Friday, March 28, 2014

Something that I Miss

Today's challenge is to write about something that I miss. I'm glad it's not someone I miss because there are lots of people and animals that I miss.The first anniversary of the death of one of my favorite students is coming up this weekend, and it'll be hard for me. I'd rather make this entry about something pleasant; therefore, I will write about something that I will miss -- my job after June 2015.

When I was in second grade, I decided to be a teacher, and I stayed true to the course. I have been a high school English teacher for 33 3/4 years. One reason for this blog is to find my way into retirement in another year. I decided to break this entry into two parts --  the things I will and won't miss about teaching.

Here are the things I won't miss:
  • boring faculty meetings, especially the ones with Powerpoint presentations with lots of data. I'm an English teacher; I don't do numbers.
  • teacher evaluations. I've seen the process change very often and one thing is always the same: no one is ever happy about it or with it. 
  • faculty lounges where teachers complain about their students. We all have bad students who get on our nerves, don't work, sleep in class, etc.However, I think the lounge should be a place to get away from all of that. This time away from the classroom may be the only time I get to laugh all day, so when the conversation gets negative, I just leave the room. 
  • grading papers. When I was just beginning my career, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a set of papers to grade so I could enter the scores in my extremely neat gradebook. Now I teach dual-enrolled college composition English to high school seniors. There are always essays to grade. Gradebooks have gone away because of computers.
  • the obvious -- the alarm clock; picking out something to wear every day; traffic lights that slow my trek to work in the morning; carrying heavy tote bags; making lunch; a dining room table covered with my laptop and papers to grade.

  • Sunday Night Syndrome. That's what I call it anyway. It's the stress that starts building up around 4:00 on Sunday afternoon when I realize that I have to go to school the next day. Then begins the rush of thoughts -- What are my lesson plans? Did I make copies of everything I need? Did I grade all of the papers I brought home? Is there food for lunches next week? and on and on.
Here are the things I will miss:
  • students. Most people would think I wouldn't miss them at all; however, I figured out they keep me in touch with all the latest of everything. How will I know about the latest waste-of-time app on my smartphone? Who will tell me the best young adult novels to read or the most popular songs to listen to? 
  • my friends. Work relationships are close ones while you are together. I mean, we are in the trenches fighting the same battle for 180 days, year after year. But I know I'll lose touch with these people because their endless quest to stamp out ignorance will continue whereas mine will end. 
  • having a captive audience. A teacher is an actor and her classroom is her stage. I have made 30 teenagers listen in dead silence as I explain why an author chooses certain names for the characters in his story, as I tell them about pronoun-antecedent agreement which they swear no one has ever taught them before, or as I teach them that writing an essay isn't rocket science as long as they learn the formula. They look at me like I'm telling them the secrets of the universe. Whose ego wouldn't miss that?
I know I'll adjust and be just fine. I might even find another job that doesn't involve grading essays. For the first year, however, I plan to just quietly exist. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How do I pick a favorite?

Because I have been around awhile, I have many favorite singers/musicians. With the 30-Day Blog Challenge, I'm supposed to pick one. I decided to pick one (or maybe 2 or 3) per decade (of half decade) that I have been aware of music. 

late 1960s -- The Monkees: loved their TV show. The Beetles: I wish I still had that Beetles metal lunchbox. My classmates talked about my lunchbox a lot because there was a rumor that Beetles said they were greater than Jesus. 

early 1970s -- I had lots of favorites because I was listening to pop music on the AM radio. The Partridge Family: cutie David Cassidy. Donny Osmond: I loved the variety show Donny and Marie. Cher: "Half Breed, how I loved to hate the word ..." The album I listened to most was Tapestry by Carole King. I bought another copy at a yard sale recently. It's still a great album.

late 1970s -- CCR, Marshall Tucker, Willie and Waylon and the Boys. I listened to these on my FM radio and my portable 8-track tape player, which has gone away like my VHS tapes. :-(

1980s -- Hall and Oates, Michael Jackson, Olivia Newton-John, Lionel Richie, George Michael.

1990s -- Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Destiny's Child, Celine Dion -- Looks like I liked women singers most. I played that Whitney Houston album all the time. It was my first CD I ever bought. (Aside:  I hate drugs and what they do to people.)

2000s -- Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, John Legend. I got my first MP3 player and had a hard time figuring it out. I finally paid for Napster each month to make everything easier. I must have been the only person who ever paid for Napster. Everyone who knew how used Napster to steal music. Napster is gone now, too.

2010s -- Beyonce (my #1, probably forever), Carrie Underwood, Hunter Hayes, Justin Timberlake (repeat on Justin because he's gone from cute to majorly handsome)

I'm discovering new singers/musicians I like every day. There are just so many now and so many options and ways to listen to them. Music can be accessed everywhere -- car, phone, computer, TV. I am aware of so many more genres of music now, and I find that I like parts of all of them. 

Now to make that giant playlist on Spotify of all my favorites. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

What's in your makeup bag?

Back to the 30-Day Blog Challenge -- number 11 is to write about what's in my makeup bag. Interesting topic for me because I don't carry one. I have a tube of lipstick somewhere in the bottom of my purse, but most often, I use regular ol' Chapstick. There's also some old face powder in a side pocket, but I don't like it because it dries my skin.

I do have a face product I'll let you in on that I really like, though -- Rodan + Fields. One of my friends at work sells it, so I gave it a try. Now, there's not much someone can do to this old, abused face. I have rosacea and a lot of sun damage. I have never consistently used a cleaning regimen, but instead just washed my face while in the shower with whatever bath soap was in the dispenser at the time. I just couldn't stay with any kind of cleaning system.

My dermatologist told me that the red tone from the rosacea would never go away but with medication would not get worse. One of R+F's lines is designed to help with redness, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

I have been using R+F's Soothe since December 2013 and have been really consistent with the prescribed process -- wash with Gentle Cream Wash, apply the Sensitive Skin Treatment, apply Moisture Replenishing Cream, and finally, apply the Mineral Sunscreen SPF30.

To be honest, I can't tell a difference in the degree of redness, but my skin feels so nice. I also don't have the dryness I did before. Therefore, I will continue to use it daily. I promise.

So, I'm endorsing Rodan + Fields and my friend, Jennifer Roady-Lawson. If you are interested, here's her website:

Saturday, March 22, 2014

My Friend, the Entrepreneur

I am so proud of my high school friend, Peggy Sutton, for following her passion for healthy eating to establish a very successful business, To Your Health Sprouted Flour. 

I recently toured her facility in Bullock County, Alabama. Wow! The facility is impressive, but the product is amazing. Here's the link to her website:

On the website, you can find out all about sprouted flour, how it's made, the benefits of using it, and on and on. At the facility, they process sprouted wheat as well as gluten-free flour. There's even a video tour of the facility on the website showing how they manufacture the flour. Peggy and her husband Jeff designed much of the equipment through trial and error and have made this business into an extremely profitable one. Peggy told me that she started out using Mason jars and 5-gallon buckets. Now they process thousands of pounds each week and ship all over the US and Canada. There's even an order going to London this year. 

I used the flour this week to make brownies. Now, I can't really compare these brownies to the ones I usually bake because those come out of a box. I will tell you that my sprouted wheat brownies were more cake-like but that could be because of the recipe I used -- Super Easy Sprouted Flour Cocoa Brownies:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup Sucanat (I used sugar because I had never heard of Sucanat until I saw this recipe.)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten in separate bowl

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Melt butter over low heat. Pour into a medium bowl and allow to cool a few minutes while you beat eggs separately in a small bowl.
  3. Stir Sucanat (sugar) into melted butter, followed by flour, cocoa powder, vanilla, and eggs. Mix just to combine.
  4. Pour into buttered 8x8-inch pan and bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. For a fudgier brownie, keep the baking time at the lower end of the range.

Here's what my brownies looked like:

I'll keep you updated on my future use of this flour as well as my friend, the entrepreneur.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Who says you can't buy love?

Spring break week means we get out of town for a few days. This year, we went to my mom’s in the RV and camped in her yard. On Monday, during a horrific rain storm, we traveled to Atlanta to make two people extremely happy.

Our first stop was to the American Girl Doll store. I have always thought these dolls are way overpriced and a definite status symbol for little girls. I never bought my daughter one, and she reminds me of that when she sees the one my granddaughter Cloee has. If you have a grandchild, you know how different he/she is from your children. It’s our job to spoil them. Three years ago when Cloee came to live with me, my role changed from grandmother to primary caregiver (that sounds so cold, doesn’t it?). I’m the one who has to say no or scold her when she’s wrong which is not what a grandparent should have to do. But on special occasions, I do spoil her. Thus, we made the trip to the AGD store.

If you want to see what an American Girl Doll store is like, watch this hilarious bit from Conan O’Brien’s visit to one on YouTube.

That store is full of  wide-eyed little girls followed by adults who can’t believe the prices. Cloee was happy and spoiled which was the purpose of the trip.

Next was Drew’s turn. Drew loves Coke. I mean, the boy would drink 10 or more a day if allowed.  He will drink a Diet Coke or Coke Zero when forced, but he will choose a Red Coke (his name for it) any time he can. Therefore, Drew’s special trip was to the Coke Factory Museum. He sat through the history lesson and vault spiel in order to get to the best part – the tasting room. Now that boy was in heaven, let me tell you.
I haven't totaled the cost of the trip, but price doesn't matter in cases like this.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Home Sweet Home

I’ve decided to skip today’s assignment which is to write about the item I last purchased. The last items I bought were groceries at Trader Joes. Although I really like Trader Joes, I want to wait until I have bought something exciting to write about. I’m going to write instead about a later suggestion – a picture of the town I live in.

I live in Tallahassee, Florida, a beautiful city which is the home of the state government, two major universities, and beautiful canopied roads. I have lived here for nine years and really like it because it has so much to offer, especially for children. It was the best move I ever made. I teach at the oldest high school in the state which looks just like the one in the movie Grease. My son Drew works at Florida State University and is very involved with the large adult Special Olympics program. Tallahassee is a great place to live.

Florida State Capitol

Doak Campbell Stadium, FSU

Leon High School
canopy road

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Time Well Wasted

Today's assignment is to write about a song and photo to match my mood. Today is the first full day of spring break so I'm feeling pretty good. I used to spend a good deal of spring break cleaning my house or completing a project. I decided that my house will never be totally clean. Whose is? So I found this song by Brad Paisley which is about not doing the things I'm supposed to do, but instead doing the things that matter. Making memories, as my mom says. 

The chorus is below:

It was time well wasted
And there's no way I'd trade a few more dollars or things crossed off my list
For a day I'll never forget
No I didn't get a thing done
But I sure soaked up every minute of the memory we were makin'
And I count it all as time well wasted

It's all about time, and the closer I get to the casket, the more I value it. 
Here is the next part of the assignment -- a photo that reflects my mood. I am wishing my life away by wanting summer to hurry and get here. I want pool water at 73 degrees at least and outside temp in the 80s. I want to sleep without setting an alarm clock. I want to drink coffee and go for a walk before I slowly start my day. As Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Name Desire says,  "I want to rest! I want to breathe quietly again!" I want summer!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Dream Wedding

Weddings have changed so much from what they were when I was growing up. Then, invitations were engraved, not just printed, with black ink on white linen paper. Bridal etiquette had to be followed to the T. Today, invitations are anything goes. I received one not long ago on cardboard-type paper in the shape of a Mason jar. I got another one that when I pulled the invitation out of the envelope, confetti fell everywhere. What a mess that was! 
No longer are bride's dresses the white satin with lace. No longer do grooms wear black suits. And all of that is ok with me. Couples should have their weddings exactly how they want. Most weddings now represent the likes of the couple; therefore, there's more personality and creativity and usually more fun!
My second (and last) wedding took place in the judge's chambers in Apalachicola, FL. The wedding was perfect because we eloped. My husband and I met for the first time in Apalachicola on December 21, 2004, on a blind date. We dated for six years, and he finally asked me to marry him. After much discussion, we agreed to secretly go to Apalachicola on Dec. 21, 2010 and get married. We were both looking for a no-stress event that would be special for each of us -- me because of the romantic return-to-the-beginning date and Richard because it was an easy-no fuss event. 
Anyway, we both got what we wanted and so far, we are still hitched.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Pets bring so much unconditional love to people. I know many older people who have pets they treat as if they were their own children. I go to social gatherings where the majority of the conversation is about each person's dog. It's nice that animals can bring joy. 
I have two dogs. I like -- probably love -- those dogs, but I'm so ready to not have any pets. I have announced to my family that when these dogs go to heaven, there will be no more pets. I mean it, too. These dogs cost me money and time that I don't enjoy spending on them. Whenever we go out of town, I have to pay someone to take care of them. One of them will get sick and require a vet trip when I have no money. I had to replace the carpet in my house because one of them can't seem to catch on to the concept of being housebroken. Day 6 says to post a picture of a pet I'd like to own. There's no such animal, but here is a picture of the two who are part of my family whether I like it or not.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Old Photos

In today's entry I'm supposed to post a picture of myself from two years ago. As stated earlier, I am usually behind the camera so finding a decent picture of only me is difficult. The only time I actually  have a picture of me is from my many "school" pictures taken over my 34 years of teaching.
Several years ago, I decided to make a scrapbook about my teaching career. In it I put all of the pictures students had given me of themselves, certificates, letters from students, photos from awesome trips to New York with journalism students, and my school pictures. I add to my school picture page each year:

Bottom right is the most recent year. I look at some of these and can't believe I wore my hair like that. Why did I think a perm looked good? The hair has gotten lighter instead of grayer. I read that with each passing decade, a woman's hair should drop down a shade. I hope I live to have platinum blonde hair.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


This time of year always brings out the need to try one more year to have that perfect garden and/or backyard. Yesterday, I bought the beginnings of that annual endeavor:
In addition, we created fire -- the burn pile. When I was a kid, everyone had a discarded oil barrel that was used to burn trash. There was no curb-side garbage collection in country, so we burned everything. It was a kid's/pyromaniac's dream -- all those flames leaping into the air -- and I'd pile on more and more trash. Good times.
Today's assignment is to post a favorite picture of my best friend. To me, there are different types of best friends. There's the one you've known the longest (see earlier post), the one(s) you have become close to through work, the one that you endured the most terrible times with, and the one that brings you the most joy. I decided to go with the one who makes me laugh daily, does all of the grocery shopping, cooks dinner almost every night, and on and on. This man is a true gem and I am so blessed!

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Special Lunch

My assignment yesterday was to photograph something I ate. As I said yesterday, I don't like taking pictures of food. My pictures look like regular food on a plate. I can't do all that fancy lighting or other effects to make it look better. However, I do want to post about our stop at a barbeque place in Dothan. Dobb's BBQ has been a favorite of thousands, heck maybe even millions, of people over the past 40+ years. The food is really delicious. I like the barbeque sauce because I can taste the vinegar in it. It's just about perfect to me. So, here is my very ordinary picture of my barbeque sandwich and onion rings:
I thought taking a bite out of the sandwich would make it appear more artsy. I was wrong. 
While at Dobb's, I was once again touched by the way people take time to speak to my son Drew who has Down syndrome. Drew is 26 and a real people person. The waitress was super nice to him and actually talked and laughed with him. Drew was wearing his Miami Heat/Labron James jersey, and a young man stopped by our table to discuss Labron's broken nose with Drew. My granddaughter Cloee asked me why people were doing that. I answered that kind-hearted people just want to make Drew feel just like everyone else. I find those types of people are everywhere. That's just another reason that having a son like Drew changes my life and makes me, not him, the special one. I would never have such experiences if I didn't have Drew. I had a very pleasant time at Dobb's and not just because of the food.
Today's assignment for the 30-day journal challenge is to discuss/describe my favorite store. I assume the author meant brick-and-mortar store, but I'm changing the rules again and going with online store. By far, my favorite store is How easy can shopping be? Their Prime membership with its 2-day, free shipping makes it too easy to shop there. I know I'm supposed to support the small businessperson and buy local and all, but I just don't have the time to go from store to store, searching for just the right item. Christmas morning when we were opening all the gifts, my husband Richard remarked about all of the Amazon boxes. He said, "Soon, people will say Merry Amazon!" He's quite the comic, truly.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Best Friends

Yesterday, I was supposed to write about how my day was. I guess the author of the 30-day journal challenge thought the blogger would be working on this at night. I'd like for him/her to find a place in my nightly chaos to write about myself. If I'm writing something at night, it's comments on my students' essays. There seems to be an endless stack of essays to assess each week, and even though I've taught these seniors for 3/4 of the school year, they are still making the same mistakes. UGH!  I'll stop that diatribe now and save it for another day. One goal of this blog is to try to be positive. 
The only time I have alone in my house of four people and two dogs is at 5:00 a.m., which is usually the time I allot to be sucked away by Facebook,, or Pinterest. Since I am old and near retirement, I am beginning to examine time spent to see if it's worth my time lost. I don't finish a book if the writing is not engaging. I don't watch silly sitcoms on TV because I've seen the story line in sitcoms 20 years ago. I don't watch reality TV because I don't believe much of what's shown on TV is real. 
Ok, back to yesterday. I had the most wonderful visit with my friend from 5th grade until now. You know, the type of friend that you don't talk to for several years, but you can pick up like you never left off. It's like you quickly find the cadence of your friendship, the rhythm of your talking patterns, and certainly the sound of your laughs. Oh my, she and I have laughed! Once when we were in school, she made me laugh during lunch and milk spurted out of my nose. How's that visual? 
Although our adult lives grew apart, we find ourselves in similar situations now in raising our young granddaughters. I know grandparents raising grandchildren is not so uncommon today, and there are many support groups to go to for help; however, it makes me feel secure to know that we can emotionally support each other if needed. Here's a selfie of us from yesterday:
Number 4 on the challenge says to post a picture of your favorite photograph of your best friend. I think this is it. I'll have to find something to substitute for number 4.
Today's challenge is to post a photo of something I eat today, which I'm sure will be uninteresting. I'm not much about taking pictures of food. There's too much of that on blogs, Instagram, etc. My food never looks like that beautiful. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

30-day Journal Challenge

So, I have been considering a blog for a while. My  problem, like most new bloggers, is who would want to read what I write? My life is so ordinary! After reading hundreds of blogs, I decided that most people who write blogs have no more of an exciting life than I do; the difference is that they sit down and write about it and then someone like me reads it. Weird, huh? 
Therefore, I am beginning my blog, just like the rest of the world. I decided that the simplest way to start is just to start simple. I found a 30-day journal challenge on Pinterest to follow. In addition, I'm going to assign this 30-day journal challenge to my yearbook students. They are finishing the yearbook this week and will need something to work on for the next month. I thought it would interest them. They probably won't think so, but that's the perk of being the teacher -- I'm in charge. :-) Also, since we will be reading each other's blogs, it's a sure way for me to get at least 25 followers.
Here's the 30-day journal challenge I found:
I know I'll change some of the items to fit my life. For example, number 7 "Your Dream Wedding" -- I've already had 2 weddings. I must say, the first wedding was great; the marriage was a nightmare. I'll save that story for another day. The second wedding was perfect, and the marriage is pretty great, too (most days). 
Anyway, I'm willing to give this blogging thing a shot. 
#1. A photo of yourself and a description of how your day was. 
I'll have to post a picture later. I am most often the person taking the pictures, so there are very few of me. Today is Saturday and I am in sweats and with no makeup. I'm certainly not taking a picture of me today to post for millions of readers to see. The weather today is supposed to be beautiful, 70 degrees and sunny, so I hope to be outside enjoying this spring day. I'll post later about the events.