Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Art on December 27

Better late than never! Here is my daughter's angel design, and then there is a another image I just liked from an interesting art site,

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stolen from someone else's blog...

"Remember, half the people you know are below average."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Never Saw That Before!

I went to the North Georgia mountains for Thanksgiving. Like the turkey, I was stuffed when it was over—full of food and unwanted advice, as usual.

I go up there twice a month, so the drive is a familiar one. I am frequently bored by the scenery, since I have been driving the same road since I was student teaching in 1977. Hubby doesn’t usually go with me, since my mother doesn’t like him much, but my daughters are often in the car, either asleep or with their ears full of music. If I do happen to see something unusual, they are incommunicado, so it is a good thing I have this blog now. I can share the rare and unusual sights I might see. A while back I noticed a huge metal sculpture of (a)a huge insect (b)a triceratops (C)a dragon. It stands before an antiques and folk art place on the right as we go out of Gainesville, and it is one such sight. What inspired a person to make this thing?

Once, a humongous praying mantis hit my windshield, and green guts reminiscent of guacamole covered the windshield. Naturally, if something so wonderfully gross occurred, both girls were asleep. I had to turn on the windshield wipers to clear the glass, and they missed it. That was before I got a phone with a camera, unfortunately.

Anyway, this time I noticed a house about halfway up the road to Dawsonville with seven or eight dead crows hanging on branches all around a big tree in the front yard. How weird is that? There’s a certain amount of deliberate and macabre action involved here. First, a person would have to kill the crows. Then, he or she would have to tie strings on their little black corpses, and then contrive a way to tie them at regular intervals on the branches of the big tree. Why?

On the way back home today, I watched for the dead crow house, and made my daughters look at this unusual yard art. I did this so I would have confirmation, since there are people who would believe I made up the whole thing. A little too admiringly, Older Daughter said, “It’s like a cult thing or something!” It was weird enough so that even I, usually an intrepid photographer, was unwilling to stop and take a picture. What if they looked out the window?

Thank goodness for Google! I found some info on the internet about this hanging up of crow cadavers. Apparently, in “the southern Appalachians,” some people hang up a dead crow to warn off other crows, literally a “scarecrow.” Whoever lives in the dead crow house needs to realize that seven or eight hanging symmetrically around the tree is surely OVERKILL.

Never mind that I grew up in “the southern Appalachians”… I never saw THAT before!

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and that sometime this week, you see something that you never saw before!

"A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it." - --John Steinbeck

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Dog Rambler

This is a picture of my dog Rambler. He was the dog I had from ages 10 to 23, approximately. He was supposed to be my brother's dog, but Rambler and I knew better. He smelled bad because he would not let us give him a bath--as soon as we soaped him up, he would run off to the river. His was a true and solid love. I still miss him.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
-- Mark Twain

Friday, November 14, 2008

Quote of the Week from the News

Open quoteHappy birthday, Charles, but long may the queen reign over us.Close quote

  • a British newspaper, on Prince Charles' 60th birthday; for many Britons, the prince remains second to 82-year-old Queen Elizabeth II
from Time magazine's Quote of the Day

Monday, November 10, 2008

Overheard at Our House This Evening

“Today I had to draw my dream house in Enrichment. I’ll show it to you.”

“What is wrong with this dog? Every other dog I’ve ever seen would have gobbled that down. He smells of it and looks at it like he can’t imagine eating such a thing. He’s a picky dog.”

“Oh, no. It’s a wrestling night.”

“What is that dog chewing on now?”

“I notice that the dogs have their own wings in your dream house. The dogs and your purple desk in the window are the only things the dream house has in common with your real house. Well, and the fields around the house…”

“If you fail algebra and lose your HOPE scholarship, you might not have enough tuition money for next semester…”

“I’m going to move in with my friend. And her boyfriend. And maybe another friend…”

“Can I get a middle school class ring?”

“No wonder this dog gets sick all the time. He keeps eating pieces of plastic!”

“I made a 100, a 70, and a 90 on my three tests in Ag. It was soil judging.”

“Ew! You sneezed right in my plate! Thanks a lot!”

“Did that dog chew up my flip-flop?”

“Why does Ray Mysterio wear a mask all the time?”

“Good night, Daddy, I love you. Good night, Mama, I love you.”

Younger Daughter's Dream House

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Quote of the Day; Words to Live By?

Friday, Oct. 31, 2008

Open quoteYou can be joyous; you cannot be a jackass.Close quote

  • Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, on celebrations for the World Series winning-Philadelphia Phillies
(From Time Magazine's Quotes of the Day:

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'd Vote for Either One of These Guys!

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Elementary School Education & Memory

song chart memes
more music charts

I love these graphs on Graphjam.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

C'mon--everyone needs fashion advice!

Well, I had lunch yesterday with some of my former colleagues! That was great fun. I listened to the standard high-school-English-teacher complaining about the crazy, lazy students. Our school didn't meet AYP because of our low graduation rate, so that is the current focus. I always felt that the problem was, the kids don't care whether they do all right or not. They don't do any work; the teachers and parents scramble around trying to figure out a way to manipulate them into doing some work; they don't pass; parents and administrators ask questions; the teacher must complete forms and explain why all of these kids are is an endless, nonproductive circle. When it's over, you have a "graduate" who doesn't know where to put a comma or who in the world Ernest Hemingway was. This is why I was so burned out by my twenty-fifth year.

Anyway, now I don't have to worry about it anymore, but my friends are still fighting the good fight. I get to go to lunch with them WEARING ONE EARRING, and, in honor of my crazy-old-ladyhood, no one told me I was wearing only one earring. Big old silver hoops, too--not easy to miss.

I betcha neither Sarah Palin nor Paris Hilton gets to go out with only one earring! This gets me to the point of my title: Everyone needs fashion advice! See:

Quote of the Day: Paris Hilton's Advice to Sarah Palin

"My advice to Sarah Palin is, you've got a hot bod; don't keep it to yourself. Why wear a pantsuit when you can wear a swimsuit? Welcome to the Lower 48, girlfriend."

--- Paris Hilton gives fashion advice to Republican V.P. nominee and Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, in the new issue of Harper's Bazaar

I'm thinking about sending Paris an email to see if she can help me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The VP Debate on SNL

I really don't know how much the comedians on television affect voters, but I do know that I LOVE it when they have such great inspiration as they have had lately. Everybody's probably seen this by now, but if not, here it is for you. I betcha you will enjoy it (wink).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ringtones, Alice, and Conway

The cell phones my husband recently chose for us were the ones with “The Network” (if I turned around and saw all those people following me around, I’d head for the hills). This means that all four of my immediate family members, as well as some other relatives and friends, are able to call and text me “free.” Modern technology is so wonderful! The next step for me was that I had to decide on ringtones for the people who call me frequently. This way, I can tell who is calling before I fall and trip on my way to get the phone I left on a distant piece of furniture, in the car, in my pocket yesterday, etc. Still, the act of choosing a ringtone required quite a bit of thought and character analysis. After all, why just choose any old song when one can choose just the right song that is descriptive or especially appropriate for the person? This is how I do things: I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to decide, and thought and thought and thought about it.

Hubby has always been a Conway Twitty fan, so I chose “Hello, Darlin’.” Most of the time this cell phone thing has not disturbed me too much, since I tend to leave the phone somewhere quite often and because, in my elderly state, I cannot deal with loud, sudden noises. The volume is always set fairly low. Still, when we were in the book store the other day, some old guy grinned at me when Conway began singing “Hello, Darlin’—Nice to see you. It’s been a long time…”from the depths of my purse.

Next, Older Daughter, who is easily my most frequent caller, was difficult to consider in terms of song lyrics. I finally chose Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman”; she and her friends, much to my surprise, did not really know this song. They do now; sometimes, when we are talking on the phone, I say, “But are you strong? Are you invincible?” She IS Woman—except when she needs money, somebody hurts her feelings, or she wants her laundry done for tomorrow. Hear her roar.

Younger daughter rings to Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” She does just “wanna” have fun, but she, at the age of eleven, is still much more solemn than I have ever been in my life. I can’t help it.

I thought about my other family members. My little brother (he’s 47) has always been quite a hairy lad. (Once a beauty shop worker was cutting his hair; she had to ask her boss where to stop cutting.) He doesn’t usually call on my cell, but I gave him a ringtone anyway. “Werewolves of London” has always been one of my favorite songs because I get to howl while singing it. (The women in my family are pretty hairy, too, but we won’t discuss that right now.)

My woolly brother’s wife has the happy name of “Joy.” I gave her, “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night, although she never calls me. Bless her heart—I have told her that I can’t help being related to my brother, but she CHOSE him. This information usually doesn’t help with whatever situation is going on.

My mama calls me once a week, usually, or I call her. She rings in to another Three Dog Night classic, “Mama Told Me (Not to Come).” She does usually try to tell me what to do, whether I want her to or not. I’d be amazed if she called me on my cell; she doesn’t really think they should be used unless one’s engine blows up or something.

The default ringtone for everyone else is “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper. That’s the theme song for my life right now. There’s been a miniature Alice Cooper in the back of my brain every May for the last five or six years, singing “School’s out for summer! School’s out forever!” Yep. It is.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bigfoot in North Georgia?

Okay, I would like to say something right now. I grew up in the North Georgia mountains, out in the woods. I played in the woods and wandered around picking huckleberries with two dogs and a cat for company. Let me tell you something—I am going to be very annoyed if there turns out to be a big old family of Bigfeet (well, what is the plural of Bigfoot?) up there, and I NEVER SAW A SINGLE ONE!!!!!!!! Just where were these beasties when I was out in the woods talking to myself and trying to keep our Scottish terrier Miss Peabody from eating the huckleberries right off the bushes? I do have to admit, though, that I am awfully nearsighted. That oak tree just might have been Harry, I guess.

Also, what is up with the DNA samples these guys supposedly took? POSSUM????? Now when I moved to my current residence in the kudzu wilderness between Ruraltown and Nowhereville, my husband and I were feeding our dogs Purina Dog Chow. We didn’t have any kids yet, and we were out to get that Hi Pro Glow or whatever. (Now that we are poor and have two kids, we switched to Ol’ Roy. I haven’t seen any possums eating it, but we have some fifty-pound blue jays out there. They love it.) One night I heard a noise out on the porch, and when I looked out there, I saw the biggest possum in the world. He was humongous. He definitely had that healthy Purina glow about him, all right. I bet he weighed at least thirty pounds, and he was chowing down. He very well might have been a first cousin or something of Bigfoot, now that I think about it.

I can’t wait to find out more about the discovery these two hunters made in North Georgia. I’d really like to know for sure. The next time I visit my mother up there, I’m going to walk around in the woods a little bit and just check things out, wearing my bifocals.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday Quotation

"Right now I'm having
amnesia and deja vu at
the same time. I think
I've forgotten this before."
by Steven Wright

Monday, August 11, 2008

Retirement To Do List

I have a group of friends called the Marigolds--we mostly go out to eat once a month, although once in a while we do something else. We don't wear hats of any particular color or do any good works as a group, but we do talk a lot. They are nurses and social workers, and they are great at their jobs, doing their good works at work. Not a one of them has a retirement plan, so they say they'll just have to work forever. I am not gifted in the area of finance, and I know perfectly well that I would have no retirement plan if the state didn't just automatically put public school teachers into the one we have. Left to my own devices, I'd probably be living in a cardboard box. Anyway, the Marigolds are astonished that one of their number just hangs around all day (they were astonished enough by the summer vacation teachers get every year). These ladies are making plans for me to come clean and cook at their houses, since obviously I have nothing else to do. (Most of them have never been to my abode, and so have little notion of how alien the idea of dusting is to me.) They gave me a pack of retirement cards and some other great stuff for retirement. The cards have jokes on them such as the "to do list" at the right.

I couldn't really see much difference in this list and my real list...I mean, what's funny about that?
You know, it's kind of like those redneck jokes by Jeff Foxworthy; the humor is a little too close to life as I know it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

For the English Department...

Today was the second day of preplanning for the teachers at my school. Yesterday I was on my way to pick up a new wireless router so Older Daughter could use her new laptop. Our journey took us by the high school—yep, there were all of their cars, poor things. Preplanning = hours of meetings and introductions + the fun of seeing everyone again after the summer + going out to lunch. How was that ethics video this year? Is the internet working for you? Has a mindless tech person said,”Opps, we know that the internet isn’t working! Don’t email ME about it!” yet?

Today, I met the English Department for lunch at Cracker Barrel. Here is what I have decided about retirement: it’s the same as summer vacation, except that it goes on and on! So I get the good stuff without the meetings and the mind-numbing inspirational speeches. Hooray!

These teachers watched videos about using more technology in their classes. There’s just a little irony in that. I guess the projector was working today, hmmm.

If I won the lottery, I would give the English Department and the Foreign Language Department (that’s you, J.), a bunch of my money. They wouldn’t have to steal the Gator from the Ag. Department; they could buy their own Gator! Also, they could get all the paper they want without having to beg or sing and dance, hire someone to make all the copies they need on their own copy machine, get ENOUGH books and DVD players, and afford, oh yeah, WINE WITH LUNCH!!!!! Plus fancy coffee for all! AND they could pay Patsy to cater lunch for them, too, if she wants to!

Well, I’ve never actually bought a lottery ticket. I don’t have any deeply moral misgivings about the lottery; I just don’t know how to do it. I need to keep learning new things, though. I’ll get right on it! (Y’all just hang on until I figure it out.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Sad Story about Poe and Roscoe...

Look at this picture closely. Yes, that is a bobblehead of Edgar Allan Poe! My daughter gave him to me for my birthday, and I kept him in my classroom for the last two years. I had to defend him from vandals from time to time, and explain once that "No, this is not a bobblehead of Hitler!" He was FINE when I packed up my stuff and retired. He is NOT fine now. His NOSE IS GONE!

Now, look at this second picture closely. This is Roscoe. He is mostly beagle, although he is somewhat long-legged for a beagle. He chews plastic clothes hangers, dog biscuits, our other dog, shoes, socks, people, baskets, etc. He was hanging around when I discovered Poe in the floor without a nose, but he looked innocent, just as he does in this picture. WHO, ME? He never looks as if he would dream of chewing up anything. Yeah, right. This innocent puppy-face has accomplished what 300 juniors and seniors going in and out of my classroom for two years could not--HE DEFINITELY TOUCHED THE BOBBLEHEAD!

I have another bobblehead, one of Shakespeare. I placed Will high on the bookcase, where he belongs. Roscoe will not get a chance to gnaw on the Bard!

Is this dog innocent? NEVERMORE!

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Great Quote

"I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming....suddenly you find--at the age of 50, say--that a whole new life has opened before you."

by Agatha Christie

(Isn't that a great quote? It's true, too.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Today I attended my daughter's college orientation with her. The college folks separated the parents and the kids, so we attended separate sessions. The gentleman in charge said that when the new students were given their orientation packets, the first thing they did was hand the packets to their parents to hold. There were smiles of recognition all around. Yep, they aren't all that independent, are they? I remembered proudly that MY child did not hand me hers, that in fact she was reluctant to let me look at it.

After the session was over, we were told to go to the student center and meet up with our children. It was quite a warm day, and I didn't realize I was going to be marching all over campus! Anyway, I took a wrong turn and ended up at the car. I decided it would be a good plan to drive to the student center, so that is what I did. I waited about half an hour, and finally, there she was. What was the first thing she did? (Well, after saying, "Where have you been?")

She handed me her packet of orientation materials. Yup.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Wordle of My Favorite Poems and Poets

Here's something fun:


I took my eighteen-year-old daughter to consult with an oral surgeon about having her four impacted wisdom teeth removed. He said that eighteen is the usual age for it, the "age of wisdom." He used "air quotes" on the phrase; afraid I think so, too. How come when you're eighteen you feel so wise, but other people don't think you are?

Is fifty-one years of age the age of wisdom?

Anyway, I remember getting my wisdom teeth removed. We had to drive about an hour and a half because my hometown was so far away from real civilization. Half the way home, my mother stopped to get me something to drink so I could take my pain medicine. My mouth was full of yuck, so I had to spit, much to her dismay. She was saying, "Don't spit here!" and I opened the door and spat all over the store parking lot. What else can you do? I guess she was worried about the people who would drive up next, but who cares?

Just think, I was at least 24 and had already begun teaching English, way past the age of wisdom.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Terrific Tuesday

Just three questions! Change the answers for you.
Who would you like to see on a new banknote (dollar bill, etc.)?
Virginia Woolf
If you were reincarnated as some other plant or animal, what would it be? One of my descendants' dogs
If you owned your own restaurant, what would you call it? "What's for Supper?"

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Election Year

In 1968, I had just turned 12, and my grandmother took me with her to vote. I'm not sure of her purposes--maybe she wanted me to see a woman voting, maybe she just had me along to carry the stuff she bought shopping, maybe she just wanted my company--but into the booth I went with her. There was a curtain, and of course the ballot was printed on a piece of paper. My grandmother was sure of herself. Her hand went straight to the Democrat side, and she marked "Hubert Humphrey" for president instead of "Richard Nixon" on the Republican side. She smiled at me and said, "Don't tell anyone."

This was my tiny, bustling grandmother, who wasn't quite five feet tall, and who made apple pies of such splendor that I still love apple pies of any sort today. She also had some giant Hershey bars hidden in her kitchen cabinet to sneak to chocolate lovers such as me. She had a great deal of energy, and she raised six children. She took care of my grandpa and the cat and any grandchildren who happened to visit. Her husband, my grandfather, was a staunch Republican. So was my father, her son, until late in his life.

Well, I never told anyone for many years. I have thought of it a few times, especially lately.

I really hate that Hillary didn't win the nomination.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Well, one thing I can do now is spend more time on the internet! I found this site: Very funny. I can't figure out how to copy one of the graphs onto this blog, bu I'm working on it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Finally, the last day...

Today was my last day!! An old friend who is a retired teacher came to help me finish cleaning out everything. I probably never would have gotten finished, otherwise. We went out to eat lunch instead of going to the official school cookout. Then, I went back to attend the county-wide reception for retirees. Well, here’s how that went.

First, teachers from the primary school and their principal went up. The principal talked a long time about the merits of these teachers. The teachers cried. Some other teachers in the audience spoke up about the merits of these teachers. Some more people cried. The elementary school principal then went up. Only one teacher was retiring from there. The principal and the teacher cried. You get the picture.

Next up, the middle school principal is a very tall man who, fortunately, did not cry. However, the retirees and some audience members did cry. Finally, it was time for the high school. By this time, I was getting very restless. Too much crying going on, speeches going on too long, etc. When my assistant principal went up, I said, “You aren’t going to cry, are you???” Then some stories were told about the time I wore my dress backwards to the stage on honors night. Then someone admitted to rolling my yard one night a long time ago, and thanked me for not letting my husband shoot her. Anyhow, NOBODY CRIED during my time. THANK GOODNESS. I received a nice glass apple with my name on the back and some money. I grabbed my daughter and hit the road. My family and I went to Target and out to eat, so I spent the money. I am now AT HOME. I have no big old pile of papers to grade and no lessons to plan. I might feel a little left out in the fall when school starts back, but right now I am feeling damn good! This calls for a happy dance!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A chocolate bar, a jug of wine, and thou...

Today was a long day. I finally managed to get my checkout sheet initialed by all the appropriate people. This, even though I was thrown out of the office because I was questioning why we needed to print out grades and absences from the first semester when the office people could get them from the computer. No one knew how to get PowerGrade to print out reports from the first semester with grades and absences on them. Our records clerk emailed them to everyone so we would have them. I said, "Let me be sure I understand this. I'm going back down to my room to print out something you already have?" The AP said, "She doesn't already have it." I said, "Well, if she emailed it to me a minute ago, she has it." They all laughed and said, "Just get out! Get out of the office, Mrs. About -to-Retire!" I went to lunch with people from my hall (that part was cool). My friend gave me a bottle of wine and a chocolate bar as a retirement gift! My friend who teaches Spanish wasn't at school, since her daughter was having a baby. My DD helped me throw out workbooks and such, then she got bored. I imagine it was a really long day for her. Age 11 is not an ideal age to spend hanging about in empty school rooms. She did work really hard.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

About today...

Today is the day my father passed away last year. This has been in the back of my mind all day. I have been having trouble with my emotions because I just always imagined he would be here when my older daughter graduated and that he would be here when I retired. He isn't here. I have a really difficult time talking about it, especially to my brother and my mother. He just isn't here. It was the worst thing I have ever experienced, I am far from over it, and here it is, a year later. We've gone through a father's day, his birthday, my younger daughter's and my birthday (it's on the same date), Christmas, New Year's, his and mama's anniversary, Valentine's Day, my brother's birthday, my mother's birthday, my niece's birthday, Easter, Mother's Day, and now, the year has come around again. Life does go on.

The picture is one of my favorites, when Daddy graduated from college when I was not-quite-two.

Because old ladies ROCK!

Today was a reception for my retirement. I have spent thirty years at this school. I freely admit that I am "burned out." Anyway, the social studies teacher who taught next door to me for 29 years came, and everyone still at the school came. They gave me a beautiful white rocking chair with my name on the back. When I got home, my daughter asked me why they gave me a rocking chair. I said, "Because I'm retiring...because old ladies rock!" Some people told stories, such as the never-to-be-forgotten time I wore my dress backwards to honors night (well, it had no buttons or zipper, and was a very simple design...except that it did have a pocket which I wore on my shoulder blade...) It was a very nice time. I didn't cry, but I did come close. I am just too relieved to be sad. The stress has been great these past few years.

I have a little more cleaning to do and some paperwork due. Thursday is a county-wide reception for the four people who are retiring. Tomorrow, something I greatly prefer, my comrades on my hall are taking me out to lunch. Almost done...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Almost the end: Time to color outside the lines!

Okay, so I did a terrible job of blogging about my experience during my last year at school! It just points out the main problem I had the whole time. I never could control the time school took out of my daily life.

I'm going to change my title to something else and just blog about my daily life as a RETIRED teacher. I have one day of postplanning and plus another day of reception to go, then I'll be done. Unlike most people I know, it has take me 46 years to finish school! I was only five when I started first grade, with a red sweater (well, surely I didn't wear a red sweater in August in Georgia, but I remember having it) and a book "satchel" with a humongous box of Crayola crayons in there. I was also terribly excited. Now, I'm 51, and I just might go get a big old box of Crayola crayons and COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES. I'm pretty excited.