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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

We are enjoying our family time.
See you all when we return home.
xoxo
LBC and Family

Monday, December 22, 2008

Zeb's Vacation

Zebbie is getting ready to leave for his Christmas vacation destination - West Virginia. He will spend his time in the lap of luxury at my friend B's house. She is an animal lover to the extreme. He will spend his days running on the farm chasing Arabian horses or lounging by the fire surrounded by a myriad of cats and 2 senior dogs. Who could ask for more?

I chatted with her yesterday about Zebbie's likes and dislikes, his feeding and pooping schedule, his vet (which he will not need), and his bed/crate situation. She has a crate for him to use, but wanted to be sure that it was the right size. LOL! She's hysterical! He can sleep anywhere!

Needless to say, Zeb will be picked up this evening and chauffeured to his temporary digs. I will pack his bag today - his stocking - which I have filled, his food, his bowls, his bed, his stuffed animals, and his bones. Yes, the dog is spoiled... rotten.

But, I have a dilemma.
This friend, who is taking my dog for a week, will not allow me to pay her. She needs the money. She told me that if I paid her, she would never talk to me or take Zeb again. I can't have that!! So - any ideas?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wow...

That was one terrific party!
Our house was wall to wall people - all laughing and chatting.

The band played - and we were pretty darned good!
The crowd sang - they were pretty good, too.

The food was delicious.

A good time was had by all.

So, mark it on your calendar -- same time next year.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's time to Pahtay!

Tonight is our Christmas Party.

I've picked up most of the clutter.
I've put stuff in the attic.
I've even dusted... although, I probably need to do it again.
I need to make the meatballs and the corn dip this afternoon.
I've cleaned my kitchen from top to bottom and I'll have to do it again before the party starts - it's just the way it is...
My laundry is almost done - The children will be busy putting all their clothes away in a little while - child labor is wonderful!
The vacuuming is going to happen as soon as the kids are up and moving. I'll do that while they put their things away and pick up their rooms.
The presents and gifts for the party guests are wrapped and ready to go.
The wine and beer are chilling in the garage.
The music stands are put together and ready to go.
The instruments are out.
The plates and cups are ready to be put on the tables...

Come this evening, what is done is done and what is not doesn't matter. It's time to relax and have some serious fun!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Light

At the end of the tunnel... I can see it. And I sure hope it isn't a train.

Today is Friday.

I'm learning how to make toffee this morning. I'll arrive at Laura's with my pound of butter, 3 bars of chocolate, 2 cups of sugar, and a small token of my appreciation. Hopefully, I will be a good student and this stuff will be edible... If not, my sister will just have to smile sweetly and thank me profusely for my efforts while she quietly drops it into the trash can or re-gifts it to her in-laws. (just kidding)

This afternoon, I have a house to clean, laundry to do, a band concert to attend, and a dance to chaperone. Oh and a trumpet lesson to drive to as well as a swim meet to watch.

Tomorrow evening we are having our annual Pot Luck Open House. If you didn't get an invitation, just show up. If you did get an invitation, and you didn't RSVP, just show up. If you play an instrument, bring it - we're playing and singing Christmas carols. Have a house guest or two - bring them, too! But, do me a favor... I've been kinda busy lately... if you arrive and the lights are low and the candles are lit, you'll remember not to look to closely as you might see a few cobwebs or some dust. Just focus on the beauty that is my Christmas tree. Besides, after one glass of wine, you won't care about my dust and after two, you won't be able to see it anyway.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Birthday!

My sister, Nicole, is having a birthday today.
Please go wish her a happy birthday!

Nicole was born in Spain. I was 8 and an only child.
My only worries about having a new baby in the family were:
1. it might be a boy - eeww.
2. if it was a girl, she was going to come out with earrings like all the other Spanish baby girls. I didn't have my ears pierced - and if she came out with them already, that would be really unfair.

Nicole was perfect. She was a girl - what I wished for my whole life - and she didn't come out with earrings. I loved her from the moment I saw her - even if she did have poopy diaper. (just kidding) Heck, I still do.

Nicole is funny, talented, smart - as in genius smart, generous, honest, wonderful person. I'm the lucky one - she's MY sister.

Happy Birthday, Nicole!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Time Flies

I can't believe that today is the 17th of December!
The school week is almost over and vacation starts Friday afternoon. Yippee! I just sent one last package off to Nicole - it's our snow pants so we can ski and not get wet. In less than a week, I'll be in CO with my sister and I can't wait!

But first, I need to finish up a few things around here.

I have my school's music program today. My handbell kids have to play a couple of tunes. Today is also the teacher appreciation luncheon at the middle school.
Can I cram more into one day?
Well, I could, but fortunately, I don't have to.

I finished my Christmas cards - the ones I wasn't going to do this year - last night. I didn't get the kids' pictures in them, but whatever... I put a note in most of them. You can't have it all! Just know, that if I see you on a regular basis, you won't be getting a card. If I never see you - you'll find a card in your mailbox within the next week or so. And a note to my friend C, who moved from CA to the Carolinas... I can't find your new address - I'm sure it's on this desk somewhere. I need you to email it to me so I can get this card out of here before it, too, is hopelessly lost.

I'm still in the process of uploading ballet pix. I only have 500 to load... It conked out after 134 yesterday. I wonder how many will go today. Unfortunately, they don't load in any order... it's sorta random. Beggars can't be choosers, I guess.

Friday is the school's winter fling. We have plenty of parental help signed up- which is nice. Oh, yeah... I have to sell tix to that tomorrow... See, it's all fun and games around here.

I best get my rear in gear - I have to be at school early to help set up for the luncheon.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Clearly, I was NOT Thinking Clearly

There are days that I worry about myself.

I take pictures for the high school band - we do a formal photo fundraiser. I take pix of the kids, have them processed, pass them out, and give the proceeds to the band. It's simple. It's easy.

I thought that since the ballet lady is having such a tough time of it, that I would do the same thing for her. This past weekend was Nutcracker and the costumes are wonderful.

Some of the parents thought it was a great idea to do the photos. They also didn't tell me who their kids are - like I know these 5 year olds?? Some of the parents didn't want to purchase a package - they wanted a few 4x6s and nothing else... umm, I don't have time for this! And... umm... it's $20 with shipping directly to your house... You get 1 8x10, 2 5x7, 4 4x6 and 8 wallets. Hello?? It's Christmas! It's a FUNDRAISER!!!

So... I took the photos. I think I got all the kids whose parents wanted pictures, but I'm really not sure.

Currently, I'm in the process of attempting to upload the photos. They have failed twice now. Why? I DON'T have ANY idea... grrr. Some of the parents want these pix for Christmas. I'm trying but I'm at the mercy of the internet gods...

Why DO I DO this to myself?
Don't answer that.

Just wish me luck and if you have a T-1 and you live close, can I borrow some band width?

The Ultimate Party Meatball

I don't know about you, but I love to throw a party... I just don't like to cook for said party. The the good people over at Mom Central sent me the ingredients to make the Ultimate Party Meatball.

I'm into simple. This recipe - oh, it's simple!!!

1 can of jellied cranberry sauce
1 jar of chili sauce
1 bag of precooked meatballs

Even I can do this!

How to cook: Dump the meatballs in the crockpot. Combine the cranberry and the chili sauce. Pour over meatballs. Cover and cook - I think 4 hours on high should do it. Oh so yummy!

These things are delicious!
I'm making them for our Christmas party this weekend.
If you are coming to the party, you'll have to be early if you want to try them. These meatballs are the kind of munchie that people huddle around and swill down. They are going to go really fast!

Need more quick and easy recipes? Try the Ultimate Party Meatball web site. They have many yummy recipes to choose from...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

I got this in an email and I couldn't help but share. Don't forget to read the fine print.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Happy Anniversary

19 years ago today, I said, "I do."

I'd do it all over again.

Here's to 19 more years of love and laughter.

Happy Anniversary, Mr.!

Need a Gift?

If you need a great gift for someone, I have the perfect place for you to find it:

The Mom Central Gift Guide.

This is awesome! You click on the box that corresponds to the person who needs a gift under the tree. There are gift ideas for everyone on your list - from toddlers to tweens, for him and her and even the family pet - in every price range.

If you want to win cool stuff - and there are winners every day - you might want to look into the Mom Central Gift Giveaway. To be eligible to win the daily prizes, you need to register on Mom Central, log-in, and leave a comment on the post. In addition, if you tweet or email friends about the giveaway, you can earn another entry! In order to earn the entry, you simply go back to the Mom Central Review blog and leave a second comment letting them know what you did to earn the entry. How cool is that?

Check it out!!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Gingerbread Houses

We did gingerbread houses yesterday with HP and his sister, The Dancing Princess.
The girls decided that they wanted to do one together - so that left the boys on their own.

WAY too much candy was consumed in the making of these confectionery delights, but that's part of the fun.

Both houses are beautiful and we had to pick from a hat to decide which one went home with DP and HP.

The Boys' Gingerbread House


The Girls' Gingerbread House

Sunday, December 07, 2008

It's Cooooold...

Yes, I know it is December.

On Friday, my car gave me a little grief when I started it in the garage. I took #1 to the bus stop and came home. I got in it to bring LLB to school and it moaned once before it turned over. I stopped to have coffee with R after dropping LLB. I parked it in the sun to keep it warm. After a lovely cup of cocoa, the car was dead. Not what I needed right then, but when I looked at the circumstances, it was the best place and time for it to die.

I called Grandpa for a jump. He brought his nifty charging thing. It didn't work. A nice guy in a big Toyota truck jumped me and sent me on my way. I went right to the dealer. It seems my battery was under warranty (since I had just replaced it in May of '07). Instead of $145, I paid $0. (It had a bad cell? whatever that means...) Yipppeeee!!! AND I still made it to my friend L's, for her brunch.

Friday night, LLB had a Casino Night birthday party at the Manassas Fairgrounds. Do you have any idea where that is? Nope... me neither. We found it and then Gram and I headed out for some shopping. We got some bargains, but the walk from the car to the stores was brutal. It was a bit frigid for my taste.

Parade day was COLD. As in really cold. As in the kids looked miserable in their many layers under their wool uniforms. It was that bitter cold that goes right through you.

I canceled my bells - I couldn't chance a crack. I'm sure the kids were disappointed, but I'm also sure that the parents were happy not to have to stand there waiting to see their kid walk by.

Gram and I braved the cold at 2 of the 3 parade venues. At the first venue, we left after the band went by on the premise that we had to get their lunch ready. Please note that we had their lunch ready in the fire house before we went to watch them. It was just too cold for us. At the last parade venue, we waited to see them go by and then we booked it back to the car. By then, it was beyond cold and into freezing.

On the way back to the car, Gram caught a root on her foot and fell down. I couldn't believe it!! Fortunately, she was bundled up like a kid in a snow suit with a bunch of layers and didn't get hurt - just a little muddy. As of 6pm last night - when we got home she was still fine.

Now, I'm sitting by my fire typing this. It is warm in here, but in a little while I'll have to go out in the cold to get to church. My church bells are playing this morning. I'd rather stay here curled up on my couch with my fire and a cup of tea -- and my TV.

This afternoon is gingerbread houses!! I'll post pictures, but it won't be today because this evening is the community band concert.

See - there is no rest for the wicked.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Excellent Advice

My friend, Chrissie, sent me this advice in an email. I thought it was too good not to share with all of you.

As the holidays begin, I wanted to pass these tips along to you.

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies or pralines in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:


"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Trumpets and Tunes

Well, the concert was last night.
LLB and S survived the Star Spangled Banner - although LLB dropped it an octave because playing in front of 250 people is a little daunting and down right scary!

Her Grinch solo was so cool!! She had a two or three measure solo in the middle of the piece. She did great!

Today LLB and HP are going to join the high school pep band after school. The eighth graders have been invited to play with the pep band at the basketball games. The one only rehearsal is this afternoon. The two of them are psyched about playing some wicked cool music. LLB got a preview of the music from the band director when we were at the high school to fetch #1 the other day. I can tell you - it's awesome!

It's too bad the eighth graders can't join the high schoolers for the parades on Saturday. #1 is playing in 3 parades - they are playing one song. By the time they get to the end of the 3rd parade, they will be really sick of Rudolph!! The color guard kids are dressing up like reindeer - complete with antlers. They are sooo cute! #1 and the rest of the instrumental kids are wearing Santa hats.

My school handbell ringers will be marching in one Christmas Parade on Saturday. I need it to warm up a little bit - if it is below 35, I don't want the bells out there. I have a couple that have been dropped (these are school kids and they are careful, but klutzy) and the cold can make them crack. (I know this from personal experience.) I can't afford to lose a bell right before our concert.

My church handbell group is ringing on Sunday for two services.
See, it's all music all of the time. But it IS the season.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Earning my 10%

Gram and I went shopping on Black Friday. It's one of our favorite - albeit crazy - traditions.

We were in Kohls. The line was incredibly long, but it was moving.
One of the store employee's job was to entertain those of us waiting oh so patiently. He had a stack of coupons in his hand and he basically dared us to do a certain thing to get the 10% coupon.

Now this coupon was for the entire purchase.

The first challenge was to sing "The National Anthem". Now, I will do almost anything for a discount, but mutilate our national anthem isn't one of them. I have scruples.

Then he was looking for a member of the armed forces. I didn't qualify for that one.

Finally he needed someone to sing "I'm a little teapot" with hand motions.
I'm so all over THAT!!!

Gram nudged me. "You can do THAT!"
I called out, "I'll do it!"

Gram started to chuckle. She knew this would be good.
That was one of the first songs I ever learned. Besides, I taught pre-school... AND I watched many many many episodes of Barney. If there's anything I know, it's this song.

I put on a performance worthy of an Oscar and a Tony.
I smiled. I emoted. I tipped over... I'm SOOO good!!

I earned that 10%.

When I got back in line, the guy behind me said, "What grade do you teach?"
I laughed, "I teach middle school."
Someone behind him said, "Ahhh... I KNEW it!"

Yup, those of us who teach middle school will do almost anything for a discount...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Oh the Stress...

Last week we had drama because LLB and two friends tried out for a trio to be played at tomorrow evening's concert. LLB has always had some sort of a part in the concerts. Her friend, S, has not. S plays baritone - there isn't a whole lot that is usually done in the solo/duet world with a baritone - Not that it's not possible, it's just not a "hot" instrument. I'm just sayin'....

Anyway, LLB and and S and her friend B - who also plays baritone - were passed over for their trio. LLB was VERY upset because her friends don't normally get to play this sort of thing and she wanted them to have a shot.

When they were passed over, I told her, "Just do me a favor - Do NOT try out for the Star Spangled Banner. My system can't take it. It's too stressful for me."

She assured me that she would honor my request, be happy with her Grinch solo, and move on.

The phone rings. I can see from the caller ID it is the school.
"Hello?"
"Hi Mommy."
"Hi LLB. What's up?"
"Umm... well.. um... You know how you told me not to try out for the SSB solo?"
"Yes."
"Well, S REALLY wanted to play a duet and so we tried out."
"Yes."
"And.. umm... we got it. Are you mad?"
"No, LLB, I'm very proud of you."
"K, well, I gotta go."

And there it is... The stress in my life is back. I get to freak out until she and S are finished with that most difficult most recognizable song ever.

At least it's the first song of the evening.
And then I can sit back and relax and wait for my kid to play The Grinch.

Monday, December 01, 2008

'Tis The Season

The tree is up.
It is beautiful.

LLB and I spent a long time hanging ornaments yesterday. We got help from Mr. after dinner. LLB was humming along to the music while she was stretched out under the tree hanging ornaments on the back and lower branches. I had to pull her out by her feet... That, my friends, is the stuff of which memories are made. We had a lovely time remembering each and every ornament - especially the particularly elementary ones.

Our special silver tree is up and decorated. It has all of our favorite ornaments on it including the glass reindeer I've had since college, the Lladro balls from the children's birth years, and a giraffe ballerina complete with toe shoes and tutu.

The presents that were purchased on Friday and Saturday during my hunting session are wrapped and under the tree. Most of the rest of the presents have been ordered and are being sent somewhere. I sure hope I sent the heavy stuff here and the light stuff to Nicole's. At this point I have no idea what is going where.

The Advent calendars are ready to go. LLB helped me put our new Playmobil Advent calendar together yesterday. It's the forest friends one... the animals are sooo cute! Our other Advent calendar is wooden and was a gift from Gram and Grandpa.

Almost all of the candles are in the windows... I'm missing 2 and I need batteries for the 2 in the garage - Those would be c sized batteries for those of you who would like to take care of that for me.

The stockings have been hung. Zeb's is ready to go. (We are leaving Zeb with a dear friend while we are gone to Nicole's. He has to have his stocking to open on Christmas day!)

The house is still pretty upside down. The tree coffin is standing in the hallway. The ornament boxes are piled in the living room. There are a few tissue remnants on the living room floor from when Poppy decided it would be fun to leap into our pile of ornament wrapping and fling it everywhere.

Oh.. and the gutters are clean. You didn't know that gutter cleaning was part of Christmas decorating, did you? My butt and my legs are still screaming from all the up and down the ladder I did on Saturday afternoon.

So.. what's left? After a couple of ibuprofen and a cup of tea, I have one more order to place and then I'm done. I have some things to wrap when they arrive, a house to get together, a couple of gingerbread houses to build, and a party to plan. We have the typical running around to do: concerts to attend, district auditions to get to, and Nutcracker to get through.

That said, I think I can sit back and enjoy the season.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Set Adrift by Lands End...

Lands' End is my favorite store. I shop there as frequently as my budget will allow. Their clothes are classic, good quality, and they fit me quite nicely. Gram happens to like their clothing very much, too.

Today I was shopping at Sears in the Lands' End department. They had peacoats on sale for 30% off. Gram has wanted one for quite some time and I thought it would make a great Christmas gift for her. She tried on a couple and we decided that she really needed the petite.
They didn't have anything in a petite.
She wanted black.
They only had navy blue.
We decided to try another store to see if maybe they might have what she wanted.
Nope.
I called Lands' End from the second store to request the coat be sent since they didn't have the size or the color in the store. I was told that I could have the coat, but not at the 30% off price.
You know... that's just not fair.

The coat is not an inexpensive item. The 30% discount comes to approximately $30.

We tried everything to find this coat.

If I want it, I'll have to pay full price.
I'm not sure I want it that badly.
The coat is lovely, but...
They did offer me free shipping.
Lucky me... I already have a code - one they sent me in this morning's email

So, Lands' End, my very full shopping cart sits at your website waiting to check out. You could have had a very lucrative sale had you honored the 30% discount. You would have more than made up the $30.

Hmmm... I wonder if LL has a peacoat.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. I'm telling you in advance, so don't act surprised. Since Ms. Stewart won't be coming, I've made a few small changes: Our sidewalk will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After a trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.

Once inside, our guests will note that the entry hall is not decorated with the swags of Indian corn and fall foliage I had planned to make. Instead, I've gotten the grandkids involved in the decorating by having them track in colorful autumn leaves from the front yard. The mud was their idea.

The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china, or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork. Since this IS Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the plastic Peter Rabbit plate and the Santa napkins from last Christmas. Our centerpiece will not be the tower of fresh fruit and flowers that I promised. Instead we will be displaying a hedgehog-like
decoration hand-crafted from the finest construction paper. The artist assures me it is a turkey.

We will be dining fashionably late. The children will entertain you while you wait. I'm sure they will be happy to share every choice comment I have made regarding Thanksgiving, pilgrims and the turkey hotline. Please remember that most of these comments were made at 5:00 a.m. upon discovering that the turkey was still hard enough to cut diamonds.

As accompaniment to the children's recital, I will play a recording of tribal drumming. If the children should mention that I don't own a recording of tribal drumming, or that tribal drumming sounds suspiciously like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, ignore them. They are lying.

We toyed with the idea of ringing a dainty silver bell to announce the start of our feast. In the end, we chose to keep our traditional method. We've also decided against a formal seating arrangement. When the smoke alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit where you like. In the spirit of harmony, we will ask the children to sit at a separate table.in a separate room.next door.

Now, I know you have all seen pictures of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. This will not be happening at our dinner. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in a private ceremony. I stress "private" meaning: Do not, under any circumstances, enter the kitchen to laugh at me. Do not send small,
unsuspecting children to check on my progress. I have an electric knife. The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that I will eventually win. When I do, we will eat. I would like to take this opportunity to remind my young diners that "passing the rolls" is not a football play. Nor is it a request to bean your sister in the head with warm tasty bread.

Before I forget, there is one last change. Instead of offering a choice between 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the traditional pumpkin pie, garnished with whipped cream and small fingerprints. You will still have a choice; take it or leave it.

Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. She probably won't come next year either. For that, I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Things I Learned in 8th Grade English and More

1. 8th grade boys can fart on demand.

2. 8th grade boy farts don't smell as bad as 55 year old man farts.

3. 8th grade girls think they can pass notes in class and not get caught.

4. 8th graders are not smart. If you are in the 3rd English class of the day, you should not tell the sub that the teacher gives you the answers. The sub knows that you lie!

5. 8th graders cannot stop talking.


Mr. sent me this in an email and I thought that my 8th grade English Students might learn a thing or two from it...

WISDOM ACCORDING TO LARRY THE CABLE GUY

1. A day without sunshine is like night.

2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.

3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

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

6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.

9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.

10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.

12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.

13. How many of you believe in psychokinesis? Raise my hand.

14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?

15. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?

18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

19. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?

20. Why do psychics have to ask you your name?

21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, 'What the heck happened?'

22. Just remember -- if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.

23. Light travels faster than sound.. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

24. Life isn't like a box of chocolates, it's more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Off to School

I'm off to sub for English at the middle school today.
Wish me luck!

Yesterday the high school band director and I went to see a possible band camp site. It was lovely. The cabins were nice. The field is new. The dining hall is not too far from the cabin site. If it were up to me, I'd say we are going... But it needs to go for a vote.

Tomorrow I'll fill you in on the rest of my life.
Have a great day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Weekend with Tim Waugh

(Hi Tim! I know you'll be reading this.)

We had the Area III Youth Festival in Richmond this past weekend. Tim Waugh was our clinician.

My school kids were pretty funny. They enjoyed Tim very much. They did say that they thought Tim was just some old guy until he turned around and they could see his pony tail. Then he became a cool old guy. LOL!

LLB came along with me just to ring under Tim's direction.

When I asked what she thought of the weekend, she told me that she would have liked the experience more if she could have had Tim Waugh be her teacher in a small group. (Yeah - and so would I...) She said there were too many people - you think 450 ringers is too many? - and that she would have liked to ask him some questions and even get closer to see better. She also told me she would have liked a little time to get to know him.

She enjoyed the way he made things fun and understandable - like that 5/4 - 6/8 sight reading piece. Tim showed us his thigh slapping, hand flipping, head nodding thing. She thought that even the kids back at school could understand that!

LLB is very slow to warm up to people.
Tim, you have made quite an impression and you have another HUGE fan!

Thanks for a great weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Getting My Stuff Together

The snacks are in the car.

The music is in the car. Well, the music that arrived anyway. It seems that I am 9 copies short for one piece because that piece is back ordered. I have the original receipt from the supplier with me and I've written in ink on the rehearsal copies that that piece is back ordered. It took me a month to get the first 10 copies. It will probably take me until spring to get the next 9.

The box of things from the printer is in the car.

The suitcase is packed - for the most part. Toothbrushes and hairbrushes and a couple of last minute items - like the pair of pants that are in the wash have to go in.

The PTO meeting went well. I have the email version of the newsletter ready to go.

The camera is charging.

I guess you could say that I'm almost ready...

The poop did hit the fan again yesterday - it seems that the coach is upset that these 3 girls are going to miss the sports banquet. She was so upset that she swore at my DOM. My boss is classy, though, and didn't give her what she deserved. She was gracious and told the coach that music is an academic subject for which these girls receive a grade and that if they miss the rehearsal, they will be behind for the rest of the event. The coach could care less... typical - if you ask me... The head of the Athletic Department wants the girls to go with us. I find that refreshing. He told the DOM that the girls could be honored at another time. That this banquet is really no big deal.

Yesterday afternoon the DOM came to us and asked us how far we wanted her to take this thing on principle. I threw my hands up. I really don't care.. but, they aren't kids from my class. The other teacher is going to fix their boats. She is re-assigning their bells!! They will be assigned to bells that don't ring often. They are not going to be rewarded for missing a rehearsal. She's slick!! It's an excellent solution.

Watching this unfold is almost better than a soap opera!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Knickers Untwisting...

Well, it's amazing what 24 hours - or so - can do!

It seems that I was not the only one who was upset that 3 of our students would be arriving late. It looks like the headmaster got in on the issue and guess what? He didn't like it either.

Part of the problem with these 3 kids arriving late is the drive. It is a long dark deer ridden road which they have to travel. It's one thing to have a parent take the responsibility - a totally different thing to let a very young coach do that.

The coach was trying to make it so the kids could participate in both activities.

Unfortunately she didn't think about the commitment issue. The second part of the problem. The kids committed to the festival back in September. The paperwork went home to the families on the first day of school. I had the registrations in and paid, the hotel reservations made, and chaperones lined up on September 15th.

So, the room assignments have been changed again - I haven't seen the list and right now, I don't much care who is in what room as long as they are all in a room with a parent.

I retrieved my paperwork from the printer yesterday afternoon. It is perfect!

I am only waiting on music to arrive from Jeffers. I will call them at 9 to see where they sent it. I asked them to send it to the house, but I kinda think they sent it to the school. It is probably in the black hole commonly known as: The Mail Room.

The laundry is done. LLB's clothing is in a pile waiting to be packed. I will pack the suitcases later today and be done with it. Tonight, after my PTO meeting, I will pack the car and heave a sigh of relief.

Tomorrow afternoon I will retrieve LLB from school and head to Richmond where I will meet the other volunteers for dinner. We will laugh, we will stuff packets, and we will enjoy the calm before the storm that is Friday. The best part of these events - spending time with people we enjoy but don't get to see very often. My roomie is from North Carolina and I only see her a couple times a year. We usually end up staying up WAY too late talking - and we talk fast! There's a lot to cover in very little time...

The weekend will be a blast! LLB is going to ring with Kath W.'s group and Tim Waugh is the clinician for the event. Tim is the reason she is going to this event. I want her to experience ringing under this phenomenal director.

As I've told her:
It's one thing to be directed by your mom...
It's a whole other thing to be directed by Tim Waugh!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coming Up For Air...

I've been so busy...
I'll fill you all in next week.

Here's a quick synopsis of my life:
Program Chair for Handbell Festival coming up this weekend. All flyers are at printer and should be ready by Wednesday. If not, I will puke!
Handbell Festival this weekend means that my school kids need to be ready to go... planning all of that and having a parent change all my room assignments, decide it was okay for some kids to arrive at midnight, and basically change my plans for me has my knickers in a twist. A big old twist!
My church handbell choir played in church on Sunday - they did great. Played Jazz Pizzicato and Joy & Elation.
Had HOA meeting at our house Sunday afternoon... involved food.
Took formal pix of band kids - two sittings because some of them were ill - and now they all have to be ordered and of course today and only today is free shipping.
New flute hit pavement last night when case opened by itself... It was closed when I put it in there, but somehow it opened. I was NOT happy - could have just cried. Flute is now on the way to the fixit shop.
PTO Chair - meeting this week as in tomorrow. Agenda not made. Going to wing it.
Assistant Principal tried to ask me to sub this week. I said NO.
Proud of me?
You should be.

Catch you all next week.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Best Chicken Recipe Ever

My Aunt sent me this chicken recipe in an email this morning.

This is a chicken recipe that also includes the use of popcorn as a stuffing -- imagine that. When I found this recipe, I thought it was perfect for people like me, who just are not sure how to tell when poultry is thoroughly cooked, but not dried out. Give this a try.

4 - 5 lb. Chicken
1 cup melted butter
1 cup stuffing (Pepperidge Farm is Good.)
1 cup uncooked popcorn (ORVILLE REDENBACHER'S LOW FAT)
Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush chicken well with melted butter, salt, and pepper.
Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan with the neck end toward the back of the oven. Listen for the popping sounds.

When the chicken's ass blows the oven door open and the chicken flies across the room, it's done.

And, you thought I couldn't cook...

The things we do...

Tonight is the last football game of the year. Can you hear me cheering?

Not only is tonight the last football game, it's away. Oh and did I mention that we have a competition in Allentown, PA tomorrow morning?
In order for us to make our step off time, we need to be at the school at...
2:30am.
Yes, that's 2:30 in the morning.
Yes... that's mighty early.

Because most of us live more than 30 minutes from the school, the band director took pity on us and decided to have a lock-in for the kids. So.. not only do we get to spend all evening and all day tomorrow with these lovely folks, we get to spend the night with them, too.

We get to sleep on the gym floor.
My #1 is sooo excited!
He lives for this stuff.
Me.. not so much.
My hip hurts just thinking about sleeping on that hard wood floor.

Because this venue is so far, Mr. is coming with us to be in the pit crew. He spent all of last year doing pit, but was off the hook this year because I'm Uniform Mom extraordinaire and LLB couldn't ride the bus due to lack of space.

Today and tomorrow - the man is back in the pit.

So, if you wake up in the middle of the night, think of us...
Sleeping on the gym floor and then on the bus.

It's all fun and games.... And next year, we're doing it as a family - all 4 of us!
Oooh... I can't wait!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thursday 13


Thirteen Things Ladybug is Thinking About Today


1. Kids make me crazy...

2. I took the band kids formal pictures LAST Friday. MANY of them didn't show up for me to take their picture.

3. I ran into some of their their parents and mentioned that they didn't come in.

4. It seems their progeny tried to pull a fast one.

5. I am going back in this Friday to take pictures of said progeny.

6. I'm only going because their parents asked me if I would.

7. Did I mention that this is a fundraiser?

8. Did I mention that I don't get anything for doing this besides a giant headache?

9. Speaking of fundraisers... Our band parents sell school spirit wear. It seems we have a monopoly on spirit wear at our school. The principal decides who is going to sell what. The band gets spirit wear. The Athletic Boosters get food. DECA gets draw string bags. Theater has their thing... the list goes on.

10. I arrived at last week's football game to discover that the Athletic Boosters were selling spirit wear IN FRONT of our concession stand. Excuse me??

11. When asked, the principal said that they were seniors. Yah... so? Does that mean that our band seniors can sell food in front of the Athletic Booster concession stand?

12. I think this may warrant a letter to the editor...

13. Anyone wanna help me write it?

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Back to the grind...

Today is Wednesday.
It will be a quiet day for me.
I'm going to do my bills, toss some laundry in, get my house in order, and if I'm lucky, I'll even watch a little TV. I have to teach my class this afternoon and then pick up LLB from school. Tonight, we are having a family dinner.

I'm not running anywhere.
I'm staying put - unless someone calls and wants to go to lunch. THAT, I can be talked into. :-)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The logic of it all...

Okay, I'm going to shoot my wad and then say nothing more.

First - It's not the government's job to take care of anyone. If the government has a "program" it just means that "someone" has had to pay for it. That "someone" - is you! The government only has as much money as it gets in taxes from YOU. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Second - Redistribution of wealth - that's socialism. You want to live in a socialist state? Go... leave my country the way it is.

Third - The Armed Forces protect our country and our freedom. The soldiers who are off fighting overseas are protecting our country. You want them home? They want to finish what they started. Just ask them.

Fourth - If you plan to tax businesses, guess what? Those businesses are going to raise their prices to cover the tax. Who ends up paying? The middle class... that would be you. So, you won't be paying taxes directly... but you'll be paying.


A friend sent me this - it's words from a bumper sticker:

I'll keep my freedom, my guns, and my money.
You can keep THE CHANGE"

I'm so there.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Narcisstic... You bet!

I got this in an email:

It was written by Ali Sina. I checked it out. I like what it says. It also makes me very nervous... Read it - all of it.

I must confess, I was not impressed by Sen. Barack Obama from the first time I saw him. At first I was excited to see a black candidate. He looked youthful, spoke well, appeared to be confident, a wholesome presidential package. I was put off soon, not just because of his shallowness but also because there was an air of haughtiness in his demeanor that was unsettling. His posture and his body language were louder than his empty words. Obama's speeches are unlike any political speech we have heard in American history. Never a politician in this land had such a quasi "religious" impact on so many people. The fact that Obama is a total incognito with zero accomplishment makes this inexplicable infatuation alarming. Obama is not an ordinary man. He is not a genius. In fact, he is quite ignorant on most important subjects. Barack Obama is a narcissist. Dr. Sam Vaknin, the author of "Malignant Self Love," also believes, "Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist."

Vaknin is a world authority on narcissism. He understands it and describes the inner mind of a narcissist like no other person. When he talks about narcissism everyone listens. Vaknin says that Obama's language, posture and demeanor, and the testimonies of his closest, nearest and dearest suggest that the Senator is either a narcissist or he may have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Narcissists project a grandiose but false image of themselves. Jim Jones, the charismatic leader of People's Temple, the man who led over 900 of his followers to cheerfully commit mass suicide and even murder their own children was also a narcissist. Charles Manson, Joseph Koni, Shoko Asahara, Joe Stalin, Saddam, Mao Zedong, Kim Jong IL, and Adolph Hitler are a few examples of narcissists of our time. All these men had a tremendous influence over their fanciers and followers. They created a personality cult around themselves, and with their blazing speeches elevated their admirer's souls, filled their hearts with enthusiasm and instilled in their minds a new zest for life. Those men gave their followers hope! They promised them the moon, but alas, they invariably brought them to their doom. When you are a victim of a cult of personality, you don't know it until it is too late.

One determining factor in the development of NPD is childhood abuse. "Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations," says Vaknin. "Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. His mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia, a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a stepfather. He was raised as an only child, full of himself and no others. He never had to share the spotlight with any siblings. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995."

One must never underestimate the manipulative genius of pathological narcissists. They project such an imposing personality that it overwhelms those around them. Charmed by the charisma of the narcissist, people become like clay in his hands. They cheerfully do his bidding and delight to be at his service. The narcissist shapes the world around him and reduces others in his own inverted image. He creates a cult of personality; his admirers become his co-dependents.

Narcissists have no interest in things that do not help them to reach their personal objectives. They are focused on one thing alone, and that is power. All other issues are meaningless to them and they do not want to waste their precious time on trivialities. Anything that does not help them is beneath them and does not deserve their attention. If an issue raised in the Senate does not help Obama in one way or another, he has no interest in it. The "Present" vote is a safe vote; he used the "Present" all the time as a member of the Illinois legislature. No one can criticize him if things go wrong. Why should he implicate himself in issues that may become controversial when they don't help him personally? Those issues are unworthy by their very nature because they are not about him.

Obama's election as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review led to a contract and an advance to write a book about race relations. The University of Chicago Law School provided him with a fellowship and an office to work on his book. The book took him a lot longer than expected and at the end it devolved into., guess what? His own autobiography! Instead of writing a scholarly paper focusing on race relations, for which he had been paid, Obama could not resist writing about his most sublime self. He entitled the book "Dreams from My Father."

Not surprisingly, Adolph Hitler also wrote his own autobiography when he was still nobody. So did Stalin. For a narcissist no subject is as important as his own self. Why would he waste his precious time and genius writing about insignificant things when he can write about such an august being as himself? Narcissists are often callous and even ruthless. As the norm, they lack conscience. This is evident from Obama's lack of interest in his own brother who lives on only one dollar per month. A man who lives in luxury, who takes a private jet to vacation in Hawaii, and who has raised nearly a half billion dollars for his campaign (something unprecedented in history) has no interest in the plight of his own brother. Why? His brother cannot be used for his ascent to power. A narcissist cares for no one but himself.

This election is like no other election in the history of America. The issues are insignificant compared to what is at stake. What can be more dangerous than having a man bereft of a conscience, a serial liar, and one who cannot distinguish his fantasies from reality as the leader of the free world?

I hate to sound alarmist, but one must be a fool if one is not alarmed. Many politicians are narcissists. They pose no threat to others. They are simply self-serving and selfish. [Witness Al Gore's Income Tax; it reveals that he gave away NO MONEY to charities, not even to a church!] Obama evinces symptoms of pathological narcissism, which is different from the run-of-the-mill narcissism of a Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton, for example. To him reality and fantasy are intertwined. This is a mental health issue, not just a character flaw. Pathological narcissists are dangerous because they look normal and even intelligent. It is this disguise that makes them treacherous. [Look up the word 'treachery.']

Today the Democrats have placed all their hopes in Obama. But this man could put an end to their party [and to this great nation]. The great majority of blacks have also decided to vote for Obama. Only a fool does not know that their support for him is racially driven.

Let us call a spade a spade [No pun intended]. This is racism, pure and simple. The truth is that, while everyone carries a misconceived collective guilt towards blacks for wrongs done centuries ago by a bygone people to a bygone people, the blacks carry a collective rancor, enmity or vendetta towards non-blacks, and to this day want to "stand up" to the white man. They seem to be stuck in 19th century [encouraged by race baiters like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and others].

The downside of this is, that if Obama turns out to be the disaster I predict, he will cause widespread resentment among the whites. The blacks are unlikely to give up their support of their man. Cultic mentality is pernicious and unrelenting. They will dig their heads deeper in the sand and blame Obama's detractors of racism. This will cause a backlash among the whites. The white supremacists will take advantage of the discontent and they will receive widespread support. I predict that in less than four years, racial tensions will increase to levels not seen since the turbulent 1960s. Obama will set the clock back decades. Americais the bastion of freedom. The peace of the world depends on the strength of America, and its weakness translates into the triumph of terrorism and victory of rogue nations. It is no wonder that Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, the Maoist Castroists, the Hezbollah, the Hamas, the lawyers of the Guantanamo terrorists, and virtually all sworn enemies of America are so thrilled by the prospect of "their man" in the White House. America is on the verge of destruction. There is no insanity greater than electing a pathological narcissist as president.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

One More Item...

You all know that I don't like to talk politics over here, but Norma - from Collecting My Thoughts - found an interesting article about Health Care that I think everyone should read BEFORE you cast your vote on Tuesday:


The article brings up a few key points including a fact that we, here at The Crossing, are very familiar with: Canada's health care system - how can I say this nicely??? - stinks. We have family in Canada. We have a family member who had to wait 6 months to get an MRI for a shoulder injury. We have another family member who had to wait longer for a CT scan. Here in the US, we get an MRI and or a CT scan the same day as the injury. We HAD family in Canada who died before they could get the testing/diagnosis that would have led to a cure. We found out post-mortem what they had and how easily their death could have been prevented. Do NOT tell me that socialized medicine works. It just doesn't.

Oh, and one more thing... Why do you think people from all over the world - including Canada and England - come to the US for health care? It certainly isn't because it's so awful...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wise Words...

A very dear friend of mine sent this to me this morning.
Read it.
Think about it.
It made sense way back then.
It still makes sense today.

Very wise words to heed during this or any political season

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

---Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Crazy Days

I'm going to try to fill you all in on the comings and goings around here. I only have about 5 min. to do it... so bear with me.

Friday - Lunch with a friend and then both of us went shopping for the food and punch for the Halloween Dance at the middle school.
The Halloween Dance was really fun for the kids. We took pictures of them in their costumes and had them vote on the teachers' pumpkin carving skills. Some of those pumpkins were pretty artistic... Not like I would have made.

After the dance, LLB had a trumpet lesson. I flew over there and dropped her off. Then I flew to the high school to get #1. I met the rest of the family at our favorite burger joint. *That was our first family meal last week.

Saturday - up at 6:30 and off to the high school to meet the band bus. Gone to a competition all day. They got 2nd place! And they increased their score by 10 points from the week before! This is huge. Arrived back at the high school at 2:15am. Arrived home at 3:17am. Was in bed at 3:23am and asleep 30 seconds after that.

Sunday - at church by 10 to rehearse for 11am service. 12:30 youth planning meeting. 5pm brought the neighborhood Halloween party. All afternoon I spent doing laundry. It's all fun and games around here.

Monday - Subbed for band teacher at middle school. His student teacher got hurt over the weekend so it was the Ladybug Show yesterday... and today. Those kids played and played and played. Heck - if they aren't playing they are talking and we can NOT have that! Left there at 2:30 to teach my own handbell class at the private school. Picked up LLB and headed to library and home for a few minutes. Fed the dog and took off for McDo and handbell rehearsal at church - my paying gig. Then LLB did part of the Community Band rehearsal. I had had enough. I pulled her out and we went home...

Tuesday - that would be today. I'm back at the middle school subbing for the band teacher again today. Wish the kids luck.... I've got plans for them! Bwahaha!!! They thought their lips were sore yesterday... they have no idea what I have in store for them today.

So. That's where I've been. I'll catch you all tomorrow, k?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, #1!

My #1 is 16 years old today.
He is a great kid who deserves nothing but the best.

This morning he opened his card. It was just a card. He told me that he thought a set of car keys would be in the card. He is funny! Trust me... there will be no car keys in birthday cards today. A car was not on the list he gave me. And if there was a car on the list, he'd be getting a matchbox car.

Happy Birthday, my boy!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stop MRSA Now!


Picture this:
You are in a public rest room. 4 people come out of the stalls. 3 people stop and wash their hands. The 4th person, fixes her hair and walks out the door. Disgusting? You bet! Dangerous? Yes! Extremely Dangerous...

Germs and bacteria are spread by touching something that is contaminated and then touching something else. MRSA - a type of Staph bacteria that is antibiotic resistant - is a particularly nasty bacteria that can be easily spread by touching contaminated items. This can be a door handle, a piece of gym equipment, or even a dirty shopping cart.

We need to Stop MRSA Now.

People can carry MRSA and not have any symptoms. These people can also transmit the bacteria to other people and have no idea that they are doing it. This is why we need to do a few things to protect ourselves from MRSA.

The first and easiest thing to do is WASH YOUR HANDS!
Wash your hands with warm water and SOAP - any kind of soap will do. It doesn't have to be antibacterial soap. Scrub for at lest 15 seconds. (Sing Happy Birthday if you can't count 15 Mississippis.) Oh and running the water and just putting the tips of your fingers under the stream - that doesn't count. You need to scrub.

Use a bleach and water solution to disinfect hard surfaces. Make sure to clean the cleaning cloths you use to avoid spreading MRSA. In other words, wash your cleaning rags.

If you have a cut or a boo-boo, keep it covered. Use a bandage - Scooby Doo (the most popular bandage at The Crossing) or Superman, or even a plain old pink bandage work quite well.

Do not share towels or razors. That's just asking for trouble! Besides, you don't want to wipe your face or your hands after someone else has used the same towel to wipe their hairy butt, do you? That's just gross!

If you go to the gym to use the machines, put a towel down to keep your skin away from the equipment. When you are done using the equipment, use the spray and clean off the machine. It only takes a couple of seconds. You may want to clean the machines before and after you use them. You can't be sure that the last person wiped it down when they were done...

MRSA can be stopped.
It's up to you.

Want more information? Stop MRSA Now.

Thanks to Mom Central for supporting this very important cause.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Food for Thought

There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind.
She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend.
He was always there for her.
She told her boyfriend, 'If I could only see the world, I will marry you.'

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her.
When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend.

He asked her,'Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?'
The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind.
The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her.
She hadn't expected that.
The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him.

Her boyfriend left in tears and days later wrote a note to her saying: 'Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine.'

This is how the human brain often works when our status changes.
Only a very few remember what life was like before, and who was always by their side in the most painful situations.

Life Is a Gift

Today before you say an unkind word - Think of someone who can't speak.

Before you complain about the taste of your food - Think of someone who has nothing to eat.

Before you complain about your husband or wife - Think of someone who's crying out to GOD for a companion.

Today before you complain about life - Think of someone who went too early to heaven.

Before whining about the distance you drive - Think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet..

And when you are tired and complain about your job - Think of the unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your job.

And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down - Put a smile on your face and think: you're alive and still around.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

30 Days to Natural

I try to be "green".
I recycle.
I'd like to do more - as I'm sure all of us would.
Mom Central has teamed up with Clorox and GreenWorks to promote a healthy cleaning lifestyle.

Check out the website!

They have daily tips on how to be a little bit greener. The tips can be delivered directly to your inbox every morning if you choose. Today's tip was about using reusable shopping bags. It was the gentle reminder I needed to put mine in my car - where they should be stored anyway.

There are videos - they are following 3 women for 30 days as they try to green up their homes and their lives. The women are average every day people. The videos are real. I enjoyed watching them and I think you will, too!

I don't like harsh chemicals or the residue that some of them leave behind. The new Greenworks cleaners are terrific. I tried the liquid dish washing soap. It is as good as any of the others I've used, it's natural, it doesn't leave my hands dry, and it smells pretty darned good, too! All of the GreenWorks products were developed using natural biodegradable ingredients that are free from petrochemicals. They were blind tested against the leading conventional cleaners. They clean as well or better - I'm not surprised!
I look forward to trying the other products - especially the glass cleaner.
Maybe I can be greener 30 days from now, too!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Retreat News

LLB and I went on her 8th grade retreat over the weekend. We drove up with R and HP.
It was a gorgeous weekend - the leaves are just starting to turn up there and the reds and oranges are simply beautiful.
The kids had a pretty good time. They did a scavenger hunt, sang songs, had a "Dump Dance" where you create your outfit from trash bags and tin foil, had an indoor camp fire, spent time with summer camp friends, and worshiped together.

I went up as a parent as did R. Our churches are tiny. We don't have youth leaders. Please let it be known far and wide that we don't EVER want to be youth leaders. Some of the larger churches have youth leaders who bring the kids up to this retreat. Those youth leaders want to be involved in what the kids are doing and they want to "spiritually fed" while they are there. Parents don't. We want to sit and enjoy the beauty that isn't laundry.

I expected to keep up with LLB - the only attendee from our church. I did not expect to have to spend time in small group discussion with the other adults or have to spend time chaperoning kids I don't know. (It was fine, but it was not what I expected.) I also expected to have my own child in my group during the scavenger hunt. Alas, that is not what happened. Fortunately, I got to see her a few times - I took her picture while she was doing the activities. I also got to hug her tight and tell her that "We follow the rules. I know other kids swapped groups, but you have to stay with your group." You know... this is supposed to be fun...

On Saturday afternoon, R and I did get to do some scrapbooking while the kids were on a hike up the mountain to the cross. We pulled a table out onto the porch of the house where we were staying, and enjoyed the sun, the weather, the leaves, and the time to sit and scrap. That, my friends, was simply wonderful...

The Dump Dance was awesome! They gave the kids 1 large black trash bag and 2 smaller kitchen can bags. The kids had to create an outfit with their trash bags and as much tin foil as they wanted. LLB made a dress out of the black bag and a sash out of the white ones. Tin foil was turned into bracelets. She was very attractive!
Some of the other kids were extremely creative. One girl traded her black bag for some extra white bags - she created a tutu by blowing up the white bags, attaching them to her waist and she completed the look by wrapping her torso in tin foil. The kids stayed in their costumes for the entire dance - they must have been hot because they all drank a ton of water. The music was great! I asked for the play list because it was so good.

All in all, I think LLB had a good time. There were a few things that she would have changed, but that's the way life is. She caught up with some camp friends, she met a couple of new kids, she sang a LOT, and she got to spend time at the place she loves. Who could ask for a better weekend?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What is the world coming to?

I have a friend who works in an elementary school. She teaches second grade. She is a dedicated, first class teacher.
She has child in her class that was supposed to take a note home to his parents. She told the child to put the note in his backpack and to show it to his parents. He put the note in the backpack, but didn't show his parents.
This went on for a couple of days.
At the end of the day, she taped a small note to the kid's sweater that said something to the effect, "Please see note in backpack." It was not a large note on his sweater. It was a small post-it sized note. It was not pinned to the child or his body. It was taped to the kid's sweater.
The child left her classroom and went to his after care classroom where he spent another 2.5 hours. Not one person said a thing. Not one teacher took off the note. The kid was not bothered by the note - because if he were, he would have taken it off. He played with his friends all afternoon without a single mention of the note on his sweater.

The next day, my friend got a call from the parent telling her that they were going to sue her and the school system for "psychological damage" to their child because she taped the note to the kid's sweater. They said the note was like a "scarlet letter". They told her they were going to the media. Obviously, they have not done that because if they had, you'd have heard about it and the issue would be over and done with...

The principal of the school, who had just met with my friend the afternoon before about her lesson plans and the goings on in her classroom and had only kudos for my friend, told my friend that she was now on administrative leave.
Just to be totally obnoxious, the parents of the kid turned my friend and her family into DSS. Fortunately, DSS has better things to do and and sent her a letter stating that they were not going to do anything about this issue because there is no issue.

That afternoon, my friend got an email totally unrelated to this issue from a parent. She typed up an answer and forwarded it to her idiot principal with a note stating that she wasn't sure if she should answer directly, but that if he would like to forward her answer that would be fine. He told her that the response she typed up was wonderful and that she could go ahead and send it to the parent. (Excuse me? Isn't she on administrative leave because she's such a bad teacher?)

My friend was then called into the Superintendent's office. He had never met her. He just told her that she was an awful person and that it would be best if she resigned. She has not yet resigned. I hope she doesn't. She didn't do anything wrong. She retained a lawyer who told her that the county did intend to go forward on her case and get rid of her.

So... she has 15 days to decide if she wants the issue investigated by a 3 member panel. She picks one member, the family picks one member and then those 2 members choose a 3rd. After that, they have 30 days to investigate and decide her fate.

She did not hurt the child; she did not rape the child; she simply taped a note to the kid's sweater.

So the county that this woman works for is going to lose a terrific teacher because of some stupid parent. The kids in her class are losing because their teacher isn't in the classroom - they have a long term sub. Oh, yes, that's so much better... NOT!

Those of you who teach in public school - don't tape notes to your kids' sweaters... It supposedly scars the kids for life.

So - what do you think? Should this teacher lose her job for taping a note to a kid's sweater?

Friday, October 10, 2008

He can still make me...

giggle!

Mr. rolled over to turn the alarm off.
As he did so he took 99% of the covers with him.
I said, "See... look where the covers are..."
His reply, "With their rightful owner."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thursday 13


Thirteen Things Ladybug is Thinking About Today


1. I have a dentist appointment today. I am desperately trying not to forget to go. It's at 11:30. That's a BAD time for remembering...

2. I went to my friend R's bell rehearsal on Tuesday. R is a saint to put up with that director. I was amazed at how the woman ran the rehearsal. She counted out loud, but didn't keep a steady beat. She sang.. OMG! Don't sing!! Singing is not helpful. :-)

3. The sad thing is that I invited that director to go to the Directors' Seminar so she could learn how to direct a bell choir (she's new to this stuff) - But she refused. There was a track for beginning directors and directors of new choirs. She really missed out.

4. The woman did ask me if I had any suggestions. I told her not to count that these people are adults and they can count for themselves. It would have been better if she were up front during the rehearsal, but she was trying to fill in for missing people. But, the group did much much better when she didn't count.

5. I think am going to go back next week. I feel like I can contribute positively and maybe get them on track for this year. I'm going to strongly suggest that their group attend an Area Festival so that they can all learn the basics. The Genesis track - for beginning choirs is exactly what they need.

6. LLB and I are headed off to the 8th grade retreat this weekend. We are both very excited to be going. We are going to drive up with R and HP. HP and LLB are the only 8th graders from their respective churches, so they've formed their own youth group. LOL!

7. This weekend is homecoming for #1. I'm kinda sad to be missing it, but he'll manage. He is going to be marching at the game on Friday - they gave him a special thing to do during the show that will be hysterically funny if it works right.

8. He's off to the dance on Saturday. Ahh... the social life of the high school student!

9. I'll have to make sure the old digital camera is loaded up with batteries and an empty memory card so that Mr. can take some pix for me.

10. I got a Wii Fit for my birthday! I LOVE it!

11. I love the step aerobics and the balance games the best. The strength exercises are great - I can feel my muscles working!

12. Hopefully I can lose my extra 10 pounds before we go to Nicole's for Christmas...

13. Well, I've got lists to make and bags to pack. If I don't post tomorrow, I'll post when we get back.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Responsibility

Why is it that some people sign up to do a task and then drop the ball? If you sign up to be the "Hospitality" person for the high school band, you best show up with food and do all the prep work before 8am on Saturday morning.

Needless to say, my friend C and I, spent 2 hours on Friday afternoon getting all the essentials that the band would need the following day. Where was the Hospitality person? Not there.

Did she even consider going on Thursday if she couldn't be there on Friday... ummm... no. She figured that the cups and forks pack themselves. Did she go get ice - free at the school - on Saturday morning so the kids would have cold water? Ummm... no... we did that, too.

Why did we do it? Because it's for the kids.
Was I annoyed? You bet!
Am I still annoyed... ummm.... yup.

I have my own job to do - Uniforms. I don't have time to do hers. That was the last time I'll do hers.

Oh and when one arrives at the competition site and it's time to set up the food - the hospitality person is supposed to work, not stand around and eat. The rest of the parents waited until all the kids had eaten before we even took a chip... Grr...

We packed the buses after the kids were done. We left the food table out. I was NOT packing that up. It's her job. I don't know who eventually did pack up that stuff, but I don't think I really want to know.

I was not my happy bubbly self yesterday and some of the parents and staff noticed. I was quiet. I was melancholy. I was not myself because this person didn't do her job and it irritated me. (And then she sat behind me on the bus and tried to yak at me the whole way.) I was conflicted. What to do... I didn't want to vent. I didn't want to make scene. I wanted her to shut up and leave me alone. Most of all, I wanted her to do her job.

Maybe her kid will quit...

Well, I can hope, can't I?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Busy...

So I survived my day in P.E.
I had one kid who tried to rattle me during my first class - Alas, I'm the mother of a teenaged boy... I cannot be rattled. I pointed right at him with my magic index finger and said, "Don't stahht!"
He was rattled...
It's nice to see I've still got it.

I had one little girl who wanted to switch teams. Ummm. No.
She tried. I caught her. I pointed right at her with that magic index finger of mine and, with the precision of Harry Potter and his wand, put her right back in her soccer field. Next time I'll try to fling her in the air...

Yesterday morning at approximately 7:18am, I got a call from the Assistant Principal. You know he was desperate when he asked me to sit in the Nurse's office for half the day. I have little tolerance for this crap. Unless you are bleeding from 10 places or puking, you best be in class... just ask my kids.
I had a kid puking right after she arrived at school - I sent her home!
A broken arm - This one got shipped out, too!
Then it quieted down a bit... I had a bloody nose, a half a dozen hang nails, an asthma inhaler usage, an ear ache, and 3 or 4 ice requests.
My favorite was this one - A kid came in and asked me for a mint... Are you kidding? A mint? LOL! Get to class.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Just Stuff

I got called into the Assistant Principal's office last week.
Don't worry... I didn't do anything bad - yet...
He asked me if I'd sub.
I said, "sure.. what class"
"Well, are you free on Thursday?"
"Thursday is my birthday. It depends... what class?"
"What do you think about P.E.?"
"You're funny. Really... what class."
"P.E."
"You obviously don't know my basketball story... Whose class?"
"Mr. S"
"Sure! LLB has him last period. I'm in!"
"Now... tell me your story."

In case you've all forgotten, I flunked the basketball practical exam in college... I got big fat 0. (Thank GOD for the written.)

Fortunately for me, they'll be playing soccer today. I wasn't much better at that and the coach let me stand down by the net - not in the net... near the net... I still don't know what I was doing.

Think they'll fire me before the end of the day for incompetence??

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


The first band competition of the year... they got 2nd place.
Next week they want 1st!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Celebrate!

I love a good party!
Kimberly - of Petroville fame - decided to throw a party for all of us who have late September or early October birthdays. We got together on Friday evening at a local thai place and had a great time! See:
These girls are the best!
We are all extremely busy so this was just what we needed. We laughed. We chatted. We caught up.
This is the absolute best way to turn 29 again!
Thanks, Kimberly!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Eau de Toilet

I don't like toilets that don't flush well.
I don't like toilets that talk to me - they never have anything good to say.
Most of all, I don't like toilets that puke all over my bathroom floor with effuse from an upstairs bathroom.
My downstairs toilet did all of those things to me yesterday.
We obviously have a blockage somewhere!
I have to disinfect that bathroom from top to bottom. Thus, I have a date with the bleach bottle today.

I saw the plumber at church yesterday.
I'm calling him this morning.
He already knows he will be paying a visit here today.
I just hope it's sooner rather than later.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday 13


Thirteen Things Ladybug is Thinking About Today


1. The school year has started off with a bang - both children are doing well.

2. #1 is on a block schedule and is getting his first report card on Monday.

3. I am working on a handbell festival.

4. I had to get 8 teachers.

5. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, the festival is the same weekend as the music educators conference. This happens every year...

6. I'm taking my school choir to this festival. I can only hope they will be able to play some of the music by the time we get there.

7. Why is it that children decide - at 9:15pm - that they need a poster (to advertise Friday's dance) made for tomorrow morning?

8. Angel caught a rodent. It is on the back deck. I'm so proud of her! Mr. holds the house record for rodent chucking.

10. #1 has his first band competition this weekend. I hope they are ready.

11. The worst they can do is 3rd place.

12. I spent the yesterday morning putting band uniforms together. We had just gotten them back from the cleaners.

13. Now, it seems that I can't be counted as a chaperone because LLB is coming with us on Saturday. So - I guess I get another year off. Gee... that's too bad, huh?

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's Story Time...

I got this story in an email from a dear friend. I thought I would share it with all of you.

A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said "I don't think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat."

"Is the man of the house home?", they asked.

"No", she replied. "He's out."

"Then we cannot come in", they replied.

In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened.

"Go tell them I am home and invite them in!"

The woman went out and invited the men in"

"We do not go into a House together," they replied.

"Why is that?" she asked.

One of the old men explained: "His name is Wealth," he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, "He is Success, and I am Love." Then he added, "Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home."

The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. "How nice!!", he said. "Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our home with wealth!"

His wife disagreed. "My dear, why don't we invite Success?"

Their daughter-in-law was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: "Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!"

"Let us heed our daughter-in-law's advice," said the husband to his wife.
"Go out and invite Love to be our guest."

The woman went out and asked the 3 old men, "Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest."

Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other 2 also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success: "I only invited Love, Why are you coming in?"

The old men replied together: "If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would've stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever He goes, we go with him. Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success!!!!!!"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Food For Thought...

Do you know the Preamble for your state?

Alabama 1901, Preamble We the people of the State of Alabama , Invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution.

Alaska 1956, Preamble We, the people of Alaska , Grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land.

Arizona 1911, Preamble We, the people of the State of Arizona , Grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution...

Arkansas 1874, Preamble We, the people of the State of Arkansas , Grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government...

California 1879, Preamble We, the People of the State of California , Grateful to Almighty God for our freedom...

Colorado 1876, Preamble We, the people of Colorado , With profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe...

Connecticut 1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy.

Delaware 1897, Preamble Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences.

Florida 1885, Preamble We, the people of the State of Florida , grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution...

Georgia 1777, Preamble We, the people of Georgia , Relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...

Hawaii 1959, Preamble We, the people of Hawaii , Grateful for Divine Guidance ... Establish this Constitution.

Idaho 1889, Preamble We, the people of the State of Idaho , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings.

Illinois 1870, Preamble We, the people of the state of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

Indiana 1851, Preamble We, the People of the State of Indiana , grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to choose our form of government.

Iowa 1857, Preamble We, the People of the State of Iowa , Grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings, establish this Constitution.

Kansas 1859, Preamble We, the people of Kansas , Grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges establish this Constitution.

Kentucky 1891, Preamble. We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties...

Louisiana 1921, Preamble We, the people of the State of Louisiana , grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.

Maine 1820, Preamble We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity. And imploring His aid and direction.

Maryland 1776, Preamble We, the people of the state of Maryland , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty...

Massachusetts 1780, Preamble We...the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe In the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction.

Michigan 1908, Preamble Le. We, the people of the State of Michigan , Grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom establish this Constitution.

Minnesota, 1857, Preamble We, the people of the State of Minnesota , Grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings:

Mississippi 1890, Preamble We, the people of Mississippi In convention assembled, grateful to Al mighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.

Missouri 1845, Preamble We, the people of Missouri , With profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness. Establish this Constitution...

Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana , grateful to Almighty God for the Blessings of liberty establish this Constitution.

Nebraska 1875, Preamble We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom. Establish this Constitution.

Nevada 1864, Preamble We the people of the State of Nevada , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, establish this Constitution...

New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.

New Jersey 1844, Preamble We, the people of the state of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.

New Mexico 1911, Preamble We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty.

New York 1846, Preamble We, the people of the State of New York , Grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.

North Carolina 1868, Preamble We the people of the state of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those...

North Dakota 1889, Preamble We, the people of North Dakota , Grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain...

Ohio 1852, Preamble We the people of the state of Ohio , Grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common...

Oklahoma 1907, Preamble Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty, establish this

Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences

Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble We, the people of Pennsylvania , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance...

Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the state of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing...

South Carolina, 1778, Preamble We, the people of he State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

South Dakota 1889, Preamble We, the people of South Dakota , Grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties.

Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience...

Texas 1845, Preamble We the People of the Republic of Texas , acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.

Utah 1896, Preamble Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution.

Vermont 1777, Preamble Whereas all government ought to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man.

Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator can be directed only by Reason and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other

Washington 1889, Preamble We the People of the State of Washington , grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution

West Virginia 1872, Preamble Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia Reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God ...

Wisconsin 1848, Preamble We, the people of Wisconsin , Grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility...

Wyoming 1890, Preamble We, the people of the State of Wyoming , Grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties, establish this Constitution.

After reviewing acknowledgments of God from all 50 state constitutions, one is faced with the prospect that maybe the ACLU and the out-of-control federal courts are wrong!

(Please note that at no time is anyone told that they MUST worship God.)

'Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.' - William Penn

GOD BLESS AMERICA