 3:30 before we called it a day.

We went to Cindy and Sam's for dinner last night.  Cindy and I were elementary/high school friends, but we had lost touch after high school.  About a year and a half ago, we reconnected through facebook. 

Sam had been to the Gulf fishing, and they wanted us to come over for fresh fish.  Cindy said that Sam was going to make his specialty, but she didn't tell me anything else about it.  Oh. My. Word.  I can honestly say that was one of the best dishes I have EVER had!  John and I haven't stopped talking about it yet.  It was restaurant quality.  The thing is that if I'd read the description on a restaurant menu, I probably wouldn't have ordered it.  The dish consisted of fresh red snapper, spinach, red and green bell peppers, Alfredo sauce, and pasta.  I wouldn't have ordered it because I wouldn't have been sure that I'd like the combination of snapper, spinach, and the peppers.  And in a restaurant, it would have probably cost close to $20.  I'm not going to spend that much on something I'm afraid I won't like.  Let me tell you, though, it would have been worth every penny.  We also had steamed asparagus, salad, bread, and cheesecake. 

In addition to a wonderfully delicious meal, we enjoyed sitting around talking while Sam cooked and then after dinner.  Cindy was the kid in school that we were mean to.  I don't mean mean like kids are today.  We never threatened to kill her and we never beat her up in the bathroom at school (like a story I heard on the Montgomery news tonight.)  We were just little brats.  Thankfully, Cindy has a forgiving heart. 

Today, we finished up the swim deck.  Correction...John finished the swim deck.  I was still just the go-fer.  What I did the most was to lie on the "new" swim deck in the sunshine.  It was a beautiful day!  The sun shined all day, and there was a wonderful breeze blowing. Sometimes the breeze was a little cool, but in the sun, it felt great.  I actually got a little sun on my face.  :)

John grilled ribs for dinner.  FAB. U. LOUS.  Now, we're just relaxing.  We have a few odds and ends to do tomorrow to clean up the shoreline.  I'm going to clean the trailer.  Oh joy.  Housecleaning twice in one week.  The nice thing about cleaning the trailer is that I can be completely finished in just over an hour.  Joys of a small place.

Hopefully, Mom and Dad are going to come up Saturday for a while.  We haven't seen them since Jessi and Lance's wedding.

That's about it for now.  Kind of rambling, I know, but that's okay.  :)  Have a GREAT day!

11 October 2010

Day 1 of fall break

I decided to make my first day of fall break all about ME.  I got up, had breakfast, showered, and went to do a little pampering.  I didn't go overboard by any stretch, but I enjoyed every second.  My first stop was at Starbucks for a venti caramel machiatto.  Then I headed to the nail salon for a nice, relaxing hot stone pedicure.  Oh my!  That felt SOOOOOO good!  The massage chair was especially nice since I wrenched my back in the shower.  Having back spasms probably kept me from doing more than I might have done otherwise.  (Much to John's delight.  LOL)  After having my toesies pampered, I made a quick stop at Ulta.  I've started using the Ulta brand mineral makeup, and I LOVE it.  The shade I had gotten is really more of my summer color, so I got a lighter shade for the fall/winter.  My last stop was at Four Paws to get Ali a new collar.  It has lady bugs on it, so it's perfect for the Bug.  :)

Speaking of the Bug...we were at the lake this past weekend, and she found something.  We have no idea what, but she must have rolled around in it a time or twelve because she stunk.  Before we left to come home yesterday, I gave her a good bath.  I don't think it would have been possible to ride for three hours cooped up in the truck with her.

I had to take them to the vet this afternoon for their shots.  Their appointment was for 3:30, but about 2 Amanda called and asked if I could bring them in then because they had an emergency coming in.  It's so much easier when John is here to go with me, but I managed.  Bama did better this go round than he usually does, but Ali was a squirmer.  Everything was good for both of them.  Except for Bama's weight.  Dr. SanMiguel said he is a "little pudgy" and that he doesn't need to get table scraps anymore.  (JOHN is the one to blame for that!) 

We're going back to the lake tomorrow when John gets home and we're staying until Sunday.  We have some yard work to do, but I'm hoping for a lot of time to porch sit.  :)

I guess that's about it for now.  Have a GREAT day, and

ROLL TIDE!  What...did you think that because my guys lost on Saturday I would suddenly stop showing my love for them??  :)

05 October 2010

Sometimes ya just gotta laugh

I teach.  I teach English.  I specifically teach British literature.  I do not teach science.  I especially do not teach biological sciences.  (OK...short, choppy sentences are the bane of English teachers above third grade, but sometimes I just feel the need to use them, and this is one of those times.)

We are ending the first term of the year, so for my students, that means term exams.  I've given one huge comprehensive exam at the end of the semester, and I've given term exams at the end of each term.  I, and my students, much prefer the end-of-term exams.  They are taking my exam on Thursday, so yesterday I gave them their study guides. 

When they came into class today, I told them to finish working on them, and before the end of the period, we would go over their answers.  As I sat at my back table finishing the essay questions from their Chaucer test, I heard one of my precious, but somewhat dingy, girls say, "What did Chaucer say about genitalia?" 

Whaaaaa????  All I could do was put my head on my table and laugh.  Along with everyone else who heard her.  Meanwhile, she's sitting there asking why everyone was laughing at her.  Finally, I looked up and said, "That refers to body parts."

She:  "No, that's gender."

Another student then, very quietly, explained to her what genitalia was, to which she said, "OHHHHH!  Genitals!  I get it now!"

Oh, the original question was this:  "What did the old woman say about gentility in 'The Pardoner's Tale'?"  Gentility, NOT genitalia.

If you've read Chaucer, you know he did make references to genitalia, but we didn't read any of those works by ole Geoff.

And no, this isn't the same girl who used the word "rememberize" last week.

I do love my job, but sometimes I wonder where these kids come from. 

Tomorrow is our Medieval feast.  They've all signed up for a food that relates in some way to the Medieval time period, and they're going to get to watch A Knight's Tale.  The food is usually pretty good.  Hopefully, everyone will bring what he/she has signed up for.  I did "bribe" them by telling them that they will get participation points for bringing something.  Most of them want every extra point they can get, so I think we'll have plenty.

And in other news...My husband is now the proud owner of a BlackBerry!  I swapped him over to my plan so we are on a family plan now.  He didn't want to go with me, so I got him a Curve.  So far, he has sent an email to me, and a text message and picture to Jessi.  He's so cute trying to figure out everything.  He just said, "Oh, I can internet now.  Let me see if I can find that."  (He wants to look up the Geico commercial that has the little pig going wee-wee-wee all the way home.  LOL)  I may have created a monster.  hahaha

Only three more days until fall break.  Ahhhhh!!!!  I'm planning on going to visit Katy and Sam one day.  I told Katy that maybe we could take Sam to the zoo, and then John and I are going to the lake for part of the week.  Poppa (Sam's gone from Pop Pop to Poppa) may want to go too.  :)

That's it for tonight.  Have a GREAT day tomorrow!

03 October 2010

A perfect Saturday!

John and I got up about 8, I guess, and did a few things around the house.  Both of his girls called him before we left to wish him a happy birthday, so he got off to a great start.  :)

We left about noon and stopped at Keywest Inn in Clanton to check in.  Boy, am I glad we decided to stay there.  As it was, we didn't get back there until about 1:45.  Had we come on home, it would have been after 3 AM.  Then we headed on to Tuscaloosa.


Dreamland white bread and barbecue sauce

Ain't Nothing Like 'Em Nowhere!

Damage done

Our first stop was the original Dreamland in Tuscaloosa.  This little hole-in-the-wall rib shack has been here since 1958.  John "Big Daddy" Bishop was the founder of this institution, and I fortunately had the opportunity to visit the restaurant before he passed away.  I say fortunately because he was known for sitting in his chair right next to the pit, slopping sauce.  The place is, like I said, a hole-in-the-wall, but on a football Saturday, it will be filled with fans from both teams.  We've stopped as early as 10 AM for ribs.  LOL

John has wanted to get some ribs, so we did since it was his birthday.  They were, as usual, delicious.  You can see that we didn't leave anything on the bones.  While we were eating our bread sopped in sauce, I told John that if I were ever on death row and about to eat my last meal, I would want it to be Dreamland bread, sauce, and ribs.  Not that I ever plan on being on death row or planning my last meal there...

After filling our tummies we headed on over to campus.  We parked and hopped on the transit bus for the quad.  We met up with one of John's high school buddies for a bit.  Mark's company has a huge tent on the quad, but this was the first week we've been able to catch him there.  Mark recently had knee replacement surgery.  We were asking how he is doing with it, and he dropped this neat little tidbit.  He is doing his rehab with Mark Ingram!  Mark's wife, Judy, is Coach Mal Moore's secretary, so Judy asked if it would be possible for Mark to rehab in the athletic department.  So he is, and he is often there when Mark Ingram is.  I asked our Mark if the other Mark is as nice as he seems in interviews.  He said that he is just that nice, if not more.  That makes my heart happy because I WANT my Alabama program to be known for attracting quality young men who represent my school well.

We finally headed to the stadium about 6, but we didn't go in until about 6:30.  It felt so good outside, and we weren't so sure it would be as cool inside.  (It ended up being a perfect evening weather wise.)  All over campus, the Gator fans were "chomping" and yelling "Go Gators!"  I didn't have any personal interaction with them, but they were quite a bit more "mouthy" than other fans who have visited Tuscaloosa. 

The game was PERFECT!  I was honestly thinking that it was going to be a nail biter, but the TIDE took care of business early.  And then we laid back.  I'm not a fan of holding back against a team like Florida because a good team can be back in the game in a matter of minutes.  Our offense produced very little in the second half (apparently this was "by design" according to the sports writers), but our defense bowed up and kept the Gators from getting into the endzone.  An interesting side note...five years ago, the score was 31-3.  Yesterday it was 31-6 (two field goals).  The LAST time Florida was kept out of the endzone was on Oct. 2, 2005 in Tuscaloosa.  That has been something like 61 games.  Pretty amazing job, D!


A happy guy!  He got his birthday wish

The TIDE is STILL #1!!


We stayed in the stadium until the last seconds ticked off because we definitely wanted to do Rammer Jammer.  I think that was one of the loudest ones I've ever heard.  I did not do RJ at the San Jose State game or at the Penn State game.  I don't believe in taunting those teams we are SUPPOSED to beat by 40 or 50 points, and I just have too much respect for coaches like Coach Paterno.  SEC teams, however, are a completely different story.  They are our "siblings" and you know how it is with your siblings...you can be as mean to them as you like, but heaven help those outsiders who treat them badly.  LOL  I also believe that programs like USC, Texas, Oklahoma (even though I have tremendous respect for the Sooners, too) are subject to the cheer.  We're getting into the meat of our SEC schedule.  I'm looking forward to many more Rammer Jammers this season!

That's it for today!  Have a GREAT week, and remember to

ROLL TIDE!!!!!!!!!!


02 October 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY and ROLL TIDE!!

Today is John's birthday!  He turns 55, and he is using the senior discount already.  LOL  Seriously...we have reservations for tonight at a swanky, five-star hotel (BAHAHAHAHAHA), and there is a senior discount for anyone 55 or older with valid ID.  Well, just so happens he is 55 today and he has a valid ID.  So we're getting a room for $53, tax and all.  (See.  I told you it was a swanky, five-star hotel.)

I truly feel like I should send Billie a thank you card because she brought him into this world and helped to make him into the man he is.  I've said it many times before on my blog, and I'll continue to say it, but I know how very blessed and fortunate I am to have him in my life, and I thank God each and every day...several times a day...for putting us in the same place at the same time.  My life is so much better because he is a part of it.

So many words can be used to describe John.  Kind, considerate, compassionate, funny, hard working, dedicated, loving, outgoing, goofy, determined...I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.  I can truly say that I have nothing bad to say about him, and when I do, it is in complete jest.  Sure, I get frustrated with him because he can be quite stubborn (as is everyone in his family!) but I also appreciate that about him.

Today is also GAME DAY!  Five years ago today, Alabama and Florida played at Bryant-Denny.  It was on John's 50th birthday, and we did a surprise party for him.  He knew I was planning on having a cake at the tailgate, but he had NO idea what was really in the works.

A couple of weeks before the game, Susan called me and asked if I was free to talk without John overhearing.  I went to put laundry in because I knew he wouldn't hear me.  She said that Tim had an idea but he wanted to run it by me first, so she put him on the line.  He asked if I would be offended if we had a Hooter's party, complete with the Hooter's girls.  I said I definitely would NOT be offended and that I loved the idea.  He arranged everything, but for two solid weeks, I had to lie, lie, lie about the plans for the tailgate.  Originally, we had something else planned (don't remember what) so Susan and I came up with a plan.  We said they were going to do a Boston butt and bring all of the fixings.  John still kept trying to plan things, so the lies just kept growing.  Amazingly, I managed to keep them all straight (I am NOT a good liar AT ALL!!!!!) 

The day of the game, I was so excited I couldn't sleep.  At 4 AM I was wide awake, so I went on and got up.  We loaded up and were on the road before daylight.  hahaha  The Hooter's girls and their manager were getting there about 11, so about 10:15 or so, Tim told John he needed to go purchase John's present (some Gentleman Jack) and said for John to ride with him.  They went to the Campus Store and took care of that, and that and then Tim decided they needed to run to Publix for something else (cigars, maybe??)  While they were in Publix, Tim called Susan to see if the girls had shown up yet.  They hadn't, so Tim faked a call of nature and ended up spending about 10 minutes in the Publix bathroom.  (We still laugh until we cry whenever we talk about this.)  He made another call, but they still hadn't gotten there.  Finally, Susan called him and told them they were there, so Tim and John were able to head back. 

John kept trying to tell Tim where to turn so that they could get back quicker, but we wanted them to come in a certain way.  Tim managed to do things his way. Right before they got to our spot, Tim told John to look at him and close his eyes.  Only a man confident in his sexuality would tell another man to do that.  I'm not sure John had any idea what to expect.  LOL

He was totally surprised, and he loved every minute of the day.  I had emailed some of his buddies from high school, and they all came over, so he got to see and talk to them.  It was probably the BEST tailgate we have EVER had.  Some Florida guys came by and asked how we got the Hooter's girls there.  We explained what was going on to them.  One of them looked at me and said, "You must be a great wife."

As fun as the tailgate was, the game was even better.  I have never heard BDS as loud as it was that day.  I don't think the crowd ever stopped yelling whenever Florida was on offense.  I think that helped tremendously, too, because we soundly beat Florida 31-3.  The only downside was that this was the game that ended Tyrone Prothro's football career as a player.

I'm hoping for a repeat game tomorrow, minus the injury.  I think the stadium will be just as loud, if not louder than it was in '05.  I know the Florida players will be ready to redeem the December loss, and I'm sure my guys will be ready to defend their win.  I think it will be a hard-fought game, and I just hope that the good guys in CRIMSON come out on top.  I'm confident that they can and will.

I guess that's it for today.  Have a GREAT football Saturday, and

ROLL TIDE!!!!!!!!!

01 October 2010

A job-related post

This time next week I will be relaxing and getting ready to enjoy my fall break.  Rumor has it that this will be our last year to have fall break, and I will miss it terribly!  By the end of the first nine weeks, I am in desperate need of a break.  But I guess I'll adjust.

It's hard to believe that the first nine weeks are almost over.  I told my students the first day of the semester that the year would be over before they knew it, and here we are...1/4 of the way through.  Whew!

One of my students made me chuckle the other day.  I'm going to call her Bitsy because that name makes me think of someone who is just the tiniest bit air headed, and she is definitely an airhead.  She is blond, literally and figuratively.  Anyway, on Wednesday I was letting the kids play a review game for their Chaucer test.  They always enjoy this particular game, probably because they get to see the actual test questions and answers, but I award 10 points to the winner of each group.  These points are added to their overall test grade.  I enjoy observing them as they play because they will FIGHT for those points.  The group that Bitsy was in wasn't made up of the brightest students in the class (I let them choose their groups.)  Bitsy was getting extremely vocal because she felt like the other members of the group weren't playing fair.  As I walked around, I overhead Bitsy yell out, "NO FAIR!  You're over there rememberizing the questions!"  Rememberizing.  I'm going to guess that the definition of that is to remember and memorize simultaneously. 

Today they had their pilgrim project presentations.  After we study "The Prologue" to The Canterbury Tales, I let them pair up and select a Canterbury pilgrim.  Then, they create a Facebook page (on a poster) for their pilgrim. They have to have a good understanding of the pilgrim based on the reading in order to fulfill the requirements.  They have to select ten friends, 2-3 quotes, books, music, interests, etc. that their pilgrim would relate to.  I just started doing this project last spring, and they seem to enjoy it.

As my last block class was presenting, I sat in the back of the room watching them interact, and honestly, I was almost moved to tears.  They were being so funny, and it made me realize how very much I love my job and my students.  Sure, sometimes I could strangle them because they don't put forth the effort I KNOW they are capable of putting forth and sometimes they are just little snots (but how many 17-18 year-olds AREN'T little snots at least occasionally??)  But I would do anything within my power to help any of them.  I know I'm an extremely lucky person because I do have a job...a job I love, and not everyone is fortunate enough to say that.

I guess that's it for tonight.  I've GOT to go put laundry away, and I've GOT to make John go clean the kitchen for me.  Neither of us WANTS to, but tomorrow is game day, and I don't want to come home to dirty dishes or clothes that need to be put away.

Have a GREAT day, and

ROLL TIDE!!!

26 September 2010

Too close for comfort

Whew!  The Tide scared me last night.  I always had faith that we would win, but dang...I do not like it when we have to mount a comeback. 

We went over to watch the game at Danny and Linda's.  (The game was still in the first quarter when Billie started asking how much longer it would be before the game was over and we could go home.  LOL  Made for a LOOOONNNNNGGGGG afternoon.)  The last time we watched at game at their house was the Auburn game last year.  After the game was over, I told Linda that we might have to change our venue or just stop watching them together if every game was going to be a comeback game.  hahahaha

Ryan Mallett and Arkansas are the real deal.  They will continue to do well in the conference.  Some "experts" have picked them to win the West, and that is still certainly a possibility.  (Although I truly hope to be back in the ATL with the TIDE and Susan and Tim!)  The Hogs will give other teams in the conference fits.

My guys didn't do so well in the first half, but they did what they had to do in the second half to win.  The duo of Mark and Trent showed out.  I love watching them bulldoze their ways through the defensive lines. 

We're going to stop by Phillip and Katy's so John can see if he can fix Sam's ceiling fan.  Katy's had strep again, but if she feels like it, I'm going to get her to run to Ulta with me.  I have GOT to have make up.  I was scraping the bottom to get enough to wear yesterday. 

I've got to go shower, so that's it for today.  Have a GREAT week!

23 September 2010

House, Bones, Fringe

So it's PREMIERE WEEK.  I've finally gotten to see (or will see) all of my favorites.  Will House and Cuddy make it?  Where in the heck did 13 go?  What about Bones and Brennon?  Will they get together?  And will Olivia make it back from wherever she is?  Will Walter be able to forgive himself for what he did in past?  And will Olivia and Peter get together?  This week has been like a reunion of friends I haven't seen in a while.  I need to make sure that the DVR is still set to record all of our favorite shows. 

Even though this has been a crazy week at work, it seems to have gone by pretty fast.  And I'm soooo glad, too.  Tomorrow is going to feel like almost a wasted day, but I don't mind.  I remember having fun during high school, but today's teachers have so much pressure to cover their objectives and to prepare kids for all of the standardized tests that they have to take that it is hard to build in "fun."  As teachers, we try to incorporate fun activities into our lesson plans, but long gone are the days of a flag football game during school hours to raise money for an organization. 

Several years ago, the powers that be decided that we didn't need to get out early on the Friday of homecoming.  The parade was moved to Thursday night, and the Friday of the game was a typical pep rally Friday.  I hated it.  It didn't feel like homecoming at all.  A couple of years ago, the powers that be (new ones) changed things back to the traditional way of doing things.  So tomorrow will a half day with a pep rally at the end of the school day and a parade at 3:00.

I'm glad we're getting out early.  I probably won't go to the parade since this is our weekend to be in Hartselle.  If I went to the parade, we wouldn't get on the road until about 4:30 or 5:00.  If John doesn't get caught up with work, we should be able to get going by 3.  Maybe we can beat the Birmingham traffic...

Gotta go watch Bones and then Fringe

Have a GREAT Friday, and

ROLL TIDE!

21 September 2010

Snuggled in for the night

Not me.  At least not yet.  Ali Bug has gotten herself all snuggled up next to me on the blanket, and Bama is snoozing on the sofa.  I desperately want to stay awake to watch Glee, but honestly, I'm not sure I'll make it through the entire show.  I did make it through House last night.  :)

This is a nutso week at work.  First of all, the Alabama High School Graduation Exam is being given this week.  Fortunately, the students I have who are having to take it are all in my afternoon classes, and they are finished by the time they have English.  That means they aren't missing any of the notes and having to try to play catch up.  Most of the ones I have who are testing have IEPs, so having to play catch up isn't easy for them.  Secondly, the senior counselor started senior conferences this week.  Yesterday, half of my 2nd block class was gone to the conference, and today the other half was gone.  Yesterday, half of my 3rd block class was gone, but none were today, so those who were in class yesterday got a double dose of the material.  None of my 4th or 5th block students have conferences this week, so they are actually a day ahead.  Not to worry, though, because their conferences are next week, so we'll get caught up then.  Next, this is homecoming/spirit week.  Each day there is a theme and students dress up.  Yesterday was nerd day and today was reality-TV show day.  Tomorrow is Disney character day; Thursday is twin day; and Friday is spirit day.  Some kids dress up.  Some don't.  Finally, Friday is a half day because of the parade.  All classes have been shortened to 45 minutes (except 5th block, and it's 40 minutes.)  Then today, we get an email saying that there will in fact be a pep rally DURING school instead of a community wide pep rally (which was supposed to be after school, I guess.)  So now, I will have my 4th block class for even less time, and I won't see my 5th block class at all.  Not that it's a huge deal...I had planned on letting them work on their pilgrim projects during class since 45 minutes doesn't really give us enough time to do much of anything.  So...let me scream.  AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  Oh yeah.  We got the email this afternoon about game duty.  Before the first game of the season, I sent an email saying that I would gladly work, BUT I didn't need to be scheduled for the Sept. 24 or Oct. 22 games since we stay with John's mom on the 4th weekend of the month.  Guess who was scheduled to work.  Yep.  Me.  I sent an email saying I needed to be swapped because it is our weekend to stay with John's mom.  I haven't heard back from him yet.

(Technically, we cannot be required to work football games unless we are compensated because it is outside the normal school day.  No compensation is given, but I pride myself on being a team player.  However, I am aggravated because I SPECIFICALLY made a request to NOT be scheduled for this week.  Granted, that request was made a month ago, but make a notation please.)

In addition to this being a crazy week, I'm still fighting sinus crud.  I've had it for a week now, and while I'm not feeling as bad as I was, I'm still all snotty and sneezy.

Glee is on now, so I'm gonna go.

Have a GREAT day tomorrow!

18 September 2010

I love Saturdays in the fall!

Oh, what?  You're surprised that I love football?  Obviously, you are a new reader to my blog.  LOL 

I got up about 8:30 this morning, and the first thing I did...before making coffee or anything else...was to turn on ESPN.  About 11, Kristen and I went down to Danny and Linda's dock to get some sun, but we came back to the trailer about 1:00.  We didn't go to our dock because the water has dropped has dropped so much that we can't put the ladder down, and it is hot enough to need to take a dip every now and then.  We came back up about 1, snacked, and watched the games.

Vandy beat Mississippi.  Arkansas beat Georgia (last minute).  BAMA DOMINATED Duke.  And currently Clemson is beating Auburn.  (Yeah, I think Auburn will win in the end, but for now, I'm loving it.)

I did get some sun today while we were on the dock.  It has been FOREVER since I've lain out in the sun--probably since the end of July or so, and it's been such a busy summer with Jessi and Lance's wedding and the showers/parties that went along with that and our weekends with Billie, that I haven't had a TAN since school started.  And I hate it.  Oh well.  It's getting to the part of the year where having a tan looks odd anyway.

John has started the grill. We're having steaks, potatoes, and salad for dinner.  Kristen doesn't have any idea what she is about to experience.  John's steaks are to DIE for.  Knowing I'm going to have one makes me extremely happy.  hahaha

So, I guess I'll end this post--gotta watch FOOTBALL.  Have a GREAT rest of the weekend. Love ya!

16 September 2010

Has this week been exceptionally long?

Weekends don't pay as well as weekdays but at least there's football. ~ S.A. Sachs

I don't know about you, but this week has been forever long.  I don't know what it is about some days or weeks that makes them seem to last longer than the normal 24 hours, but I don't like them.  I think part of what has made this week drag has been because we didn't get home until 1 AM Sunday, and I've had cruddy sinus crap.  Fortunately, it hasn't turned into an infection or anything, but not being able to breath, especially at night, is bad enough.  And since not breathing well at night affects my sleep, I've been exhausted.  Every night this week, I have come in and been IN BED before 8:00.  As a matter of fact, Monday I got home about 3:40.  I hit the sofa and crashed.  About 6:30 I woke up.  John suggested ordering a pizza, so we did and I went to get it.  After we ate, I went to bed.  I could have sworn it was at least 9:30. 

We're heading to the lake tomorrow.  Right now, my plan is to sleep as late as I can Saturday, get up, go for a boat ride, come back and watch football.  Bama plays at 2:30, and then Auburn plays that night.  (6:30, I think.)  And of course there will be tons of other games before, during, and after.

What I really can't wait for is fall break.  This may be our last one, so I plan to enjoy it.  This is the end of our sixth week, so we have only three more before break.  Ahhhhh!!!

OK...gotta go to the grocery store for lake stuff.  John is grilling steaks for Saturday night.  YUM!

Have a GREAT Friday and weekend!

I love my Crimson Tide!

I really, REALLY mean this...

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