31 December 2011

My last first kiss

Twenty years ago, on December 31, 1991, I had my last first kiss.  Did I know then it would be the last first kiss I would ever have?  Subconsciously, I think I did.

John and I had met about four months earlier when I was hired as a file clerk/fill-in receptionist in the radiology department.  In those four months, I saw what a wonderful, kind, generous person he was, and I began to look for reasons to go back to the control room in the department.  Do films need to be hung?  I'll do it!  We're out of film jackets.  I'll go get them!  Can somebody bring the film jacket for Mr. Smith?  I'll take it!  Even though it might mean only catching a glimpse of him, I wanted that glimpse.  If it was a slow day, it might mean a couple of minutes to talk.  When we were busy, I was constantly listening for his laugh.

One thing I noticed not long after I started working in the department is that John was always giving out hugs.  Oh, he wasn't just walking up to women and accosting them with hugs.  (That would be sexual harassment!)  They were coming to him and asking for hugs.  Techs, nurses, clerical...One day, after one of the other file clerks asked him for a hug, I told him that I needed to know what was so special about his hugs, so he gave me one.  And I learned that when John hugs you, he gives you a REAL hug.  His hugs aren't those one-arm-kinda-pulling-you-to-him hugs.  He envelopes you and you can tell he is sincere. 

Right after I was officially hired at the hospital, I moved out of the slum apartment I was living in and moved into a MUCH nicer (and less expensive!) apartment.  It had a washer/dryer hook-up, but I didn't have a washer or a dryer.  It turned out that one of the ultrasound techs had recently moved, and the house she bought had a set.  She had her own and didn't need them, so I bought them.  (Well, Mom bought them for me.)  Somehow, John was volunteered to move them for me.  I remember him standing in my kitchen with a glass of tea after he'd gotten them in and hooked up.  As he stood there in his overalls, I thought to myself then that I really wanted to kiss him, but I didn't.  I mean, I didn't want him to think I was this incredibly forward girl, did I?  That was around the end of September/first of October.

Fast forward to New Year's Eve 1991.  Vicky, the full-time receptionist, had volunteered John's house for a small gathering.  (Funny how John gets volunteered for a lot of things.  LOL)  I started the evening with a little adult beverage before I got there, and then I indulged in a little more after I got there, so I was just a touch...tipsy.  I had gone to the kitchen to refill my wine, but I ended up breaking the cork, so John came in and got the rest of the cork out.  After refilling my glass, we were standing face to face, and I really wanted to kiss him.  In just a matter of maybe two seconds, this is the conversation I had with myself and my good/bad consciences.

ME:  I really want to kiss me.
Bad Trina:  Go ahead!
Good Trina:  NO!  You can't do that!  He'll think your being too forward.
BT:  Oh, shut up!  It's New Year's Eve!  Nothing wrong with a little kiss!
GT:  You do this, and you will REGRET it!
ME:  Oh, what the heck!

So I kissed him!  (And he kissed me back.)  And that was my last first kiss.

It was a couple of days before we both worked at the same time.  I remember being so nervous about seeing him again.  How was he going to react?  Was he going to ignore me?  Pretend it never happened?  Was he going to think I was this slush who went around kissing guys?  I was afraid to even look at him, but I shouldn't have been.  Over the next few weeks, I began noticing that he was making his way to the front part of the department a bit more frequently that he had been before, and he always came through before he left for the day.

About a week and a half after "the kiss", he called and asked me out.  By Valentine's Day, we were "unofficially" an item. In mid-August, we were engaged, and on December 20, 1992, we were married.  Sometimes I think it would have been neat to have had our wedding on New Year's Eve since that was when our love story really started. 

Sometimes I still feel so amazed that out of all the people in the world, John chose me for his wife.  I look at him, and I realize how very lucky I am to have such a kind, loving, and supportive man to share my life with.

Twenty years ago, our love story began.  I can't wait to see what the next twenty years holds!

27 December 2011

2011 was a difficult year

As 2011 winds down, I can't say I'm sad to see it go.  This has been a very difficult year for so many people who are so important to me, and I'm ready for them to have some happiness and joy.

This year has had some extremely wonderful moments.  We were blessed with a new grandson.  Layton is such a joy, and I thank God each and every day for bringing him to our family.  Our good friends Amy and Stephen were also blessed with a sweet son.  Preston is a doll, and I know they have enjoyed each and every minute of his life.  Three of my co-workers welcomed new babies.  So yeah, 2011 has been good, but the tears outweighed the smiles.

Our school family was hit especially hard.  My precious friend Karen lost her mother, her cousin's husband (Amanda has always been like a sister to Karen, so Randy was like a brother-in-law), and her best friend, Mary...who was one of our much-loved science teachers and a dear friend of mine as well.  Another dear friend, Don, lost four relatives and his girlfriend.  And he had a guy break into his house and commit suicide, AND Don went in for surgery to have a cyst removed from his kidney but ended up losing the entire kidney.  We lost another precious member of our school staff when our registrar, Patti, died.  We had a student who was severely injured in a bizarre accident with her horse (but thankfully she survived.  She has struggles, but let me tell you...she is a true inspiration!!)  Another student drowned not long after school was out for summer.  A former student was killed in a car accident.  Several other faculty and staff members lost loved ones.  It has been a year we're all happy to see in the rear view mirror.

So, as the new year approaches, my wish is for nothing but smiles and laughter, happiness and joy for my family and friends.  May God bless you and your families.

11 December 2011

Vest Family Christmas 2011

We had our family Christmas yesterday in Hartselle. Danny, Linda, Allen, Will, Landon and Lance weren't able to join us for various reasons, and we missed them all, but the rest of us did have a wonderful time enjoying each other's company.
It was a fun year with all of the "little" kids. The great-grandchildren range in age from 11 years to 5 months.  Of course, Gavin and Layton weren't all that interested in what was going on, and Zac is getting older so his excitement is more reserved now, but Sam and Maggie had a blast.  Sam got some tools, and Maggie got make up.  Sam is all boy, and Maggie is all girl.  (Ask her and she'll tell you she is the princess at her house, and her daddy and Will are the Prince Charmings.  LOL)

Poor Billie continues to decline.  She had a hard time keeping Amy, Katy, Libby, and Jessi straight, and then add in their kiddos, and it gets even worse.  I wanted to make sure I got a picture of her, John, Katy, Jessi, Sam, and Layton.  I don't know if it was harder to try to get Sam or her to look at the camera and smile.  Sam wanted to play and to eat his M&Ms (what 3 year old ever wants to sit still for pictures?), and she couldn't remember.  Amanda (Luke's fiance) said we could easily put the pictures on Awkward Family Photos.  I think I'll give you an example of what I mean...

And this is just one example.

This one cracks me up because Sam is so over sitting her, and Billie is looking away, but at least you can tell she's smiling. 

After we finished, I sat down next to her and showed her the pictures.  She pointed to herself and asked, "Who is that woman?"  I told her it was her.  She looked at the picture again, and then she looked down to see what she was wearing.  Once, she said something to Katy or Jessi one about "my husband, Carl."  She doesn't even remember that her husband was their grandfather.  Sad, sad situation!

We're doing our Christmas here next Sunday.  I've got the menu pretty much planned.  I still want one other veggie, but I just can't decide what.  Something will pop into my head between now and then.  :)

I guess that's about it for now, but before I close out, I want to leave you with one more picture.  This one is of Billie, the grandkids, and the great-grandkids. 

Have a GREAT day!

08 December 2011

2012 can't arrive soon enough

I'm not wishing my life away, and I'm not even wanting what is left of this year to hurry by because of the BCS championship game.  I just want 2011 to be over, and I pray that 2012 is filled with many more smiles and much fewer tears.

Our faculty, staff, and students have been hit with so much tragedy and sorrow this year.  More than what one school should ever experience.  Actually, the hard times go back several years.  If I counted correctly, the number of deaths that our faculty/staff has experienced in about the last four years is close to 20.  A spouse, parents, other relatives, friends...Sure, we have a around 75 employees in our school, but even still, that is a lot of sadness in such a short time.

In addition to that, one of our students drowned over the summer. Back in the spring, another of our students was seriously injured when her horse fell.  Looking at Kathryn, although she faces some struggles, we can see the goodness of God in sparing her.

Just about a month ago, we lost our registrar.  Patti had been sick, but things were beginning to turn around. It looked like she was on the mend, but then there was a setback, and we were shocked to learn she had passed away.

Today, we lost another of our family members.  Mary had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer during the summer, but the prognosis looked good.  Her cancer was supposed to be fairly rare and slow growing.  After spending about 3 months in the hospital, she was finally released, and the plan was that she would return to work after Christmas break.  She had not been home long when we went to the ER because of extreme back pain.  The diagnosis was not good.  The cancer had spread to her spine, and she was given two years...best case. 

My phone rang at 5:45 this morning.  Nobody ever calls at 5:45, so I knew.  I knew when I looked at the caller ID, it would be Karen.  It knew when I said hello, she wouldn't have good news.  I still said a quick prayer that she was calling to tell me she'd been up sick all night and wasn't going to be at work.  (Sorry for wishing illness on you, Karen, but I know you understand.)

I met Mary in January of 1993.  John and I had just gotten married, and I was unemployed.  Mary was a part-time rad tech who worked for John and a full-time teacher.  Because of her, I learned about a special education teacher who was going to be on maternity leave in the spring of 1994.  Mary put in a good word for me, even though she knew nothing about me!  Talk about going out on a limb for someone, but that was Mary!  For several years, Mary and I taught next door to each other.  Many were the days when I'd go to her room to ask a special ed question, see if she had a copy of a form I could NOT find (she always did in her disorganized organization), or to vent.  Mary had the most awesome giggle for a laugh.  I loved hearing it.  She had the best sense of humor.  She was a wonderful person and friend, and so many people can say their lives are better for having had her in it.

Thank you, Mary, for allowing me to be your friend, and I know I'll be seeing you again.  I love you!

20 October 2011

Hi! My name is Trina...

...and I used to be a regular blogger, but I've kinda gotten sidetracked.  :)

I've finished 1/4 of the school year (and I'm nine weeks closer to retirement!!)  This week has been our fall break, and I cannot believe how quickly it has gone by!  The only day I've been home all day was Tuesday, and I cleaned house.  Monday, I kept Layton.  We had a great time.  He talked and talked.  (I know ALL of Jess and Lance's secrets.  haha)  The entire day was spent snuggling with him. The ONLY time he wasn't being snuggled was when I had to potty or when I ate my lunch.  Yesterday, I rode down to Auburn.  I had no plans to go anywhere, but I wanted to run to Talbot's.  Imagine my disappointment when I pulled up and discovered that Talbot's was closed.  Shut down. Moved out.  I love Talbot's, but now the closest one is in Birmingham.  Mom and I were going to meet in Birmingham today, but she sent me a text last night to say she was sick--coughing, fever, achy.  She sent another text this morning to tell me that she just couldn't keep our plans.  I hate that we had to cancel, but I hate even more that she's sick.  We've rescheduled our girls' day for Veteran's Day.  I decided to go on so I could go to Talbot's.  I needed some new dress pants.  I've got to run to Alex City tomorrow, but it shouldn't be an all day long trip--bank and lunch with a friend.

The Tide is rolling right along!  We're still undefeated, and all the experts are saying the Nov. 5th game against LSU will be the de facto National Championship game.  We're halfway through the season, so that means six more games, and a LOT can happen in those six games.

I found out last week that I'll be getting another intern next semester.  YEA!!  I have HUGE classes, so it will be nice to have an extra set of eyes, ears, and hands.  Of course, once I turn the class over to her, she'll have to handle them on her own for a portion of the time.

I guess that's about it for now.  I think I'm gonna call it an early night.

Have a GREAT day!

02 October 2011

Fun fall weekend

John and I have had a super busy weekend, but it has been so much fun!  We started out Friday night by going with Katy, Sam, Shelley, and Jason to the Spain Park/Mountain Brook ballgame.  Phillip is in his fourth year there, and we've said every season we were going to go to one of their games.  In the past, we always talked about it, but this year we set a definite weekend.  Sadly, Spain Park lost.  Their offense just couldn't seem to get anything going.  They would have a good play or two, but that would be it for the series and the defense would be back on the field.  I know the defense had to be exhausted.

Sam was a ham (as always  LOL).  Katy had told him we'd get some popcorn at the game.  From the time she said it until we got to the game and got him some, he didn't say much of anything except "popcorn!"  When he did get his box, he ate pretty much the entire thing by himself.  John asked him for a bite, and he moved the box away so John couldn't get any.  LOL  When Sam did finish with it, only a couple of bites were left.  (I think the Vest DNA contains a popcorn-loving gene.)

After we got back to Katy's, we got the pups and headed to the lake.  It was midnight before we got here because we decided to stop in Cullman to get our groceries for yesterday.  We came in, put everything away, made up the bed, and sacked out.

Yesterday, we met Mom and Dad at Oktoberfest in Cullman.  Cullman was settled when five German families moved to the area in 1873. For years German was the primary language of the town.  In 1977, the city held a one-day Oktoberfest to celebrate the centennial of Sacred Heart Church.  Over the years, it has grown to a week-long event.  Because Cullman has been a dry county, this was the only Oktoberfest in the world to not serve beer.  The city of Cullman went wet in the last election, though, so this was to be the first year beer could be bought. 

We did have a German lunch, though--brats, German potato salad, some type of cucumber stuff, and brown bread.  Somehow, Mom, John, and I didn't get sauerkraut, though. Dad must've looked hungrier than we did.  :)

When we left Oktoberfest, we came back to the trailer to get our steaks and the salad makings and headed to Susan and Tim's for an afternoon of football.  The four of us were extremely depressed over the auburn victory.  We just knew South Carolina would win.  Our depression didn't last long, though, because Alabama took care of business with Florida, winning 38-10. This was a game that concerned me.  It was the first SEC road trip challenge, and the Florida nation takes pride in making The Swamp a hostile environment. 

Florida just out to a VERY quick 7-0 lead, and then on our first drive, we were able to put only 3 points on the board.  Then Florida scored again to take a 10-3 lead.  Trent ran for a TD to tie the game.  In the second quarter, Courtney Upshaw intercepted a pass and ran it back 45 yards for a TD.  (I love to see a defensive guy score!!)  AJ then had a 1 yard run for another TD.  The third quarter pretty much stunk for both teams. I don't know if Bama had even one first down in the 3rd quarter.  In the fourth quarter, we scored two more times.  I feel really good about our team after this game.  I know we still have more than half the season to go, and I know that all it takes is one bad play to turn things around, but for now, I'm going to enjoy the success that the Tide is having.

Two more weeks until fall break.  I can't wait!  I am so ready for a week of being lazy.  On that Monday, I am going to go keep Layton.  :)  I may go spend the night--if they don't mind--on Sunday night so I won't have to get up quite so early.  I'm super excited about getting to snuggle him and spoil him all day long. 

That's it for today.  I hope everyone has a GREAT day!

26 September 2011


Today was the due date for the second set of note cards and outlines.  Because we've had some crazy, mixed-up days, I had them go ahead and turn in note cards, but I told them that we'd be in the library tomorrow, and they could get help on formatting their outlines.  (FYI:  I despise formatting outlines.  I am sure an easier way exists than the way I do it, but no one has yet to show me in 11 semesters of teaching research.)

I probably should wait about using this cartoon until the final papers are done, but I couldn't find anything that showed somebody poking his/her eyes out.  That's exactly what I want to do right now.  It isn't that their note cards have been that bad.  I just hate grading note cards.  It's a tedious job, and the only satisfaction I get is when I've looked at the last one.

Now, when I read their rough drafts and take points off because they didn't include any parenthetical citations, or when I return their final papers and tell them I will NOT grade them until they have included parenthetical citations AND they will lose 50 points PER DAY until I get the paper back, they will look at me with the most confused looks and swear they have never heard of parenthetical citations and that I should have told them they had to have them.  Never mind that I've mentioned it no less than 25 times in the last three weeks.  THAT will be when I really want to dig my eyeballs out of my head.  With a rusty fork.  Found under a pile of cow poop.  OK, so I'm a tad bit dramatic there, but seriously...if I had $5 for every time I used the words parenthetical citations, I could retire and be filthy rich.

I still have 18 sets of note cards to grade, so I better go.  I was waiting for one of my students to come by for help on her outline.  She came, and it was an easy fix.  She's gone, so now it's back to the grindstone.

Have a GREAT day!!!!

17 September 2011

THIS makes me proud!

In my post last night, I said that one of our players had been hurt, but at the time, I didn't know what the injury was.  This morning, I learned that he has a broken ankle, and that he will likely miss the rest of the season.  Since the high school regular season is only 10 weeks, and we've played four games, it would highly unlikely that he would be able to return.  I hate this for Bryant, but at the same time, I am SO very thankful that it is only a broken ankle.  At one of our neighboring high schools, a player was seriously injured a week or so.  He is home now, and from what I've heard, I think he will be okay, but when a player ends up with bleeding on his brain, it is scary!

This morning, one of my students posted the picture above from the game last night.  You can see Bryant and I'm sure his father (who is our head coach, by the way) near the goal line, but what touches me so much is what you see in the foreground--our players, cheerleaders, dance team, trainers, and coaches praying for their team mate/classmate/student.  As I said last night, we haven't had the best record for the past couple of years, and honestly, it even goes back farther than that.  Had a player been injured three or four years ago, I don't know if this image would have been captured because I don't know if this coming together would have happened.  That isn't to say that I don't think there would have been no concern, but it just seems to me that the WILDCAT PRIDE is back this year.  When you have that pride, it makes a difference.

I have the privilege of being a part of many of these kids' lives, and I am so very thankful for that.  They touch my life in a way that I can't explain, and I hope that I have a tiny impact on their lives.

Get well soon, Bryant!  We want to see you leading our Wildcats for the next two seasons!

Everyone have a GREAT day today!

16 September 2011

WHOA!! What happened??

I've been gone almost a month, and when I come back, blogger has a new interface.  I'm always willing to give new ideas a shot before I decide how I feel, so instead of reverting back to the old interface, I'll post a time or two (maybe) before declaring my feelings.

So, what's happened in our life?  Not too much, and certainly nothing that is earth-shatteringly exciting or devastating.  (Thank you, God, for keeping disaster out of our lives!)

Football season has gotten underway, and I am currently tied with two other people for 2nd place.  Not too shabby for a chick.  This is the second year that I've not been the only female, so I'll admit that I feel a tiny bit of my competitive nature coming out.  Every Monday when the results come out, I first look to make sure that what I have for my results and what Andy has for me match.  Next, I check my overall results, and then I compare that to everyone else's results.  And when I see that I've done better than the other chick, well, yeah, I gloat a little.  I really gloat, though, when I look at the guys and see that I'm doing better than some of them.  I know, I know...it's all for fun, but I grew up in a family that was competitive, so it's just in my blood.  And now I've probably jinxed myself and I'll do a crappy job of making picks the rest of the season.  It wouldn't be the first time!

Sweet Layton is growing like a weed!  He is such a happy, easy-going baby.  Since school has started back, we haven't seen him (or Jessi and Lance) nearly as much.  Several nights, I've been in bed asleep by 8:00.  And since Jess has started back to work, it isn't like I can go to their house straight from work because she doesn't get home until 5:30ish.  Barring any unforeseen problems, we're going Sunday.  We won't get to visit a super long time, though, because I have note cards to grade.  Oh joy...

We are FINALLY going to watch one of Phillip's games in a couple of weeks.  We've said for the past three years that we were going, but we never planned it.  When the high school schedules came out in the Birmngham News, I looked to see when Spain Park played at home, and when Bama was on the road.  It turned out that the week they play Mountain Brook, Bama was on the road, and it's right after Katy's birthday and right before John's.  I checked with Katy to see if it would be okay for us to come take her and Sam to dinner and then go to the game.  She said it would be great, so we have it on our calendar.  We are so bad about saying we're going to do something or go somewhere, but if we don't ever schedule it, it doesn't usually happen.

I guess that's about it for now.  I was wanting to stay up to see how my CATS did tonight against Stanhope-Elmore.  We were losing 17-7 (I think) at the half, but we ended up with a 21-17 victory!  We're now 4-0 on the season.  The last couple of years were hard--we won only one game each season--but Coach Horn has been here long enough to get his system into place and to get the guys working and playing according to his style.  I know those two losing seasons were tough on him because his teams in Clay County were ALWAYS on top.  The only negative for tonight is that one of our guys was hurt and taken to the emergency room.  I don't know anything other than that, but I'm praying it is nothing serious.

I hope everyone has a GREAT football Saturday!

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

20 August 2011

One down, 35 to go

We officially have seven days down.  That means only 173 days to go.  Yeah, I think 35 weeks sounds better.  LOL

The first week was pretty good.  My two seniors classes have 24 and 28 students, I have 17 in my junior class, and 8 in my remedial class.  Like always, I get some of those students who have reputations which precede them.  Other teachers have talked about how disrespectful and unmotivated/lazy they are.  I do my best to put those comments in the far recesses of my mind because I don't want to start out with negative attitudes toward them.  More often than not, the students end up displaying the same behaviors I've heard about, but I still try so very hard to smile at them every day and to greet them with a smile in my voice.  For some of these kids, we teachers may be the only positive voice they ever hear. 

This semester, I have one student I knew nothing about, but within five minutes of her stepping into my room I had pegged her as having a AT. TI.TUDE.  (This was confirmed by another faculty member.)  She didn't even show up until three days AFTER the start of school because she didn't have either proof of residency or an updated blue card--BOTH of which parents knew students MUST have before students would be allowed to come to school.  They've known about proof of residency since, oh, March, maybe.  Of the seven days we've been in school, she's been there three and the personality of the class changes accordingly.  I have a feeling the next 17 weeks will be a challenge with her.

Every evening, I've come home and crashed.  Most nights I've been in bed by 7:30 or 7:45.  The older I get, the harder the beginning of the year is.  Fortunately, I feel like I've started to adjust.  But it is Saturday, so maybe that's why.  hahaha

I have nothing else to say, so I'll sign off for today.  Maybe it won't take another week to post again.  hahaha

Have a GREAT day!

14 August 2011

The Help

A few weeks ago, I finished up The Help, and I knew then that I MUST see the movie when it came out.  After Susan read it, she suggested that she, her niece Kayla, and I go see it opening weekend, and I readily agreed.  The three of us and Kayla's friend Jessica went yesterday, and I must say, I am so glad we did!

If you haven't read the book, I would certainly suggest reading it before seeing the movie.  (I always prefer to read first, see second.)  While the movie is quite true to the novel, changes have been made in order to preserve time.  After the movie, we went to Macaroni Grill for dinner and to discuss.  None of us were disappointed.

The casting was superb.  Throughout the book, I hated Hilly.  Bryce Dallas Howard played the character just the way I imagined her to be.  Several times I caught myself muttering, "Bitch!"  ;)  Emma Stone did a fantastic job as "Skeeter" (even if she is much too pretty to be Skeeter as she is described in the book), and Octavia Spencer nailed "Minny."    The cute little actresses who portrayed Mae Mobley did such a great job.  At the end, when Mae Mobley says to Aibie, "You is kind.  You is smart.  You is important" I lost it. 

I will be horribly disappointed if Ms. Spencer is overlooked for an Oscar!  In fact, I will be surprised if this movie doesn't walk away with most of the awards.  I may have to watch the Oscar show next year.

We laughed, we cried, we laughed some more, and then we tried really hard not to do that "ugly" cry.  You know the one where you can't breathe because you're crying so hard...yeah, that one.  Several times I caught myself doing the "lip suck" so that I wouldn't openly sob.

As soon as the DVD is released, I'll be buying it.  This is one of those movies that you will want to see over and over, even though you know you'll cry every single time.

Grab your girlfriends and head out to your local theater.  See this one on the big screen.  You won't be sorry!

Have a GREAT day!

09 August 2011

We've got to do whhhaaaaatttt???

The beginning of the school year always brings changes of some sort.  Some are welcomed; some aren't so drastic that they make much of a difference; some are met with groans.

This year was a year of groans.

One of the first changes was the time clock.  Word had spread that we would be clocking in and out this year, so we had time to get the idea in our brains.  We had to go to the central office and have our pictures made for our official name tags...my picture looks about like a mug shot.  We have several locations where we can swipe, and if for some reason we have to start or end our day at the central office or at another school, we can swipe at those locations.

When I first started teaching at BRHS, we had to keep up with time cards that we wrote our times in and out on, and then we had to turn them in at the end of the pay period.  I never really understood why we did those because no one verified the times we wrote, so a person could SAY he or she arrived at school at 7:00 when it was really closer of 7:30.  After a few years, those went by the wayside, and we didn't have keep up with our times for a few years.  Then we had a program installed on our computers.  We had to clock in every morning, but we didn't have to clock out at the end of the day.  That didn't even last a year.  Now we have the ID badges with magnetic strips that we have to swipe every morning and every afternoon.  So far I haven't forgotten to clock out, but I'm quite sure a day will come when I go to swipe in one morning after I forgot to swipe out the day before.  Janice can manually override it, but I would HATE to have to ask her to do that.

Honestly, though, what would it matter?  I'm a salaried employee, so even if my time shows I worked almost 24 hours, clocked out for one minute, and then clocked back in, I'm still going to make only $2.50 for the day.  (Yes, I put $2.50 because everyone knows people don't choose to teach for the money.)

The second change is that we now have to call our own subs.  This we didn't know, so about 70 people thought "Oh crap!" at the exact same time.  In my previous 18 years, I have never had to call my own sub.  I am spoiled!!!!  We all are!  I will pray daily that I don't ever wake up with a horrible stomach virus and have to try to call a sub.  What will happen is that all of our super great subs will be booked months in advance (and if I knew I had a day I was going to have to miss six months from now, I would go ahead and get my name in one of their calendars!)  Then while we're puking our guts out, we're going to have to go down the list and pray we can find someone.  Fortunately, I haven't had to call in very many times over the years.  Maybe 5 or 6 days total.  Most of my days that I've taken have been pre-planned.

At one of the meetings we had today, one of the other teachers brought up something I hadn't thought about.  Let's say that one day next month I do wake up terribly sick.  Naturally, I will call the subs I like the best first.  Now, let's say that we have a really nasty virus running rampant around the school, and six other people have already called those same subs.  How many calls would you have to take before you were ready to scream?  Yeah, I wouldn't be very happy after about the 3rd one.  AND what if I have been up all night long sick.  I'm going to want to call as soon as I can.  How early is too early?  Some people may not mind being called at 5AM, but others may not want to be called before 6.

And the final change that has had ALL of us groaning loudly is our bus duty schedule.  We have to do one month of morning duty and one month of afternoon duty.  Yep...I'll have morning bus duty from Nov. 1 - Nov. 30.  Well, except for Saturdays and Sunday.  :)  One of the nice things about November is that we'll be out Nov. 11 for Veteran's Day and Nov. 23-25 for Thanksgiving.  Not quite as nice as having duty during December, but not everyone can have a short month.  My afternoon duty is in May.  At least the weather should be nice.

We've always had several weeks of bus duty.  For years, we would do three or four of morning and afternoon (same weeks for both).  The last couple of years, we've had five weeks of morning and two weeks of afternoon, spread out over the year.  So while we're still doing roughly the same number of days for each, just the fact that we have so many weeks consecutively is what makes it seem so bad.

I try extremely hard to be a team player, so I don't typically complain about stuff, and I'm not complaining about these changes.  I'm just sharing them.  It will take some time to get used to them.

Guess that's it.  I'm about to call it a night.  Getting up at 4:50 yesterday and today has worn me out.  Sitting through meetings most all day for both days hasn't helped either, and we have the joy of sitting through even more tomorrow.  Ahhh...I love professional development days.  LOL

Have a GREAT day!

03 August 2011

The final week of summer

This is it.  My final week of summer vacation.  This time next week my fellow colleagues and I will have been thoroughly inserviced and professionally developed and will be psyching ourselves up for meeting our new kids on Thursday.  When I think about what I need to do to get ready, I feel panicked. 

"Uh, Trina, aren't you starting your 19th year at Benjamin Russell?" 

The answer to that is YES.  Yes, I am about to start my 19th year at Ben Russell.  And I have 1- 1/2 years additional experience, so you'd think I wouldn't feel panicked.  Every year feels like the first year, though.  Next Wednesday night, I will have the hardest time sleeping because I'll keep going over what I might have overlooked.  Because I have a first block class, I can't have the attitude that I can just get whatever it might be done before my second block class comes in.  For the record, I've never forgotten anything that was a MUST HAVE, but I still have that fear, and there is always a first time for everything.

I have my pacing chart for my English 12 class almost complete, but I haven't even started on the one for English 11.  That is what is making me feel panicked right now.  We usually have a week after school starts before we have to submit them, so I've got a few more days.  :)

As much as I would love to simply play the rest of the week, I can't.  Dad's older brother, John, passed away Sunday night, and the funeral is Friday morning.  In October, his middle daughter Elizabeth was killed in a car wreck leaving behind her husband and three young sons (the youngest turned one just a couple of weeks after she died), and now this.  It seems so unfair that one family would be faced with so much tragedy in such a short time, but I know it happens, and sometimes some families are faced with even more.  His youngest daughter's husband is in the Air Force, and they are stationed in England.  She is supposed to be home later tonight.  Two trips home in less than a year and both for funerals.  And in between, she had a baby.  It's sad that Kathryn will know her aunt and her grandfather only through pictures and stories.

The pups and I came to the lake today.  We were going to come up yesterday, but on Monday night, I got THE email.  Football tickets were going to be delivered today!!  Football ticket delivery is one thing that I will change most any of my plans.  :)  Once the UPS guy (who was my favorite person today  LOL) made the delivery, I had to run a couple of quick errands, so we didn't get on the road until about 1:15.  I had just gotten in the car when I realized I hadn't gotten the extra gate key, but it was just SO hot that I didn't want to go back into the house for it.  Besides, I knew where one was hidden so I didn't need ours.  Or so I thought.

I got to the gate, stopped, and went to where the key is hidden.  It wasn't there.  HUH????  I know it was there when I left Friday because I used it.  (And I'm certain I put it back.)  I was going to call Marty to see if he knew what had happened to it, but I called John first.  He said he thought he remembered where another one was, so I looked and YES!!  There was a key!!  I got in and got unloaded, and we haven't done much else.  It is just SO hot!  I don't know if I'll even get out on the dock tomorrow.  I may hang out inside and try to finish my book since my days of reading for enjoyment are coming to an end.  **sigh**

Guess that it's for tonight.  I'm going to call John and then read for a while. 

Have a GREAT day!

01 August 2011

Layton meets two of his great-aunts, who just happen to be great :)

 Connie, aka Nonnie or Vern, got to give Layton his bottle.  He ate it right up and then showed off his awesome burping skills.  hahaha  To be such a little guy, he can BURP with the best of them!
Linda, or Mimi, talked to him after he finished his bottle.  He took in every word and gave her a cute little grin or two.  He also showed that he can spit up with the best of them.  OOPS!!!  Sorry, Mimi!!!
Mommy looks absolutely beautiful!  Can you believe she had a baby a mere three and a half weeks ago?  Motherhood agrees with her 100%.  I love it when Layton looks at her with a look that says, "I know you are my mommy."  She is so relaxed with him.  You'd never know he was a first child.  Jess has had a lot of experience with babies, though, and that makes a difference.

Since Layton ate right after we got there, we decided we'd attempt lunch out at Olive Garden.  The little man did so well!  About the time we were finishing up, he started to get a little fussy so Jess got him out of his seat.  Bless his heart...he was so hot.  Once he got out and cooled off, he was great.  He has been such a good baby.  So far, he's so laid back.  He gets fussy when his diaper is wet or when he's hungry.  Once he has a dry diaper or a good bottle, he settles down.  And he LOVES to snuggle!  Oh my!!  One of my favorite things in the world is to have a sweet baby snuggled up on my chest.  Layton is a champion snuggler.  :)

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

31 July 2011

Summer craft project

Not long after school got out, I was looking through a magazine (Flea Market Finds, maybe???) and saw a great project that I knew I could do.  I've said it many times before--I can't come up with cool ideas myself, but I can recreate them with some level of success.  This was one of those I knew I could recreate.

I love jewelry.  I have so many necklaces, bracelets, and earrings from Premier Designs shows, from local artists, or that I've gotten as gifts.  For the longest, I've had my necklaces hanging on a "tree" but I just never loved it, and besides, it made my dresser seem cluttered to me.  This project was the perfect answer!

All I needed was an old frame, some paint, batting, fabric, and some knobs.  We had an old, rather ugly frame that was left in the house when we bought it.  Even though it was on the ugly side, we held on to it because it did have potential.  We just didn't think we wanted to tackle trying to strip off the old paint. 

I went upstairs to get the frame and decided to get busy.  My first step was to decide what color I wanted to paint the frame.  That was difficult, and now that I've finished, I wish I had used a different color, but I'm still happy with the color I chose.  Then I had to get the batting and fabric.  Because I wanted the frame to have a shabby chic look, I went with a plain oatmeal color fabric.  Choosing the knobs was THE most difficult!  Did I want to use all the same color/style?  Did I want to mix and match?  Did I want door knob styles, or did I want drawer pull style?  I spent maybe 45 minutes looking at knobs in Hobby Lobby, but I finally (sort of) made my decisions and got everything together.
So here is the ugly frame.  In the picture, it really doesn't look so bad, but take my word.  It was so bad I wouldn't have wanted to put a picture of my worst enemy in it.  You'll notice that I got drawer pulls and the antique brass hooks.  I couldn't make up my mind, so I got both.  I knew that once the project began to come together, I'd figure it out.  Also notice that I went with a burgundy red for the base coat and then a white crackle coat over that.
I decided to keep the gold, so I had to tape that off.
I kind of wish I had gone with a flat black base coat.  I debated the red or black decision for about 10 minutes in Hobby Lobby, and I finally decided to go with the burgundy red.
After giving the frame a good base coat and letting it dry, I gave it a good coat of crackle paint.  This gives it that shabby chic look.  It was after I got the crackle coat on that I decided I think the black peeping through would have looked better.
The finished project turned out pretty good, I think!  I decided to go with the knobs instead of the antique brass hooks.  I had a blue knob, but I overtightened the nut and broke the knob.  John remembered that we had some white knobs from some other project, so I put it on until I can get back to Hobby Lobby to get a replacement.  I may replace the pink one and the clear one, too.  They don't stick out quite as far as the other ones, so I can't hang as much on them.
The finished project in use!!  I think it turned out pretty good.  The white knob looks kinda small and is "the one that doesn't belong" but it will work until I can replace it.

The next project I want to undertake will be a frame backed with screen so I can hang my hook earrings.  Since school is about to start, though, that project may have to wait.  :)  Whenever we decide to build at the lake, I would love to take an old window frame, replace the panes with screen for my earrings, and then hang that as "art."  It would fit with the rustic style John and I are planning.

This was a fun, easy project that can easily be finished in two or three days.  Well, maybe just a little longer, depending on how long it takes the paint to dry.  If I were trying to paint it now, I'd probably never finish because of the humidity.  ICK!! 

Hope you have a GREAT day!

25 July 2011

Senior orientation

This week we have orientation for our students.  The seniors, being the "big dogs", get Monday.  Teachers who had senior advisements last year were asked to work today.  When the alarm went off at 6:30, I wanted to throw my phone out the window.  What the heck am I gonna want to do on August 11th when it goes off at 5 AM??

It was great to see the other teachers and staff who were working and to catch up with what everyone did over the summer, and it was great to see the seniors.  I'd say that probably 3/4s came through today.  I had a few who I had for English 11 last year who will be in one of my English 12 classes, but there were a few who will have Misty.  :(  Honestly, I would be excited to have any of the students I had for English 11.  One of the students who I had for remediation will have me all year...for assistant and for English 12.  I actually have her as an assistant for both semesters. 

After we finished up for orientation, I had to run over to the central office to get my mug shot...I mean my ID picture...made.  We're going to have to clock in and out this year.  I wonder how many days I'll walk out without swiping out?  Probably more than once. 

I think I'm about to make John go start the brats.  I know what he'll tell me--he just finished mowing grass, so he shouldn't have to.  I wonder if I'll be able to convince him that I am just sooooo tired from getting up two hours earlier than I'm used to??  LOL

EDIT:  I didn't even have to ask...he just went to start the grill.  I love my man!  :)

Have a GREAT day!

19 July 2011

Baby love

I came down to spend the day with Jessi and Layton today.  Lance is working at the fire department, so I came to help her out and to keep my Layton level up.  Can't let it drop too low.  Once school starts back, it will be more difficult to come hang out with them and get my dose of love.  Especially the first couple of weeks when I'm worn out and in bed before it gets good and dark.

After he woke up, I fed him a bottle and then spent about 3 1/2 hours just snuggling him and rocking him.  There is nothing sweeter in the world.  Right now, he's getting some Mommy love.  Watching Jessi with her baby is such a beautiful thing.  She is a great mommy.  Both our girls are.  :)

A new picture for you to enjoy.  :)

Have a GREAT day!

17 July 2011

Three weeks and counting

Usually doing a countdown means you're excited about the upcoming event.  In my case, it simply means the end of my summer.  And as always, I'm not ready for my summer to come to an end.  Teacher inservice/professional development begins three weeks from tomorrow.

I am ready to see all of my school friends and to find out how their summers have been, and honestly, I am excited about seeing my new group of students.  Who will I have?  What will my classes be like?  Even though those things excite me, getting up at 5 AM, standing on my feet on concrete floors all day, and talking until my voice hurts do not excite me.  After a couple of days, I'll be used to talking and using my "teacher voice" so my throat won't be tired, and after about a week, I'll be used to being on my feet all day, but never will I EVER get used to getting up before daylight.  For the first couple of weeks after school starts back, I'll crash and be in bed by 7:30 or 8:00 every night. 

We haven't gotten our official schedules yet, but one day when I was working in my classroom, I managed to catch Mr. Reyes and ask him if he had any idea what classes I'd be teaching.  He told me I'd have English 11 and 12 and maybe another remediation class.  (I was hoping for ALL English 12, but I don't mind English 11 or remediation.)  He looked at the tentative schedule and told me it looked like I'd have three English 12s, planning, and an English 11 each semester, but until he and Todd had the classes on the master board with the student numbers, he couldn't be certain.  That's where the "maybe remediation" comes in.  Whatever my schedule is, I hope I have all of one course before I have to swap gears for another course.  One year, I started out with English 12, swapped to English 11,  and then swapped back to English 12 with only a five-minute class change between. 

I need to use these next few weeks to look at my plans for this year and to look over my PowerPoint presentations to see which ones need revising.  I did a lot of revising back in the spring when Ashley was teaching, so I really shouldn't have much to do, especially with the English 12 material.

Guess that's it for now.  John and I need to get busy cleaning off the front porch.  Yuck! 

Have a GREAT day!

13 July 2011

You know you're too involved in a book when...

You have dreams about it at night.  I did that with the Harry Potter series.  I would even wake up and think to myself, "I'm a muggle."  Yeah...a tad bit too involved, huh?

Well, I'm doing it again.  Katy had to read The Hunger Games for one of her library science classes and told me I needed to read it.  I was browsing on Amazon.com the other day in the Kindle store and saw that they had the trilogy, so I bought it.  I started reading it last Wednesday, but I didn't finish until Monday because I was too busy welcoming Layton to the world.  :)  I mean, some things DO take precedence over anything else, right??

I had some stuff to do around the house Monday, so I didn't get started on book 2 until Monday evening.  Yesterday, I had to run to town, but once I got home, I really got into reading.  Right at midnight, I finished book 2.  And then the dreams began.

Honestly, I have never been so glad to hear John's alarm go off at 4 AM as I was this morning.  I was having the closest thing to a nightmare that I've had in a LONG time.  In the book, the Capitol has created "muttations" (or mutts) to basically show they are powerful.  The muttations have taken form of birds and dogs/wolves which were symbolic of the dead tributes. 

In my dream, the mutts were the walking dead.  Several of my bunco buddies were in the dream with me, and I think we were in a school somewhere.  Wherever we were, everything was a grayish color (which is why I'm pretty sure it was a school.  We have very light gray walls, white tiles, and white ceilings in our classrooms.)  The mutts were coming after us, but when we fought back, whatever we touched fell off the mutts bodies and transformed into a new mutt.  The weird thing is that I wasn't really scared in my dream or after I woke up.  I think I must have been aware the whole time that it was a dream, but like I said, I was never so glad to hear John's alarm, just so I could get away from them.

I haven't started book 3 yet.  I was going to, but I've spent the morning doing a little updating on my "first day of school" stuff.  I have a hair appointment at 2 ('bout time to get this mess cut and colored!!)  I'll take my Kindle with me and get started since there isn't much to do while I wait on the color to do it's job.

I'm glad Katy suggested I read the series because I've really gotten into it.  I may make the first book an optional reading assignment for my students.  If they read it and take a quiz on it, they can earn bonus points. 

Guess I need to go and get a couple of things done before I have to head to AC. 

Have a GREAT day!

10 July 2011

More Layton pics!

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. ~Desmond Tutu

The first time John held Layton--his smile lit the entire room.

I love being a Grana!  I could snuggle with my little sweet pea
all day long!

Grandma will spoil him rotten!

This was a "must-capture shot" because my dad usually doesn't hold babies.
He has always said he likes them when they can sit up for themselves.  I
was completely shocked when he said, "Let me see that boy."  Notice the smile
on his face.

I love love LOVE this picture!  Nothing better than
great-grandparents to love a child.

These two are so much alike it's scary.  Good, but scary.  Jessi got
her a man just like her daddy.  And I can tell you that is a good thing!

Have a GREAT day!

08 July 2011

Welcome to the world, baby boy!

Thomas Layton Caldwell made his entrance into the world on July 7 at 12:35 PM.  He weighed in at 8 pounds 6 ounces and was 21 inches long.  Mommy is doing very well, baby is perfect in every way, and Daddy is still (24+ hours later) floating on air.

So far, Layton seems to be very laid back and easy going.  When he does work up to a cry, it usually lasts only a short time, and then he settles back into his nap.  I hope he stays this way.  :) 

LOVE LOVE LOVE this picture!!!!!!!

Gots ta be purty for dem photo ops later

Jessi's proud daddy and sister

Sweet little bundle of joy

06 July 2011

Fun-filled, but BUSY, holiday weekend and BABY NEWS!!!

We had a busy weekend at the lake, and as much fun as it was, I was glad when it was over.  :)  We got to the lake about 6 Friday evening.  After unloading and eating a sandwich, we went to Danny and Linda's to visit for a bit, and then we went back to our place and replaced the ceiling fan.  It's amazing how much better a new fan will work.  The one that was in there was only who knows how old.  It was loud, wonky, and didn't put out much air.

On Saturday, Misty and Mark came up, and then Jeremy, Amber, and Hunter came.  We got the boat out and took the kids (Jeremy and Mark were "kids" too...) tubing.  When they got worn out, we took the tube back and then just rode for a bit.  Then we just floated for a couple of hours.  Finally, John grilled burgers.  Yum!!  Jeremy and the kids left early evening.

We went to Susan and Tim's on Sunday for the day.  Talk about lazy...we didn't do much of anything except float.  Susan and I did take a ride on the SeaDoo, and then we came back and floated.  :)  It was the perfect kind of day...spending quality time with best friends, enjoying good food, and making fun memories.  The thing I love about hanging out with Susan and Tim is that it can be effortless.  We don't feel like we constantly have to "entertain" so we can enjoy ourselves so much more.

Misty and Mark got up Monday and left about 9.  We got out in the boat about 10:15 and headed over to Roger and Amy's.  I felt bad because almost literally did an eat and run, but it started looking REALLY nasty.  We hauled ass and made it back to our place in about 20-25 minutes.  We got into a little rain, but if we had waited five minutes more to leave, we'd have been soaked to the bone.  I honestly didn't care about getting wet.  I just didn't want the lightning to strike us.  After the rain stopped, we loaded the boat up and took it back to Arrowhead, and then we headed home.  Talk about depressing!  I think I'm going to seriously start praying for a job in that area to miraculously fall into John's lap. Even if I didn't find anything for me, I could live with making the drive every weekend.

Now, BABY NEWS!!!  Jess has been admitted into the hospital, and our sweet Layton will be here tomorrow!!!!  For a while, we weren't sure if it would be tonight or tomorrow.  The doctor wanted to check her labs before making a decision.  They came back good, so it will be tomorrow around 10:30.  I can't wait to see this precious new life.  Our family is being blessed with this new addition.

I guess that's it for now.  I'll be posting pictures of Layton as soon as possible.

Have a GREAT day!

01 July 2011

Long time no blog

Yeah, I'm still kicking.  When I've had time to blog, I really haven't been in the mood to, and when I've been in the mood, I haven't had time.  The pups and I are just sitting here waiting on John to get home so we can head to the lake for the weekend, so I thought I'd post something.

It's hard to believe that my summer is essentially half way over.  Teachers go back August 8-10 for inservice and professional development days, and the kids start August 11.  I need to do some updating for my classes, but I'm going to enjoy this last long weekend before I start anything.  Well, that isn't exactly true.  I'm taking an online class on using social media in the classroom this summer, and I've been thinking of ways I can incorporate Facebook and maybe Twitter into my courses.  I already use Teacher Tube some, but since I've had more time to play around with it, I've discovered many other uses for it as well.

I have taken two days to go to my classroom and work.  I have always made efforts to get my cleaning and reorganizing done before the end of the year, but it just didn't happen this year.  It's odd that I didn't because I had an intern, so I had more "free" time that I could have gone through material and tossed or revised.  Oh well.  :)  I have probably one more day of work, and I'll have everything--my cabinets, my shelves--back in shape.  One of my former students offered to come help, and I think I'll take her up on it.  With the two of us, it really won't take long.  I have some books I need to move to another bookshelf, and that will free up the shelves under my counter for paper, boxes of markers/glue sticks/scissors/etc. and stuff like that.  I still need to go through all my old tests and see what is what with them.

We're still waiting on Layton's arrival.  Jessi went back to the doctor yesterday, but there was no change.  Layton seems to be pretty content to stay right where he is for now.  She was disappointed because she is so ready to not be pregnant anymore.  We were going to take them to Cock of the Walk for dinner (she said Lance has been wanting to go, and we haven't been in a while ourselves.)  Just about the time we were ready to leave to head to their house, she sent a text and said she just didn't think she could handle going out.  She'd had a busy day with going to the doctor and doing a couple of other odd 'n end things and was swollen.  We still went down (I had a card to give them from Linda and Amy), and John and Lance went to pick up barbecue.  I told her that I'd debated whether to go to the lake this weekend or not, and had she been dilated anymore than she was last week we wouldn't, but since there was no change, and since we can be in Montgomery in just over three hours should she go into labor, we decided to go.  I told her we were going to have to have a party to celebrate her pregnancy because she has made it farther than any of the other Vest girls did.  LOL

Phillip, Katy, and Sam came to the lake last weekend.  I honestly think Sam has duck or fish DNA somewhere.  That kid LOVES the water!  Of course, Katy always has too.  We played around in the lake for a couple of hours, and then we went on a boat ride.  By the time we got back, he'd worked up an appetite.  Phillip couldn't get his cheese sandwich made fast enough.  LOL  I hope they'll be able to come back up once we're not all waiting for "the call" and stay for the weekend.  Katy is scheduled to take a class this month, but it's one of her electives, and she said she just isn't "feeling" it, so she'd probably going to drop it.  Besides, she's got some aunt duties (like spoiling a nephew) to take care of.  :)

I guess that's about it for now.  Hopefully John will be here in a bit.  Other than the food and my laptop, I've gotten everything loaded and gas cans filled, so all we should have to do is put food in the truck and head out.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and SAFE 4th of July holiday!

17 June 2011

Time spent with Mom

I've been meaning to do this post for a couple of days now, but this is the first time I have even turned on my computer since last week!  (THAT is quite unusual, too!)

Mom and I met Monday a little after 10 at Barnes & Noble at Patton Creek.  We looked around for a bit before walking over to Panera Bread for a quick lunch.  Once we finished with lunch, we headed to Ross Bridge for our spa appointments.  We each had a custom facial, and they were heavenly!  This was the 4th or 5th facial I've had, so I knew what to expect, but it was Mom's first one.  This was actually her first visit ever to a spa.  I think she enjoyed it.  :)

After our treatments, we sat and relaxed for a bit before heading out to do some playing.  We stopped by Home Goods and T. J. Maxx and browsed for a couple of hours.  By that time, it was right at 5:00, and our salads from lunch were long gone.  We took off to The Fish Market at the downtown location.  Oh my!  DE. LISH. US.!!  I had shark steak with Greek seasonings, a baked potato, and a Greek salad.  Mom had fried flounder, a baked potato, and a Greek salad.  She had enough fish for both of us.  I guess for a hungry man, it would have been just enough.  LOL  After dinner, we went back to the hotel and relaxed in our room.

Tuesday, we went over to the Shops at Grand River in Leeds just to see what was there.  We each did a little shopping--Mom got shoes, and I got a purse.  :)  (I would be safe in saying my love of shoes comes honestly.)  We also went over to Bass Pro Shops because I wanted to find a new set of wind chimes, and I knew they carry the particular brand I wanted.

By that time, it was almost 5, so we said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways, but we have decided that this will definitely be something we do again. 

She and Dad are coming up to the lake tomorrow so we can cook our for Father's Day.  This will be the most time she and I have spent together in a LONG time!  (Yet another very good reason for moving to the lake!!)

I enjoyed our time together so very much.  My mom is a wonderful person...so caring and compassionate!  I'm so very thankful that God matched us up. 

Have a GREAT day!

11 June 2011

Weekend plans

John and I went to the 21st Alexander City Jazz Fest last night.  We went the first three years we lived here, but after that, we stopped.  It was raining, we weren't interested in hearing any of the acts, or we were out of town.  This year, though, Wet Willie was the headliner for the Friday night show, so we decided to go.  When they first started Jazz Fest, it was held downtown on Broad Street.  It was also so crowded!  Quite a few years ago, the city tore down the section of buildings that were on Tallapoosa and Alabama Streets.  One of the buildings was the old Strand Theater.  They took the area that once held buildings and turned it into a nice green space and renamed it Strand Park.  That's were Jazz Fest is held now.  It's only a couple of streets over from the original location, but it is a much, much nicer location!  The crowd can spread out more (but I think that the newer locale simple means more people go now, which is a good thing) and it is grassy, so you can kick you shoes off if you so desire.  A lot of people will take blankets to spread out--not something anyone would've done in the original parking lot location.  :)

We're about to head out to Chuck's Marina for the Lil' Calypso Art Fest in just a few minutes.  This is an event that features local/regional artists showcasing their original works.  Painters, jewelers, pottery, folk art...all the kinds of stuff I LOVE to browse through.  (I think I'll take my purse to this one so I'll have access to the debit card.  LOL)  This is something we've never been to, but I've always wanted to go.  We'd either be out of town or we'd forget about it.  Maybe I'll find something neat to take to the lake.  :)  I told John we could go out and browse then order a pizza for lunch and enjoy some music while we eat.  Sounds like a plan, doesn't it?

Shannon and Connie are hosting Jessi's baby shower tomorrow, so I'll be heading to Lineville after church.  John gets to sit this one out.  I'm sure he and the pups will nap most of the afternoon.  :)  They're pretty good at that.

We're about to head out for the afternoon, so that's it for now.  Have a GREAT day!

07 June 2011

Back to the real world

Beach Trip 2011 is over, and I'm back to the real world of doing laundry, washing dishes, and all that fun stuff.  :)  The beach trip was wonderful (as usual), but it was good to be back home to my chair, my bed, my pups, and especially my husband.  ;)  Now I've got a year to get ready for the next girls' trip.

I don't know if it is because I was go-go-go so much right at the end of the school year and then went almost straight to the beach, or if it is because I've not been taking my Lexapro, or if it's a combination of both, but my butt has been dragging the last couple of days.  When I got home Sunday, I crashed on the sofa for about an hour or so, and yesterday, other than laundry, I didn't do anything.  I've not been too very active this morning, either, but that's about to change.  I've got a few odd and end things I need to do, and then I need to shower.  John and I are gonna run to Auburn/Opelika this afternoon.  He wants to go to Academy to find some jigs, and I need to go to Target to get a shower gift for sweet Layton.  Shannon (Lance's sister) and Connie are hosting a shower for Jess on Sunday, and even though I've ordered her rocker/glider, I don't want to go to the shower empty handed.  :)

My plan was to go to the lake on Thursday and come home Sunday, but then I found out Connie and Shannon had planned the shower for Sunday.  I was still considering going to the lake, but John convinced me (and believe me, it wasn't too hard for him to do!) that I really needed to slow down for a few days.  If I did go to the lake, I would have to come home before going to Shannon's.  That would be doable, but I don't know that I want to do THAT much driving!  So, we're staying home this weekend.  The plan is to go to Jazz Fest in Alex City Friday night to see Wet Willie, and I want to go to the Lil Calypso Art Show at Chuck's Marina on Saturday.  I've always wanted to go, but I've either forgotten about it or we haven't been home.  It will still be a busy weekend, but it won't involve hours of driving.  :)

I guess that's about it for now.  Gotta get up and get busy.

Have a GREAT day!

04 June 2011

A precious story

Not long after I went to the beach this morning, I noticed an older man and woman at the edge of the water.  He was holding onto her arm, making sure she didn't fall.  They waded out into the surf with him carefully guiding her the whole time.  Once they got out about waist deep, she was floating on her back, but he was right there making sure the waves didn't wash over her.  When she was ready to come back to shore, he again guided her the whole way until they were close enough to shore that the waves wouldn't knock her down.  He walked up and spread out her towel before walking back to her.  I could tell that she was insistent that she was fine and he could go back out.  He did, and she made her way to the towel. 

A little later, I noticed that they were once again out in the water.  About that time I decided I needed to take a dip to cool off, so I waded out and found myself very near to them.  I overhead her talking to him and heard her call him "son" and when he replied to her, he called her "mother" and then it hit me.  This wasn't some couple; this was a mother and her son.  I turned and really looked at them and realized that yes, he was quite a bit younger than she.

A few minutes later I returned to my chair, but I continued to watch them.  The lump in my throat was huge.  I saw a man in his late 50s or early 60s, I'm sure, taking such wonderful care of his aging mother, and it reminded me of the children's story "Love You Forever."  I can so easily see this man picking up his mother and carrying her to her bed and tucking her in.

I think this memory is my favorite of this beach trip.  I'm glad I was able to witness this moment in the lives of this woman and her son who loves her so much.

Have a wonderful day!

03 June 2011

Beach trip, day 2

Yesterday was a perfect beach day.  It was hot, but heck, it's supposed to be hot at the beach, isn't it?  We headed down and got our chairs about 9:30 or 10.  I had my Kindle, my iPod, and my phone...oh, and my cooler.  Can't forget the cooler.  hahahaha

Linda and Connie came back up to the condo about noon, but I stayed until about 3.  Jeremy (my cousin) and Tats (he was a foreign exchange student from Japan at Oakman when Jeremy was in school) walked down, and we visited for about 45 minutes.

Last night we decided to go to King Neptune for dinner (steamed Royal Reds...oh my!!) and then we went to see Bridesmaids.  We laughed our butts off!!!!  (But somehow, mine found its way back overnight. **sigh**) 

The plan for today is more beach time, and then tonight we're going over to Pensacola to The Original Point for dinner.  Since I've had crab claws (The Hangout) and steamed Royal Reds, I think I'll do a grilled fish tonight. 

Gotta get ready to go bake.  Have a GREAT day!

Linda and Connie

Jeremy and me

Jeremy and Tats


02 June 2011


Connie, Linda, and I are in Gulf Shores for the Vest Girls' Beach Trip 2011!  Amy was going to come, but some things came up and she couldn't.  One of these days, we're ALL going to be able to make it! 

You can see from the picture that we aren't very high up, but that doesn't bother me at all.  There is a yellow flag flying, too. The waves are really breaking on the shore.  Again, that doesn't bother me.  I don't get out in the ocean like I used to.  As long as I can take a dip to cool off when it gets too hot, I'm fine. 

We got here yesterday about 4, unloaded, and then went to The Hangout to eat.  The food was GOOD, but dang, it was HOOOOOOTTTTTTTT!!!!!  For some unknown reason, the hostess seated us at the one table that was still in the sun.  WTH??  After dinner, we did our grocery shopping and then we just kicked back.  I called it an early night and slept like a baby.  :)

It's 9:00, so I'm about to go change and head out.  Don't want to waste this gorgeous day.  :)

Have a GREAT day!

28 May 2011

Another year down

I have 18 1/2 years in the book, and God willing, only 6 1/2 more to go.  However, with the way the economy is and the changes that have been made in our benefits, I may have to eat those "25 years and I'm OUTTA there" words.  At least in 6 1/2 more, I won't HAVE to go back if I absolutely don't want to.  And believe me, I could find plenty to give up in order to retire.
Before my 3rd block class left on Wednesday, one of my precious angels came up to me and gave me a big hug.  Brianna is truly one of the sweetest, most sincere young ladies I have ever known.  She always has a smile on her face and a kind word on her lips.  She looked at me with her big brown eyes, and I nearly lost it.  I told her NOT to make me cry.  (Of course, as I sit here typing this, I'm getting all teary eyed.)  Not all of my students evoke such emotions.  Some of them bring tears of joy to my eyes as they walk out of the room.  I know, I know...I shouldn't feel that way, but admit it, you've felt that way too about a co-worker, a neighbor, a family member (hahahaha).

Sadly, not all of my seniors graduated.  This frustrates me because the ones who didn't should have, but it's extremely hard to have a good grade when you are absent all the time or when you never put forth any effort in class.  I have two who did not walk across the field Friday night, and it isn't just because of failing English.  They both have failed one other class.  I had about five others who were in danger until the absolute last minute, but they completed the credit recovery course for the last term, and that gave them a high enough average for the semester.

One of the ones who did not graduate was waiting outside my room Thursday with her mother.  I saw them out there before the end of the testing period, so I sent Misty a text.  She went to let an administrator know, so Coach Goggans and Mr. Haynie came and told them they had to leave.  (Even with the student, they should not have been waiting outside the room.)  Mr. Reyes, Mr. Burton, and I met with them, and Mr. Reyes point blank said there was nothing that could be done.  This student was out at least one day EVERY week, and most weeks, she was out more than that.  She would be at school for an earlier class but would leave before mine.  She rarely turned in assignments.  When she was absent, she never asked about make up work -- until this week.  And then she wanted to make up everything she'd missed, simply because she finally realized the consequences.  Last night, about 9:30, I got an email from her mother saying how she hoped I was proud of myself for not taking 5 minutes to grade her daughter's research paper so she could graduate.  Well, um. the research paper alone wouldn't have given her a passing grade.  Mom should be proud of herself for making an effort to be concerned about her daughter's grades at 10:40 AM on graduation day.  Somehow, I managed to sleep about 8 hours last night.

I'm going to enjoy my summer.  Next week is the 3rd Annual Vest Girls' Beach Trip.  This year, attendees are Connie, Linda, Amy, and me.  So far, Connie and I are the only ones who have been able to go every year.  Hopefully we'll ALL get to go in the next couple of years or so.  Part of the problem is that we have an ADULTS ONLY/FEMALE ONLY rule.  It isn't that we don't love our little ones, but this is our chance to get away and to do what we want to do without having to plan around nap times, feeding times, etc.

The next week, Mom and I are doing our girls' night at Ross Bridge.  Maybe we can make this a yearly event, too.  I still have to call and schedule our pampering!  Other than doing that, we're going to just do whatever we want.  I suggested going to the new shopping outlet in Leeds, so that will probably be on the agenda.

The only other BIG event of the summer is Layton's arrival.  Right now, it looks like that will happen July 11th unless Jessi has something medical come up (praying that doesn't happen!) or unless she goes into labor earlier (praying that does happen...as long as no problems are the cause of it!)  We're so excited about meeting our little guy and getting to know him.  And spoil him and then leave him stinkin' rotten for his mommy and daddy to handle.  LOL

The rest of the summer I hope will be spent at the lake.  So far, that's gotten off to a great start.  hahaha

Have a GREAT Memorial Day weekend, and thank a soldier.

22 May 2011

Can I slam on my brakes?

Tomorrow will start the last week of this school year, and as much as I'm ready for summer vacation, I am so not ready for exams.  I normally give a mid-semester exam and an end-of-semester exam, but I just didn't get the mid-term exam in.  That means the exam will cover everything we've studied this semester.  Yikes!  That also means I have to write new exams for my 11th and my 12th grade classes.  Double yikes!  Oh, and I have to have them done by Wednesday.  Triple yikes!

Of my 52 seniors, two will definitely fail, and another 16 are in danger.  Of those 16, my best guess is that 3 or 4 of them won't make it.  Only 4 more grades will go in before they take their exams on Wednesday, and those grades are small...two 10-point quizzes and two 15-point quizzes.  Some of them are taking the 3rd term over in what is called Credit Recovery.  If they successfully complete that program, the 3rd term grade will be changed to a 70, so that will help most of them.  However, I don't know how many of them are actually taking CR or if they are completing the coursework successfully.  I'll send out an email to the senior counselor and Mr. Reyes tomorrow.

In other news, we went to a couples' shower for Jess and Lance last night.  Layton racked up!  Jess had a shower at work on Friday (I couldn't go...BOO!) and she said he got tons there, too.  I think there will be one more shower.  This kid is going to have so much stuff.  :) They may have to rent a PODS unit to keep all his stuff in.  hahahaha

We won't head to the lake this weekend until Saturday because of graduation Friday night.  I told John that he and the pups could go up Friday if they wanted to, but after telling him that, I realized it probably wouldn't be good for him to drive that far with the dogs and only one good arm.  He's doing super well, but he still has some difficulty with certain things.  And I could just see Ali or Bama jumping at something and causing him to move his arm in a way he doesn't need to just yet.  He will be off Monday, so we'll still have a good weekend.

Next Tuesday is our make-up professional development day, but I think I'll be taking a sick day.  I have almost twice the required number of PD hours, and I'll have all my grades in.  Next Wednesday Connie, Linda, Amy, and I will be heading to the beach for the 3rd Annual Vest Girls' Beach Trip.  I.  CANNOT.  WAIT!!!!  Then the next week, Mom and I have reservations at Ross Bridge.  We're gonna enjoy some one-on-one time and some pampering.  I.  CANNOT. WAIT!!!!!  So, the first part of June is shaping up to be quite busy, but that's okay.  I still see plenty of free days on my calendar for lake days.  :)

I guess that's about it for now.  The washer just went off, so I need to go toss that load in the dryer. 

Have a GREAT day!

I love my Crimson Tide!

I really, REALLY mean this...

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