Monday, June 30, 2008

Another adventure!

WOW! I am just all over the place! Today, I went to Opryland.

First, pulled in to park....$16. YAY! Signs of things to come. So, I meet my former co-worker and she hadn't seen me in a couple of months. It's always nice to see the expression on people's faces when they haven't seen me in a little while, and I've lost weight, look rested, and I am smiling.

Then, when we went in, she advised that we find somewhere else to eat, since where we were going to eat was pretty pricey. Oh, the irony of this part of the trip (you'll learn why after the pretty pics). So, we start walking around and around and around. It was pretty inside of the hotel complex.

About 40 minutes later, we ended up back at the pricey restaurant with me offering to treat. I hadn't eaten since breakfast and my legs were hurting a bit. I was good, folks. I had a salad and a few shrimp hushpuppies , and....lots of non-alcoholic, non-carbonated beverages. I was stuffed and then we parted ways after a really nice, long conversation and her working on me to stay in the South. (We'll see about that, maybe....maybe not.)

The fun doesn't end there, though. I went east on 40 rather than west. No biggie, just find the next exit and turn around...BUT....of course there is a tractor trailer accident. I got off of 40 to go the right way. However, I had to go through the airport to do it. (Btw., while I'm here, if you need someone to pick you up, I now know how to navigate the airport.) relaxing day was a day of going in circles. It's all good, though. I have nowhere to be and no one expecting me to be anywhere. Always a good thing.

Tomorrow, I think I'll just tackle the wash and scanning the Sunday paper I bought.

I'm going to go vege. The sweet tea has me zonked.

I'm liking it here. But there is this sign that is huge and at night it is lit up all big and blue. It shines in the windows, and even through the slits in the blinds, I can see it. Yeah.

I'm sure I have some grammar errors in all of that, but I'm too tired to care. Seriously, what was in that sweet tea? Geesh. I have nothing planned until the 15th, so I should be all geared up and rested. HA!

If that didn't entertain you enough (bwahahaha), HERE are this week's caption contest winners.

I don't even know what to title this. . .

Ummm....I got sucked in to public access. I thought L.A. was wacky. Uh, I need to process this a bit.

Final "Official" Weigh In

Six months ago, I accepted the challenge to lose weight. I had been trying really hard, but the push of competition made me try a little harder. The best part of this has been that it has forced me to really think about what I eat, the caloric intake, and why I eat more than just for nutritional reasons.

I've picked up some new good habits:
1. When I'm out to eat, I don't feel the guilt to lick my plate clean.
2. I've proved to myself that I can set a goal, persevere, and reach that goal.
3. I'm learning to not totally hate myself. (If people don't want to know me because of my weight, who has the bigger problem?)
4. I'm regaining some of my spunk and desire to "live."

O.k., the final weigh-in: I've lost two more pounds since Saturday. That gives me a grand total of 32 for the past six months. Now, that a lot of my stress is set aside for a couple of months, I hope to take the weight-loss up a few notches (in a healthy way).

I have a little exercise room here, and I plan to use it, especially the weights. I have Zumba, can walk a good bit now, and I have a pilates abs thing.

I'm feeling so much better, and that is the best part of this. Really.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

MORE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOW! My experiences here in Nashville just keep getting better and better! (Caveat: This is random and lacks any real order--I'm a giddy mess.)

Tonight, I went to see Mike Farris. He's a blues artist with a somewhat dark past that handed his life over to God. Currently he still plays blues and music with a gospel focus. To say what it is like to see him perform in person in one word: AMAZING! Funny thing is that a lot of what when on tonight had to do with redemption and restoration, a theme of a lot of my focus lately. It is neat when things like that happen.

I don't think he always plays with a band, but tonight he did. I recognized some of the them from a television show he did not so long ago for the Gospel Music Channel. (I think you'll find most of them in this video.)

"Precious Lord Take My Hand"
Mike Farris

UPDATE!!!!! SOMEONE POSTED THIS FROM LAST NIGHT!!!! This is a song that makes me become a blubbering mess every time I listen to the CD. (Sam Cooke cover)

While I was sitting there, I couldn't help but think that this is some of the best music I've seen and that I was/am so grateful that I have the opportunity to come down here and see it.

Music has always been something that has helped me through a lot of things and if I had the guts (and more talent), I would have been one of the fools running around the stage.

It was truly an evening that met some spiritual needs as well as the need to enjoy some really good toe-tappin', hand clappin' music.


The club, Station Inn, was really small, which made this an even more awesome event. I forgot what it was like to sit in a small club on a warm summer evening...sauna! I wouldn't have wanted it any other way, either. See that bright light in the picture? It was an exposed light bulb hooked to a really long string. A guy off to my left pulled that really string so that the light went out when the band began to play.

I'm gonna take my giddy butt to bed, now. Anyone ever tells you music is useless, frivolous, or not inspiring is insanely wrong. There was dancing, foot-stomping, clapping, old-fashioned testifyin', and the most amazing soul-lifting environment that I have experienced in a really long time.

I would have stayed for the bluegrass jam afterward, but I've got more fun in store for tomorrow! Wooo hoooo! (Yeah, JT is gonna cuss at me for not staying for that, isn't he?)

Sunday Song

God makes all things beautiful and new

Revelation 21:5
He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

While this verse has more to do with Christ's promise about what will happen after His return, it is also a promise in general. God restores our dreams, broken hearts, our health, our bodies, and whatever we ask of Him. He is able, and as the verse says, He is trustworthy.

When we reach out in love and forgiveness and allow God to work in situations and restore what we thought was once lost (whether it be hope, relationships, etc...or all of the above), He shows us His nature and gives us reason to keep trusting.

I heard this song on the television the day I arrived in Nashville. I found it very moving and stirring. I hope it grips your heart like it did mine.

"Moving Forward"
Ricardo Sanchez

Psalm 62:5-8
5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.

6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Weighin' in

Since we last "met," I was in the swirl of the stress bucket known as the end of the school year. When I am stressed, my thyroid goes a little nuts and it causes me to retain fluid. Not pretty, but it is something I am learning to navigate. So, those three weeks where I gained three pounds and then lost nothing were actually an encouragement to me. You see, I knew I was still eating really well for the most part, and that under the cosmetic puffiness (to use a nice term), I knew I was losing weight. Call it a little faith in myself for once--something I haven't had in a long time. Since last Friday, I've lost 11 pounds. I think that is a direct reflection of what stress does to me. Since January, I've lost the nice round number of 30 pounds.

I'm going to trust you all with a little secret. I'm going to show you some before and after pictures. I had emailed them to some folks, but I'm feeling brave for once. Some of you may know what it is like to get the "stares" of disgust or to be treated like you don't exist. I'm trying to get over that, so I'll post them.

This is me at my heaviest in Sept. '06. Reactions to medication and an unstable thyroid in addition to eating crud got me to that point. I even had to cut my hair because of what the medication was doing to it. One of the not-so-fun things about my job? The yearly picture. I cried when I saw this the first time; then, I just started praying for change.

So, that school year I tried to lose weight. However, I didn't really start losing the weight in a more consistent way until after this picture was taken. This is Sept. '07.

When the weight-loss challenge was made from Ssssteve to Wyatt, I quietly hoped I'd be asked to join in. I needed some people in the same boat as me. I'd been having a hard time with some stuff and my home life isn't the best, so losing weight was something I was beginning to think I would not be able to do; it was just one more thing to deal with. Sometimes dealing with the weight is easier to ignore, especially since I'm an emotional and stress eater.

So, when I was asked if I wanted to join the challenge, I decided that it was time to not only work on just losing the weight, but that it was also time to work on the psychology behind my weight--why I eat, and the impact of specific foods on my body. I'm getting better at both. So, here is where I am at the moment. I took these with my cell phone Wednesday night before the concert.

Now, while I probably won't look 16 again, this is my general goal. Hopefully, this time next year or (more realistically) Christmas '09, I'll have met my goal. I would consider that a major blessing and answer to prayer.

I will post about this one last time Monday. However, I will post monthly progress in my side bar until I reach my goal.

Friday, June 27, 2008


So, I've got this nice little view in an urban area, right? Since I decided to vege out today and just watch the tube, I've seen lots of news. Guess what is all over the news? It seems THIS dam has issues. "Oh, there is no immediate threat." However, you know the it until people are good and skeerd. People like me, not from here, who know how to swim, but NOT IN A FREAKIN' RUSH OF RIVER WATER THAT COULD PUT A LOT OF DOWNTOWN NASHVILLE UNDER WATER!!!!!!!!!


Anyone got a flotation device? (*I purposely chose this station's online report because of the poor spelling and whatnot.)

Think about your vote

Ssssteve at First with Flair and InsoluBlog have made good points about our upcoming elections. Not only should we think very carefully about the presidential election, but also our local and state elections.

Our "things will always work out" attitudes are allowing for the erosion of our real freedoms. If we aren't careful, we could do ourselves real harm.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Caption Contest

I think THIS SONG might be this young lady's favorite! Other than that, this picture has me speechless. So, that means you have to come up with a caption. I'll post winners Monday evening.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

THE WINNERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4. Wyatt Earp: "Where's the celery? WHERE'S THE CELERY?!!!"

3. Insolublog: Make way for Twinky Winky.

2. Rogue: "Candy Machine Bad...Bulk Smash Puny Machine"

This week's winner is. . .

1. Dennis: GET IN MAH BELLY!

Other caption contests:

Here's one for y'all

Awesome concert!

*This post is really long and has lots of pictures. I think it is worth it, though. Enjoy!

I went to see Merle Haggard last night at the Ryman Auditorium. I was impressed and highly entertained. (I also arrived early enough to take in some of the history and country music artifacts from the likes of Hank, Sr. and such.)

When I took my seat (only 13 rows from the stage, center), I sat and thought about all of the history of the Ryman. I'm not a country music scholar by any means, nor do I pretend to be. However, I do know a little. As I sat, I wondered about what it must have been like to see Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Johnny Cash play on that stage-along with so many others. I thought about all the people who have sat in the audience dreaming of their turn to take that stage.

In my limited drives around town the past couple of days, I wonder how many of the lost folks I see wandering around had those dreams and gave them over to despair and discouragement when those dreams didn't come true. But enough about my thoughts, you want to hear about the show.

First on the stage was an "unknown" who admitted that knowing the guy in charge of the monitors (roommate and songwriting partner) helped. He had really nice songs, but I couldn't help think how many were sitting in the audience that are just as talented, if not more, and were going unnoticed. I know of at least one person who would have done that stage justice, but goes largely ignored. The guy on the stage said that fact was not lost on him, either. He was truly grateful for the opportunity. It must be hard to be a musician and watch other people get the breaks.

Next up were a couple of guys from North Carolina playing with Haggard's band (they worked really hard the entire evening). They were colorful. They played a few cover songs, and very well. Sometimes watching people do cover songs can be painful. These guys were great and people I assume are relatives were in the audience. Before the show, they came out (in their outfits) to say hi (excuse me; in the South it is "hey"). I noticed at one point before the festivities began that the older woman they had greeted was knitting or crocheting or something. Yep. I thought that was pretty funny and cool at the same time.

There were four opening acts. The next one was Noel Lee Haggard. He was really good. In fact, he has a new CD coming out, and I am thinking of buying it. The young man sitting to the left is Merle Haggard's other son (Danny?). It was neat to see Merle Haggard and his son playing together and seeing dad's pride in his son's ability.

The last opening act was a guy who played with Haggard's band (the Strangers?). He, too, did cover tunes. What was nice about hearing some cover tunes was that I was familiar enough with the artists being covered and some of the songs that I didn't feel lost. He did George Jones and Waylon Jennings. WOW! I cannot tell you how much fun I was having at this point. While it really sucked to be alone and not have someone to whom I could say, "Wow!" or "This is really cool," I still managed to have some interaction with folks sitting next to me. (That fun began when Merle Haggard took the stage.)

See, at every event, there is "that" girl. She's hot, she knows it, but when you put a little booze in her, the high-maintenance, crazy, pouting, beyotch comes out. Yeah, that girl was two rows in front of me and apparently thought she could dance. This was not the type of concert where you get up and dance. Most of the people are older and just want to sit (still hoot and holler) and enjoy the show. I did not pay to see her ass in my face. That pleasure should be reserved for her boyfriend (someone who I think might be just as much as an ass as she).

So, by this time in the show I am really enjoying myself, annoyed with the drunk chick, and I'm trying to think of ways to not go back to NJ. Now, a few people that figure in to this story need to be introduced. First, there are two burly, hunky, handsome guys that sat next to me. They were big and tall (good manners and called me sweetheart). Then around us, save for that wacky chick,the people next to her and the people in front of her, there were mostly older people. (Cute thing: a young man brought his grandmom to the sweet!)

Now that I've set the scene, keep in mind, booze is being sold and allowed in the auditorium. Yeah.

Mr. Haggard takes the stage and drunk chick can't keep her fanny in the seat. Now, it is perfectly acceptable to get up and dance and cheer, but not throughout the entire song when you have people behind you who paid to see Merle Haggard, not a drunk chick who needs a stripper pole. Remember those big, hunky, burly, hot guys I told you about? Yeah, to quote one: "I'm about to go redneck on that guy if his girlfriend doesn't sit down." Big guy grabs the ass-boyfriend and tells him rather sternly that the guy's girlfriend better sit, or there's gonna be trouble. (Guys, you realize this kind of manly behavior makes women hot, right? Not that you have to go through with a fight, but the fact you have balls...I digress.)

Drunk-ass-boyfriend made his girlfriend sit down. Actually, he was a little physical with her, which didn't set right with me, but I'm not getting in the middle of drunken mayhem. I didn't come to Nashville to fight; although, I kept thinking about how much fun it would be to knock her on her ass. It has been at least 21 years since I had a good fight, and that was a really good fight.

So later, drunk boyfriend with the courage only beer can create (a few songs later), gets up, turns around and announces to the big, burly, hot, hunky guys that this is his favorite Haggard song and he's gonna stand. Then the guy next to him got up and did some kind of dance that was crossed with Pee Wee Herman and a bad white rapper. As we were all getting peeved, the guy in front of me (a sane guy) turned to the hunky guys and said, "I got your back." I started to get worried that I didn't know the concealed weapons laws and that I might have to duck punches and stuff. However, I am 5'10" and when pushed, I push back.

But have no fear, security is always near! Yep, ours was about 80 years old. Maybe his dentures would put out an eye in a pinch?

But other than that slight bit of grrrr, the concert was amazing. Merle Haggard played over an hour. He played the guitar beautifully, his voice was without a hiccup whatsoever, and he played his fiddle a few times.

He did a song about half of a garden being for Willie (Nelson), with pot, mushrooms, and such. Yeah. Someone my dad's relative age...then he revealed what a horny old bastard he is. A good thing in my book.

The band was awesome, Haggard was awesome, and I am very glad I went. It was really neat to sit and observe how people identify with the words of people I consider prose-ish poet types who put their words (and other people's words) to song. It is a talent like no other, and one that I admire greatly.

(Yes, I knew some of the songs, but I thought you'd like an atmospheric post about the show.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Who's your sugar daddy?

While watching the news the past week I've heard rumors that Obama might be addressing the debt Hillary Clinton amassed during her "I'm gonna stomp my foot and hold my breath" tour, I mean, campaign. Now it appears to have come to pass, as Obama has urged/asked major supporters of the Democrat persuasion to ease Clinton's financial woes.

Awwwwww, whadda guy!

Do you think I could get him to convince well-heeled folk to pony up some money to get me out of debt? I'm a "public servant." How about it Obama? I mean, I pay out the butt for school loans, had to get deeper in debt when my mom was out of work for two years, and I have done my part to contribute to the economy by purchasing a car on a really long installment plan.

Just think of what I could do if I were debt-free: I would be free to just go wherever I wanted. I could quit teaching. Getting rid of the job-stress alone, aside from life-stresses, would be the priceless part of the whole getting debt-free thing. No more parent emails about why their cherubs should get an A rather than a B (or worse), no more kids stalking me about their grades, no more after school supervision...I could actually go exercise. WOW! Being debt-free might actually make me a nicer person to be around.

O.k., really wealthy Democrats-(and Republicans)-with more money than I'll ever see in my lifetime: The next time you want to gamble in Vegas, want to play the political horses, or buy really expensive artwork and trinkets, think of RT and getting her out of debt. You are free to waste your money how you see fit, but you could use it for some real good. Just a thought.

(H/T: CNN)

Whatever I want Wednesday

"I take a lot of pride in what I am"
Merle Haggard

I'm going to see Merle Haggard at the Ryman, tonight. I'm really hoping he's in good voice. He has such a beautiful voice.

I haven't been to a "real" concert in years, and I especially haven't been out to do anything close to this in the past four years. I'm really looking forward to it. I got so excited when I saw there would be a couple of good concerts by county legends while I'm here. Sunday, I'm going to try to go to a local club that has my current favorite artist playing/hosting the evening.

"The lonely Road"
Mike Farris

Going to these types of things alone is getting old, but I have to have some fun.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Metaphor for life

To figure out where you are going, it is good to get a little lost.

I had that (not-so-eloquent) thought today while I drove around parts of Nashville because I got off or onto the highway (two that merge & split) via the wrong exits.

When that thought occurred to me, I thought, "Wow! Just like life." I've taken many wrong exits, have gone in circles, and have somehow always ended up where I was supposed to be going. In a concrete, here on earth sense, we have GPS and the advantage of being able to get off the highway and backtrack. In a spiritual sense, we always have a navigator in spite of our ability to get lost. He prompts His spirit to move us in the way we should be going. God gets us where he wants us--one way or another.

Now, if I could just figure out who was calling my cell phone and hanging up on me, I'd be happy.

While I was meanding down streets that weren't in my directions, I saw Nashville's visitors' center (might be going there one day this week--maybe not):

Some guy, who I think might have been negotiating a fee for some kind of "service" (Corner of the tan part of the building). I got an up-close look at this girl. She couldn't have been more than 18-20 and looked pretty worn. I saw a few people who looked a little defeated by life. Hope they find where it is they are supposed to be.

This last picture is actually from this morning. It is the Delta Queen. The sun shines into the condo in the morning. It is nice, but I'm on vacation and don't really want to wake up at 5:30 a.m. (Still took me until almost 11:30 to get out and going.)

Just a thought

Something has been on my mind since Monday morning. Something, of which, I've been really neglectful. I've been ignoring something that is crucial to having a good life, something needed so much that without it, I'm less of a person...literally.

Well, I just can't say anymore than that. A picture of what should be noticed, should be shouted from the mountain tops, will have to suffice.

Monday, June 23, 2008

You have got to watch this!

Big Bad Wolf has the most incredible video that you have just got to see.

It is so cool!


HERE is the full version of what Big Bad wolf posted. The link I created to his blog is a little wonky, but still shows the good part. Be sure to visit his blog.

I'm here!

Here's the view from my balcony. I just saw a tug boat looking thing go by, too. Oh, and I can see LP Field from my balcony, too.

I handled the steps really well and now I am just chillin' after today's 10-hour drive.

On my drive I learned that lesbians are doing a man's job (some crazy rant on a morning show with thick accents.)

I also learned that I really like this song (after hearing it a bazillion times). Also, Virginia loves playing Journey.

*The real video for this is really DUMB, so here's the live version:

Bustin' some stuff up

Now, this is my kind of therapy!

I've often wondered what good it does to go visit a person you are paying to tell you that your life, relationships, and general psyche are messed up. I mean, that's their job and they make money from keeping you on the couch.

However, I can remember that back in the day, when I was a less mature person (read: angsty teenager), I had quite a bit of aggressive energy. I would have given anything to be supplied with a sledgehammer and some items to bust.

Imagine if you will a young, 17 year-old RT finding out her best friend just boffed the guy RT spent hours daydreaming about (and not the first friend to do so---reason why I am friends with few women). RT has no outlet, but to smoke (all kinds of stuff) or drink. But, here comes the good doctor with a sledgehammer. She gets to destroy stuff and feels good about it. Yeah, I could throw down in a fight, but this is legal assault on non-human objects.

Well, you can read the whole story and about THIS "new" type of therapy.

Some of you go to the gun range, I'd like to go to a pummeling range. Exercise and a good session of venting to be had. How can that be wrong? It would make ending the marking periods a lot more joyful.

Speaking of breaking stuff:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

On the road

I always liked watching Charles Kuralt. I loved watching and listening to the human interest stories he'd present on his television shows. The stories made me fascinated with the world outside of New Jersey. It is pretty interesting how we can become so isolated by our surroundings. I am always amazed when I see the Shenandoah Valley and the beautiful mountains. I literally feel my soul relax. New Jersey is so Grrrrr, 24/7. Maybe it is the Delaware Valley; maybe it is the whole state. It will take me a week or so to shake it off, though.

Here's the view from my hotel room in Virginia. Hmm...guess I better keep the curtains closed.

Lamest bumper sticker of the day? "I stop for red lights." Thanks for the warning, Bub.

Oh, and the suicide pact among all juicy bugs everywhere is in full force. My windshield was the scene of many a bug suicide.


1. Obama plans 50-state election
So, he will concede the other eight states?

2. Swedish crimes relocate in summer
I've heard they take a holiday in Portugal.

3. Woman claims phobia of official letters
May I claim a phobia to bills? I do get itchy and headachy when I have to pay them. I think I'm allergic.

4. Colorado Lottery offers scratch-'n'-sniff games
I guess you're a winner when it doesn't smell like ass.

Sunday Song

Matthew 5:13-16
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

"In the Light"
DC Talk

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Weighin' In

No change this week. Fine with me, though, since I haven't been good for a couple of weeks. I'm a stress eater. I've been REALLY, REALLY stressed. HA! (So stressed and tired that I punked out on graduation and came home to sleep.)

I had a neat thing happen today, though. Well, two things: 1. When I took my dad out to lunch I was looking at the menu and a thought came into my head that never even got past my ears, before-->"I don't want to eat French fries. None, nada, no more." WOW! You have no idea how I live for French fries! 2. As I was walking around Macy's spending gift cards given to me by my students at CHRISTMAS, I noticed I wasn't in pain. I was hot as hell, but that had more to do with wearing a long-sleeved shirt, because every short sleeved shirt I own is set aside for the trip. In fact, I was walking with more ease than ever AND the escalator didn't freak me out. (It's been a little awkward for me to get on the dang thing the past few years.)

Hmm...I think my perspective of food has changed and I think I'm ready for the belly buster summer I have planned--lots of walking to get rid of the cortisol making me look preggers.

Oh, I bought a Liz Claiborne purse that I would never buy if I didn't have the gift cards. Sweet!

I'm taking my scale with me to Nashville. I'll post next week and then I'll post at the end of the summer. It will be interesting to see what I'm able to do when I am away from my eating buddy (mom).

Ok, so I'm going to go pack, now. Y'all jealous?

Choose your words wisely. Maybe.

It seems the PaCification of special interests that may or may not have expressed an offense, is running rampant in the world of corporate teamwork.

Here's an excerpt of a recent Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's planning meeting:

Ian: "Alrighty, let's plan our annual Speldhurst Fete. Let's Brainstorm!"

Clive: "Umm...I find that term offensive. Can we use a term other than 'brainstorm'?"

Ian: "What do you suggest?"

Clive: "How about "thought shower" or "blue sky thinking"?

Ian: "Whatever, ok. Think to the highest, bluest of blue skies. What shall we do for the fete? Let's get the ball rolling."

Clive: "Again, please don't use terms that offend me. Balls really bother me. All types of balls. Rolling, swinging, dancing, and juggling...all of them."

Ian: "O.k., I'll rid the conversation of brains and balls."

Friday, June 20, 2008

Some stuff I learned this year:

1. You can point out the same things over and over to a student, but that doesn't mean he or she will utilize your instruction.

2. Very little is about me. I'm just a small speck of presence in my kids' lives. So many teachers think that their discipline and their presence are so much they are all that matters.

3. Kids will meet your expectations, whether you have high expectations or low ones. I try the high expectations route.

4. Teenagers really miss being little kids. They reminisce about "the-good-'ol-days" as much, if not more, than our seasoned members of society.

5. Teenage boys spend a lot of time scratching themselves. They aren't shy about it, either. I guess they think the desk (without anything blocking them) hides all.

Btw., would it be so hard to get THIS correct? Huh?

It's that time again

It is the last day of school, and that means that it is time to say good-bye to a bunch of really good kids that I've gotten to know since they were sophomores. In fact, they are the last group of kids I'll have that I've taught since they were sophomores.

There is something to be said for teaching kids more than once while they are in high school. Even when I've taught kids who I didn't enjoy the first time around, subsequent interaction as their teacher has proven fruitful (and enjoyable). They know me, my expectations, that I don't put up with much, that I'm really fair, and that I'm compassionate. They are at ease. "The ease" is what students need. When they feel comfortable and feel like they have a chance, they do better. When they know you (meaning me), they know your expectations better be met.

What I'll miss most with this particular group is hearing about their hopes, fears, and their angst (non-grade related....that angst will always be annoying). The students are like my kids. When it is time for them to graduate, it is bittersweet.

I'm going to miss the boy who literally runs up to me, overjoyed, to tell me what good grades he gets on his writing because of my (and another teacher's) efforts. I'm going to miss the girl who was really awkward and never realized just how smart she was that turned into a confident young lady who now knows she has a good head on her shoulders.

I'm going to miss seeing this bunch look out for each other and genuninely care.

However, one thing I am looking forward to is seeing my student, who was on the receiving end of a miracle, walk across the stage to take his diploma.

Yeah, I'll be boo-hoo'n. They are my kids, after all. I know I whine and complain, but there is a lot of satisfaction for the soul in doing this job.

Now, it is time for me to get some R-N-R. Teaching is tiring, emotionally taxing, and more work than you'll ever know. It is really stressful this time of year, too.

Three more days and I'll be here:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Caption Contest

Here are a couple of "wild and crazy guys"! I couldn't resist. Submit your caption and I will post winners sometime Tuesday, June 24. (I'll be on the road most of Monday.)

Have a kickin' weekend! I'll be beginning my summer vacation!


4. Rodney Dill: "C'mon Michelle, Give Sarkozy a fist bump."

3. Jim: Man, you really let that one rip. I can smell the Camembert.

2. Wyatt Earp: Sarkozy: "Look! I sat Helen Thomas next to the mimes!"

This week's winner is. . .

1. John D: Hey, that's a pretty good grip you have know, for a Frenchie.


I wonder if they listen to a certain NPR show on Saturdays?

Tomorrow, I will be sitting on a stage, in my graduation gown and hood, in front of about 1000 (or more) people.

I kind of hope for a moment like this:

Funny Graduation Musical Speech - Watch more free videos

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Recently I've noticed a very disturbing trend. Boys in my school are sporting fake tans. In addition to those fake tans, they are sporting the spikey, douche-bag do.

(None of these are the boys in question.)

Why? Most of them are nice boys. Why? I want to take them aside and ask why on earth they are walking around with the pout and the over-stiffed hair. Oh, did I mention the pink shirts and low-rise jeans? Well, at least the jeans aren't falling off, since they are not baggy.

What's next? Eyeshadow and lip gloss?

Whatever I want Wednesday!

I don't intend my "whatever I want Wednesdays" to be music-based, but they just seem that way the past couple of weeks. Maybe I'll summon up a good rant or some stupid, corny jokes next time. Maybe not, because I'm going to a concert next Wednesday, and I'll have to share my excitement.

"Lido Shuffle"
Boz Scaggs

This is an ooooooold video. Enjoy!

And since none of us knows all the lyrics, here they are for our education. I hope these are accurate. Like I said, though, it's not like we know the lyrics.

"Lido Shuffle"
Lido missed the boat
That day he left the shack
But that was all he missed
He ain't comin' back

At a tombstone bar
In a juke-joint car he made a stop
Just long enough
To grab a handle off the top
Next stop Chi'town
Lido put the money down
Let her roll
He say, "one more job oughta get it
One last shot 'fore we quit it"

One for the road

Lido, whoa-oh-oh-oh....
He's for the money, he's for the show
Lido's a-waitin' for another go
Lido, whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh....
He said, "one more job oughta get it"
"One last shot, we quit it"
"One more for the road"

Lido be runnin',
Havin' great big fun 'til he got the note
Sayin' "toe the line or blow it"
And that was all she wrote
He be makin' like a beeline,
Headin' for the borderline, goin' for broke
Sayin, "one more hit oughta do it"
"This joint, ain't nothin' to it"
"One more for the road"

Lido, whoa-oh-oh-oh....
He's for the money, he's for the show
Lido's a-waitin' for another go
Lido, whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh....
"one more job oughta get it"
"One last shot, and we quit it"
"One more for the road"

Lido, whoa-oh-oh-oh....
He's for the money, he's for the show
Lido's a-waitin' for another go
Lido, whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

That's gotta hurt!

It's always funny until someone loses an eye!

According to The Smoking Gun, a 52 year-old woman had a little incident with a thong. As she was trying to get a thong on, a decorative piece came off and somehow injured her eye.

God bless her! Fifty-two and able to wear a thong. Well, I hope she is.

Click HERE for the full story and the complaint filed with the court.

From the "ummm...that could hurt" file:

A cook in a New York restaurant apparently wanted to impress the in-laws or something. He was caught smuggling 15 frozen lobster tails. The lobster was stuffed in his pants and attached to his legs. Yeah. Is that a lobster in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?

He was fired and charged with the crime. Duh.


And finally--What do you do when you feel you haven't been trained well enough to do your job? You sue.

A 73-year-old man is suing his employer. You see, Mr. Gower-Smith is a custodian at an elementary school. It wasn't that the school was asking him to repair a boiler for which he had no skill. No. He isn't suing because he wasn't trained properly in how to work the many mechanical areas of the school.

Mr. Smith is suing because he asserts that he wasn't properly trained to use a stepladder. He was hurt pretty bad, and I hope he mends, but didn't he think to look at the directions that are usually on ladders?

Just a thought.

(H/T: UPI)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Well, I am going to the South for the Summer. . .

Your Hillbilly Name Is...

Lil' Dolly Dallas

Four more days

I have been searching for the past few hours for something to post. You'd think with today being the last day of classes and with tomorrow being the beginning of exams, that I'd be relaxed and cool as a cucumber. NOPE. So stressed out I got sick, today. I have students anxious about their grades and they are taking their frustrations out on me. I even had one kid, who has an "A" in the balance, say, "What would Jesus do?" on his way out of the door. (I wish I had a brain cell so that I could go find a Bible verse to give him. Well, since he asked and all.)

I was also the recipient of a lot of hugs and thanks. That makes any teacher feel good. It is interesting to watch the seniors. They seem to be retreating into themselves a little. After all, life requires that they leave their comfort zones and become "for real" adults. They are skeerd, excited, sad, anxious, happy, and spouting memories of their earliest school years. So, if you are the parents of teenagers, just know, they are pretty fragile. They just don't want to show it.

Hmm...guess I found something to post.

Well, I might have my own stress and angst this week. I'm finishing up school, doing a lot of non-teaching related paperwork for the administrators, and I'm getting ready to go away for the summer. I haven't been away from home for an extended time since around 1990. I feel kind of guilty leaving my parents (that whole honor your parents thing) for a couple of months, but I need it. The past four years have been sapping, and I've prayed for about that amount of time to be able to go away for the summer, preferably where I am going or nearby. While I am in Nashville, I have a lunch planned with a former colleague that moved to Kentucky. She's the sweetest woman, and we always talked while we worked after school. In fact, I always envied her calm, Southern demeanor. I must learn that some day.

Anything else to report? I'll try to find something better to post for tomorrow. If I find that Bible verse telling me what Jesus would do, I'll tell you. Got any suggestions? ;)

Before I forget, HERE are this week's caption contest winners. It was a tough one to call. I really liked them all.

Fundraising tips

WOW! Why didn't I think of this before?

O.k. I'd like to get out of debt. So....I'm going to find a bunch of companies and threaten to boycott them because I find them offensive in some way.

Think that will work?

Well, that type of "fundraising" worked for Rev. Al.


Al needs to read in his Bible about that whole lusting after money thing. Oh wait, his Bible appears to be a convenient prop.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Oh man.

I don't think God is going to find the humor in this.

Just as I sin, and have to seek God's forgiveness on many things, I know I am not perfect. So please don't see what I am about to say as me playing "holier than thou." I'm far from that, trust me. But. . .

THIS is a blatant smack to God's will and design. Sorry, folks, but it just is.

This world, if continuing in this unrepentant manner, is just asking for trouble.

(That's in the Bible, too, and why I'm working on removing several planks from my own eye.)

Sunday Song

Proverbs 3
1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you prosperity.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
9 Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.

In the Bible we are commanded to honor our mother and father. Today, in the U.S., is a day to honor our fathers. However, there is one Father that should always be honored and praised every day.

God is faithful, just, long-suffering, kind, loving, and forgiving. He provides, sustains us, and protects. He does countless more than our earthly fathers can or will.

When we honor God with our obedience and praise, He will bless us. In fact, like most fathers, He chooses to bless in spite of ourselves, sometimes.

As I said earlier this week, God is good. He's been quite gentle with me, and trust me, I've been thanking Him for that, a lot.

Happy Father's Day to those of you blessed with children. :)

Todd Agnew/Rebecca St. James
"Our Great God"

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Weighin' in

I gained a pound this week. It would be easy to let that upset me, but I ate like crap. My apartment was well over 100 degrees every day this week and take out was the option. Considering that, one pound is not a catastrophe (not to mention the fluid monster has returned). Next weigh in will be much me. I'm hoping for a total of 25-30 pounds by the 30th.

I mentioned before that I noticed I lose weight the weeks that I eat more fish. I did a little research on my "staples" and found out how good my choices have been. I'm passing them along to you for some options to add to your diet, if you wish to do so.

Beans--protein, fiber, and iron. Keeps the blood sugar steady.

Cinnamon: I'm not big on cinnamon. I don't really eat anything during the day that I can add it to, but a 1/4 tsp supposedly helps blood sugar and increases insulin. I will have to find something over the summer. I'll have some elbow room to experiment.

My fish answer! Eating fish quite often lowers a hormone that lowers metabolism and that leads to obesity. (Not to mention the Omega-3's are outstanding!)

Pectin from fruit (I eat at least 4-5 servings per day) might just limit the amount of fat that makes its way into your cells. Apples and berries are the best sources. I eat an apple, a banana, some grapes, and some cherries or another fruit every day. (Yes, after I've had my salad with beans. NO...."that" doesn't create any problems.)

Garlic! I LOVE garlic! It is supposed to boost metabolism and help out insulin levels...thus burning fat becomes its job! I eat three garlic stuffed olives a day! YUMMY...yes, on that salad with beans. HA!

Olive Oil: About 15 years ago, I switched to almost only using olive oil. Well, it is supposed to burn fat and keep cholesterol down. I think I'll start making a salad dressing with it and chuck the Ken's 1000 Island...but it sooooo yummy.

FLUIDS! Guess what slows down your metabolism? Dehydration. I learned a few months back that sometimes when you feel hungry, you are actually dehydrated.

Whole Grains: I can't really eat processed carbs, but I do eat rice (really got to start eating the brown variety, though) and I eat quinoa. Barilla makes a pasta I think I'll be able to eat at least once per week. It is multi-grain, consisting of bean flours and such. (There is a whole grain type, too.) I really do try to limit the carbs. I didn't this week and gained a pound, but at least it was only a pound.

One other thing I found this week (yet to try) is Hellmann's canola mayonnaise that has no saturated fat and 1/2 the fat of regular mayo. So if you are watching your cholesterol, you might want to try this product. It has zero cholesterol.

Have a good week!


Fly 'em high, folks!

"On June 14, 1877, the first Flag Day observance was held on the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the American flag. As instructed by Congress, the U.S. flag was flown from all public buildings across the country. In the years after the first Flag Day, several states continued to observe the anniversary, and in 1949 Congress officially designated June 14 as Flag Day, a national day of observance."

(H/T: History Channel)

No laughing matter

Let's play a game. Think of everything you hear and see at a restaurant. You hear talking, whispering, and the clanking of silverware against the plates. You might even hear some testy conversations, might witness an engagement, or you might witness tears.

Then there is laughter. We almost always hear some form of laughter or giggling, especially if there is a bar in the restaurant.

Now, if you were an employer with a jovial staff member, that would be a good thing, right? Customers like affable wait staff.

Unfortunately, some restaurant owners do not like laughter. They'd like to have an atmosphere of a Puritan church service.

Yes, someone got fired from her job for laughing. Click on the link for the full story and video.

(H/T: Local6)

Friday, June 13, 2008


Hopefully, actions like the one in Ireland will start a trend of Europeans rebuking the EU.

Seriously, how lame does your country have to be (*cough* France) to turn over a lot of control to a multi-national union of countries?

When the EU formed, I was very dismayed. Yeah, in a singular sense most of the countries couldn't compete with the U.S., but they have sold their soul to the devil for what they perceive as power. In reality, only a few countries have a lot of say.

The EU has set it sites on Ireland. Ireland responded with "NO!" Good for them!

It seems the biggest issue is that they do not see the EU as a democratic force and one not worth giving carte blanche to do as they please while giving away Ireland's power. Btw., Ireland is the only country to hold a public vote.

I hate the EU; it just smells like the mob.

(H/T: Herald Tribune)

How very sad

As most (if not all) of you know, Tim Russert passed away very suddenly today. I watched him from time to time and what I really appreciated were the interviews he did when he wrote Big Russ & Me. It gave insight to how decent of a man he was, because he was raised by someone equally, if not more, decent.

Below is a fitting tribute to that spirit of decency. One thing strikes me about this, though. Tom Brokaw mentions that quite often Russert worked to exhaustion. Folks, our jobs are sometimes our passions, but we should never put our health second to a job, no matter how big, fun, and important it is.

Remember to say a prayer for his family and friends.

Funny, maybe.

Somehow at 4:30 a.m., this is funny.

While you are here, go enter a caption for my caption contest.

Have an awesome Friday!