30 January 2011

Family heirlooms

**Sorry about the quality of the pictures.  I did them very quickly with my phone.
Hull pottery -- Billie gave me the
center piece several years ago.

These lamps belonged to
Billie's Aunt Joyce.  She loved
Aunt Joyce just as much as
she loved her own mother.
The dressing table that went
with the bedroom suite.  It
belonged to Aunt Joyce, too.
The chest of drawers to the bedroom suite.

We made a quick trip to Hartselle this weekend to help get the rest of Billie's house done.  Quite a bit had already been done, but there were still things to box up for the Salvation Army and/or thrift store, and there was a ton that was to be hauled to the dump.  Poor Jay still has to go back Monday and finish taking a truck load.

John hadn't planned on getting anything.  He said there was really nothing we need, and other than upstairs, we don't have room for anything.  Connie had planned on getting the bedroom suite that Billie used, but she decided she didn't have room for it in her extra bedroom, so she was going to take just the bed.  John then said that if no one else wanted the dresser and chest of drawers, we would bring it here and put it upstairs.  They are antique pieces and he didn't want them to just be given away or sold to some random person.  It ended up that Connie didn't think she could make the bed fit, either, so Linda and Danny are taking it to the lake.  So all the pieces are still in the family, and who knows...someday, they may be "reunited."

Since Connie wasn't taking the bedroom suite, she decided not to take the lamps, either, so we said we'd bring them home too.  I'm going to use them in the living room.  I haven't quite decided exactly where their new "home" will be, yet, but I'm thinking about putting them on either end of the mantle.  I'll just have to get in there and play around to see where they belong. 

Like I said earlier, Billie had given me one of the Hull vases years ago.  I didn't even know the other two existed until about three years ago.  Of course, I never said anything about wanting them, too, but I was sure hoping I could get them.  (Being the in-law [even though Billie introduces me as her daughter], I didn't feel like it was my right to lay claim to something until Danny, Tim, or Connie said they didn't want it.)

It felt odd to be going through her belongings.  I've never gone through breaking up a home when the person was still living, but as much as we would love it, Billie will never be able to come home.  The only way it could happen would be to provide 24 hour care.  That costs a small fortune, and Billie doesn't have a small fortune.

There are still two outbuildings that need to be gone through.  Most of the stuff in them will probably end up going to the Salvation Army or to the dump.  John has said he would like to take the metal building to the lake to use for his tools and lawn equipment.  The problem will be getting it there.  :) 

On the way home yesterday, I began thinking about our house.  If something were to happen to John and me, would Katy and Jessi have the piles and piles and piles of stuff to go through?  I know there would be clothes, shoes...stuff like that, but will they shake their heads and wonder why Daddy and Trina kept this or that?  I know we have "stuff" but I really try not to save something just to save it.  (Of course, I don't have Alzheimer's either...) 

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

27 January 2011

Ruh Roh!!!

I love books. 

I don't remember when I really started reading.  Like drinking coffee, reading is something I remember doing forever.  Now, obviously, I was not a genius baby who was reading at 18 months old, but I do know that my mom read to me.  I guess the transition from her reading to me to my reading on my own was flawless.  :)

I do remember the first time I ever got to check a book out from the library.  It was The Pony Express, and it was from the Parrish library.  We had gone to visit Grannie's sister, and I guess her daughter was taking her kids to the library.  I remember wanting to go so badly, but Mom had said I couldn't.  I don't remember what got her to change her mind, but she did.  I didn't put the book down until I finished it.

As I got older, my love of reading and of books increased.  Oh, the times I got in trouble because I didn't do something Mom told me to do!  I would be so involved in my book that when she would tell me to get clothes off the line and fold them/wash dishes/clean my room/whatever I wouldn't hear her.  I would tell her okay, but I honestly never heard her.

In the summer, I can read several books a week, depending on how thick and intense they are and depending on what I have to do.  Light-hearted, easy books...a day.  A deep, thought-provoking book...a couple of days.  During the school year, I still read, but I don't get to read as much, so it might take me a week to finish a light-hearted, easy read, and longer on something thicker and deeper.  If I don't have a book to read, I feel lost.

Now I'm considering buying a Kindle.  The only problem is that I'm a book "purist."  I want to HOLD a book in my hands.  I want to TURN the pages.  I love the SMELL of a book.  A Kindle just won't be the same.  BUT I can see the benefit.  I can download LOTS of books, which means I can always have something on hand to read.  They will be electronic, so that means I won't have stacks of books lying around waiting to be read or shared. The e-books cost LESS than a paper and ink book, which means I can save John some money.  :)

Kindle has an app for BlackBerry, so I downloaded it, and I've purchased my first book on it.  I bought The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, the third book in the The Girl Who trilogy by Steig Larrson. I've been waiting on this one to go into paperback, but I really want to go ahead and read it while the others are still "fresh" on my mind.  Since it was only $9.99 at amazon.com, I decided to go for it.  I haven't really gotten into it yet, but what I have read hasn't been too bad on the eyes.  I thought the font might be too small on my BlackBerry, but it really isn't.

If I do decide I can learn to love using an e-reader, I just have to decide if I want to drop the money on one.  Almost $200 is a little more than I would want to spend.  (I would want the 3G + WiFi.)  Decisions, decisions!  I'm sure I'll make one before summer gets here. 

If you have any input, I would really appreciate it!

Now, I'm gonna go start reading.  Have a GREAT day!

26 January 2011


I've started taking a yoga class.

So far, I am loving it!  Of course, today was only the second class, so it's still early, but I honestly felt like I could tell a difference from Monday.  I'm still not getting into the poses perfectly the first time, and I still don't have enough strength to hold them for an extended length of time, but I felt more comfortable with what I'm doing.

The classes are at the school, right after school, so I don't have any excuse for not going.  Our teacher, Whitney, is a former BRHS student.  She's been doing yoga since her sophomore year in college, but a couple of years ago she decided to "dive head first" (her words) into her practice and started teaching.  Emily (one of the science teachers) asked her about doing classes at the school if there was enough interest.  We've had only five people for each of the classes, but several others are planning on starting next week. 

I'll admit that I was hesitant.  I've never done anything yoga related before, and my knowledge of it was practically nil.  Anytime I've ever thought about yoga, I've thought about those people who sit around Indian style (ooops...so not PC) and go "oooohhhhhmmmmm."  You know...those hippie people from the 70s who were trying to get in touch with themselves.  LOL  Over the last few years, I've had friends who have done yoga and have talked about it.  I still didn't know much, but I did learn that there is more to it that sitting around Ind...I mean "criss cross applesauce" and chanting.  BUT I still didn't know jack squat about it.  And I still don't.  Much to my dismay, two classes does not an expert make.  hahahahaha

After class Monday, I came home and got nice and comfy on the couch so I could get some school work done.  An hour or so later I stood up.  Ow!  I could really tell that I had done something.  My legs, my shoulders, and my abs were sore.  Yesterday wasn't much better, but today was.  Until now.  Hopefully, I'll begin to tone up some.  :)

So that's it for today!  I hope you have a GREAT day!

23 January 2011

Stuff, just random stuff

The new semester has gotten started, and so far, so good!  I have three preps this semester which is a lot, but I didn't have to take one of them.  I was already going to have one class of English 11 and the rest were English 12, but we needed another remediation class for the language arts part of the graduation exam.  Because of some changes last semester, Misty was only scheduled for two classes this semester, so Mr. Reyes asked her about teaching the remediation class.  She told him she would but she offered to let me take it if I wanted to so that I could cut down on the number of research papers to grade this spring.  I jumped on it!  My last block class was only going to have about 16 students, but having 16 fewer papers to grade was enough for me to take the remediation!

My English 11 class only has 18 students, and I am LOVING them!  I think they might end up being my favorite class, personality wise.  My English 12 classes have 28 and 29 in them.  I am enjoying them, too, but they haven't shown a real personality yet.  My remediation class has 11 students, and I am having a great time with them, too.  I am TERRIFIED though because the AHSGE exam will be giving Feb. 28-Mar. 4.  I really hope to get these kids skills up by then!  I feel more responsibility with them than I do my English classes.  I have 16 more weeks to cover everything that needs to be done in English, but if these kids don't get it by Feb. 28, those who are seniors won't graduate.  Wow!  Maybe doing those extra 16 research papers wouldn't have been so bad.  :)

I have an intern this semester, too!  So far, so good there, too!  She started doing the bell ringers and taking attendance last week.  The kids are beginning to respond to her, and she seems to be feeling comfortable with making decisions.  This week, she will watch me teach the second part of Beowulf to our 3rd block class, and then she will teach it to our 4th block class.  And then next week, she's going to take both English 12 classes and do the Iliad.  It feels kind of weird to sit at the back table and watch.

We have a former student who is a yoga instructor who is starting classes at the school tomorrow.  I'm going to give it a shot!  My energy level is at rock bottom, so I hope that this will be something that will give me a boost.  I know I need to exercise and lose some of this weight.  Since this is AT the school, right AFTER school, and other TEACHERS will be there, I won't have an excuse for not going.  John and I went to Opelika today so I could get a mat and blocks.  Since I invested $$$, I will be more likely to stick with it.  I did buy a couple of pairs of yoga pants and a couple tops, too.  Even if I didn't stick with the classes, I will wear the pants and tops.  The Wellness Center at the hospital here in Dadeville offers zumba classes.  I want to do those, too.  I think they are Tuesdays and Thursdays, so if I did that PLUS yoga on Mondays and Wednesdays, I should begin to see a difference.

Jess is still having some pregnancy sickness, but we're hoping she is finished with hospital stays until July.  :)  If she can keep her sodium and potassium levels up, she can handle the nausea with meds at home.  Her home health nurse worked it out so that she can take her supplies home with her and only go see the nurse when supplies are getting low.  Her insurance will cover home health in the tri-county area only, and Chambers Co. is not in the tri-county area, so it was great that they are able to work it out for her.  We should find out if our little Peanut is a he-nut or a she-nut in the next two or three weeks...I think!  I keep trying to make her a week farther along than she really is.  :)

We've had plenty of cold weather, and I'm ready to tell it good-bye!  I am not a cold-weather person at all!  I love summer and everything that goes along with it, and it can't get here soon enough.  If I were in control of our weather, it would stay between 70-95 year round.  I would keep night temps in the lower to mid-60s.  Or maybe I should convince John we just need to move to a nice tropical isle.  Hmmm...nah.  That would be too far from my family and friends! 

My friend Mary is getting a sweet baby rattie!  Nichole sent me a FB message saying they had 9 new babies who needed homes.  The momma had to have a c-section, and they really needed to sell the babies to pay the vet bill.  I knew Bill had been wanting a pup, so I mentioned it to Mary.  They went to look and bought Claire. She is too stinkin' cute!  AND she is Ali's niece!!  I told Mary that I would love to plan a play date for the girls.  Bama is too set in his ways to play with a baby.  Ali will be okay if it's just her, but she usually takes big brother's lead. 

I'm going to be taking an online class this spring.  Amy is taking the same one, too, so maybe she and I can bounce ideas off one another.  It's on designing a virtual field trip.  Karen assures me that it won't be too difficult and that I'll enjoy it.  The best thing is that by taking this one class, I will have all of my PD hours and then some.  Actually, the best thing is that it's FREE!  But I am scared that I'll do a crappy job.  I haven't taken a formal class in 15 years!  Sheesh!  I honestly didn't realize it had been that long since I finished my master's. 

I guess that's about it for my random stuff.  I hope it isn't as long before I post again.  For the last two weeks, I've been coming in and crashing.  I haven't even read anybody else's blogs!  I've got to get on that!

Have a GREAT day!

10 January 2011

Weather day!

On Friday before we left school, Mr. Reyes announced that we should watch the weather over the weekend.  While the plans were that school WOULD be in session, the possibility of a cancellation was there.  On Saturday, John and I went to Opelika so I could get stuff to do a WELCOME box for my intern.  I had on a light-weight long-sleeve knit top and a short-sleeve sweater, and while it was cool, I wasn't miserably uncomfortable.  Cue Sunday...

I got up to let the pups out fairly early, and it was COOOLLLDDD!  And it stayed cold all day long!  About 1:00 or so, John decided to get some stuff together and head on to the hospital because he was afraid he wouldn't be able to make it if he waited until this morning.  (Even though I missed him last night, it was a good thing he did because the bridge at the dam was completely covered with ice early this morning.)  After he left, the pups and I settled in and kept warm.  And prayed that the power didn't go off.

When I woke up this morning, I was hoping we would have some snow, but we didn't.  We did have ice, so closing schools was a good thing.  The pups and I settled in again and have stayed warm.  I got a couple of packs of homemade soup out of the freezer and have it simmering.  I love the smell of soup on a cold winter day!  I thought it would be nice to have something warm and filling for John when he gets home.  I hope he does get to come home tonight!  He should...most roads have opened and temps have gone above freezing.

As far as I know, we will have school tomorrow.  The radar doesn't show any more precipitation coming this way, so we should be good to go.  I hope so anyway since we don't have any weather days built in.  grrrrr!!!

I just heard the washer buzz, so I better take care of that.  Have a GREAT day and STAY WARM!

08 January 2011

Praying so very hard

My mom was born and grew up on "the hill."  At some point, Grannie and Granddaddy built a house on the highway, only about a mile away, and that's were we lived from the time I was born in 1966 until Mom and I joined Dad in Virginia in 1969.  My great-grandmother lived in the old homeplace until she died around 1971 (maybe '72??) so I have some vague memories of times spent there.  I can close my eyes and still see the inside of Grandmother's house.

When I was 11 or 12, Mom and Dad built their house on the hill just a stone's throw away from where Mom was born.  Our house was up on a small hill, and the house just down the hill belonged to Jo and Ed Stover.  Jo and Ed had three daughters:  Donna, who was a couple of years older than I was; Debbie, who is my age; and Stacy, who is about 6 years younger than I am.  Debbie and I had known each other and been friends for years.  Being from a small town and attending a small school, it would have been hard NOT to know her.

Once we moved to the hill, Debbie and I began hanging around each other more often.  Before long, we became best friends and were inseparable.  We spent so much time going between each other's houses that we wore a path between the two.  It was nothing for me to get home from school and call her.  This was after having spent most of the day in classes together and spending another couple of hours together at band practice.  Like all best friends, we swore life-long allegiance to one another, but like many best friends, we each went our different ways and eventually lost touch. 

Funny story...the summer between our 8th and 9th grade years, Mom had a hysterectomy.  Even though Dad was home at night, I spent every night that she was in the hospital at Debbie's.  Ed was fussing one day about the house not being cleaned up.  As he was fussing, he made a comment that went something like this:  "There are five women who live in this house."  I stopped for a minute and counted.  1) Jo.  2) Donna.  3) Debbie.  4) Stacy.  5)???  Ohhhhh....he is counting me, too!  LOL

After high school, I moved to Tuscaloosa to attend the university, and she stayed home to attend the local junior college.  We still hung out when I came home on weekends, but once I began dating Tony (big mistake!) I didn't go home as much, and we began growing apart.  She married and moved to Columbus, MS.  (Her husband was in the Air Force.)  That wasn't very far from Tuscaloosa, so I went to visit for a weekend, and then they ended up in Germany for a while.  Once they were sent overseas, our communications became even more infrequent.  Even after they returned Stateside, we didn't pick up where we left off.

In October of 2009, I got a friend request from her on Facebook.  Immediately, I accepted!  And since that time, we've been rebuilding our friendship.  She had moved to Bradenton, FL, so we still haven't seen each other in years, but we have been in touch through FB and through text.  We've talked about getting together when she comes home, but she's like me...she doesn't get "home" as much anymore, and when she has, it was at times when I couldn't go myself.  I've even tossed around the idea of going to Florida for a weekend, but I've never acted on those thoughts.

The day after Christmas, she posted a picture of her and a very handsome man on Facebook.  (She and Charlie had divorced many years ago.)  I commented that she looked happy, and her mom commented back, saying she was very happy.  That made me happy!  On Wednesday after Christmas, I sent her a text telling her I wanted DETAILS about this handsome guy she was pictured with as soon as she had time..  It was in the middle of the day, so I knew she may be at work and not have time to give me all the details. She sent a text right back saying she would fill me in later.  The next day, I realized I hadn't heard from her, but again it was the middle of the day, and we were on our way to the lake, so I decided I'd not bother her.

Thursday night John and I were sitting at Danny and Linda's watching football when I checked my phone.  I had a missed call, so I checked it.  (Took forever to find the right spot so I could get in to my voice mail.)  It was Mom saying that Debbie had taken an overdose and was in the hospital.  It didn't look good.  Since it was nearly 10 PM, I decided not to call Mom back.  I had the hardest time sleeping that night.  Ali and Bama walking all night long (they were uncomfortable since this was the first time we'd stayed at D & L's new house), not being able to breath from my cold, and being worried about Debbie made for a really long night.

As soon as I got up the next morning, I called Mom to find out more.  She really had no details at that time, but she promised to call whenever she knew something.  When she called back later, she had talked to Debbie's aunt, who had talked to her dad, and the news then was that her condition was not insurmountable, but it was going to be a long road back.  She again promised to call if she heard anything else.  Fortunately, she never called back, and I am one of those who believes no news is good news!

Stacy began posting updates on Facebook, so several times during the day, I was checking for ANY news.  (Stacy is now texting me the many of the updates she puts on Facebook, so I'm getting them right away.)  Every single update has had positive news!  Even though her progress has been slow, it has been progress, and that is what we all want to hear!  I would love for her to make huge steps toward recovery, but baby steps are just as good, especially since doctors are now saying they expect a full recovery!  Praise can be given only to God!  He is showing his power through the doctors and caregivers!

Debbie came off the vent yesterday, and was still breathing on her own today.  She was following their voices with her eyes and her head, but she was not responding to any commands.  While that frightens me, I am also keeping in mind that she has been under fairly heavy sedation for over a week now, and when she was taken in, they weren't positive.  Stacy said she was responding to pain by wincing as the sitter was combing through her hair with dry shampoo.  (Doctors wanted a sitter with her to watch for any problems.)

I decided today that I would check on a plane ticket to Sarasota.  Now that she is coming around, I thought I could fly down for a quick visit (as long as her doctors and her family felt it would be okay.)  Boy!  I knew airfare wasn't cheap, but I wasn't expecting almost $400.  Unfortunately, I can't swing that right now, so that plan will have to be nixed.  I did go by Hallmark to get some cards to send her.  I need to put one in the mail.  I'm also going to go through my high school pictures to find some of us together to copy and send to her.

I'll be the first to admit that my prayer life has not been what it should be, but since Dec. 30, 2010, I have prayed more and harder than I have in a long time.  I know that God is answering those prayers, too.  Every time I see an update, I send God a thank you, and I ask that He continue to heal her.  And I know that if it is His will, she will make a full recovery with no adverse side effects!  Nothing is too big for MY GOD!

And with that, I leave you!  Have a GREAT day, and try to stay warm with this winter storm that is being forecast!

07 January 2011

I am so not ready!

Today was a professional development/work day.  It seems strange that we just got back from Christmas break and the kids already get a day out, but the semester didn't end until yesterday.  For grades K-8, it isn't a big deal because they have the same students all year, but at the high school we're on a block schedule, so we will get a brand new group of kids Monday.  Last year, our PD/work day was the Monday after Christmas break, but that didn't help us at the high school at all.  Sure we could make copies and do all that stuff, but it sure made it hectic to not have a day in between the two semesters.

The grading program we have is called iNow (Information Now), but it gets called iNot or iNever (or other things that aren't blog friendly) more often than it gets called iNow.  This is the second year the state has used this program, and I HATE it.  I'm glad we weren't one of the systems that piloted it last year.  Two years into the system, and they still don't have all the bugs worked out.  We run into glitches on a regular basis, and today was no exception.  The old program we used, called STI, had it problems, but I would take it over iNow any day!

Once I finally got my grades entered and printed out my gradebook and verification sheets and turned them in, Kristen and I went to grab a bite for lunch, and then I came back and made copies.  I think I have everything copied, but if I don't, I don't think it is anything that I couldn't get done Monday morning.  The one thing I did that made me growl was to forget to print one handout front and back, so now I have to staple them.  grrrrrr!!!

My room is a total wreck, and THAT makes me nuts.  I finally just left work about 4:30, but I'm thinking about going to the school for a couple of hours Sunday afternoon to get it in shape.  (And to staple those pages!)  IF there isn't wintry precipitation that keeps me stuck at the house...

I'm going to have an intern this semester!  I'm really excited, but I'm nervous, too.  I haven't had an intern since I've been back in the general ed classroom, and I am TERRIFIED of doing a horrible job!  I'm going tomorrow to get some "teacher stuff" and put together a goodie basket for her.  It certainly isn't that I mind her using my stuff, but I just want to do something to welcome her.  And besides, many college students don't have the extra money to go out and buy staplers, scissors, pens, notepads, Post-It notes...Plus, it will be fun to get stuff for her!

I guess that's it for today.  Have a GREAT day!

02 January 2011


My great-niece Maggie is the cutest kid--BLOND hair, big blue eyes, the sweetest smile.  And she is an absolute riot.

John and I spent the weekend with Danny, Linda, Amy, Allen, Will, and Maggie at the lake.  (Allen didn't get to come out until yesterday.)  Amy made a huge pot of taco soup for dinner Friday night (yummm!!!)  We were sitting at the table when Maggie turns around, looks at Will, and says, "Gobnut."  John and I nearly fell out of our seats laughing.  She kept us laughing the entire weekend, too.  She is always coming up with something funny.  I think Gobnut is going to be my new favorite pet name for people who irritate me.  It will be replacing Goober.  I think Gobnut is much cuter.  LOL

John and I went to the lake on Thursday.  He had planned on doing a few things at our place, but he didn't get much done.  Friday was a really nice day, but it ended up storming Friday night and Saturday was cold and icky.  It rained so much that the lake has come up about 5 feet since we got there.

We watched the Alabama-Michigan State game Saturday.  What a great game!  It was a fantastic way for our seniors to end their careers. Our underclassmen were able to get some playing time, so that's good for next year.  Now we're in a waiting game to see which of the juniors stay and which ones go.  And then we get to start gearing up for signing day.

I am so dreading the early alarm tomorrow, but I am looking forward to seeing my students again.  At least I'll have them for the next four days before I have to break in a new group.  I'll have an intern starting the 10th.  This will be the first intern I've had since I've been in the general education setting, so I'm excited!

Since tomorrow will be an early day, I'm going to say goodnight.  Hope you have a GREAT week!

I love my Crimson Tide!

I really, REALLY mean this...

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