7/26/2012

Back to School

YS' last first full day of high school was yesterday.  Where did the time go?  I was going to look for a picture of his first day of Kindergarten, but didn't get around to it.  I'll have to put that on my "to do list" for tonight and post it tomorrow.

In our house, we don't let the first day go by without singing this song:



Guess that will be the last time I'll get to sing that song for them.  From here on, they'll be the ones torturing me with it!
Today & tomorrow are "optional" professional development days, then we're back "for real" on Monday.  Yep, it's definitely "Back to School" around here!

7/25/2012

Threading the Wednesday Hodgepodge


1. The Summer Olympics officially begin this Friday night...will you be watching? If you could see just one event in person which one would you pick?
I LOVE the Olympics!  For this one, I think I would pick swimming.  There are a couple of locals who made the teams.  Davis Tarwater went to high school in the big city; he originally didn't make the team, but Phelps decided that he didn't want to swim in a relay, so Tarwater got in.  It's a great story:  he was back in Charlotte when he got the call that he made it.
The other local is Claire Donahue.  She's from another small town in the next county over.

2.Do lazy days make you feel rested or unproductive?
It depends.  During the summer:  unproductive.  During the school year:  rested.

3. July 25th is 'officially' Threading the Needle Day...can you sew? On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being not at all and 10 being Betsy Ross-like, how would you rate your skill with a needle and thread?
Being the 6th girl (and the baby girl) in the family, I learned how to sew but it wasn't a necessity like it was with my older sisters.  I tell them that mom lost all her patience on them, so she didn't have any with me.  I can sew on a button and make minor repairs, but that's it, so I'd give myself a 2.

4. 'Threading the Needle' can also mean to walk a fine line between two things or issues (think awkward social situation). When was the last time you had to 'thread the needle', figuratively speaking?
I'm having a hard time with this one...and coming up with a whole lot of nothing.

5. Kidney, pinto, black, or navy...your favorite bean?
I don't like any of them just to eat.  For New Year's, I'll make pinto beans for luck, but will put them in Hoppin' John so I'm not eating them straight up.  I like kidney beans and black beans in other dishes.

6. Have you ever hosted a garage sale? Was it more success or bust?
When we moved from SC, we moved ourselves, so we sold a lot of stuff.  I think it was a success, but CH wasn't with me and I think he thought that I didn't ask enough for things.  Everything was sold, though!

7. What makes you roll your eyes?
CH's corny jokes.  Or, when he makes the same comment as he hands his id to the cashier. (something like, "the guy I got this from looks just like me")

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I took this picture last week when I thought we were about to get a storm:
I posted it on google+, and my brother said that it looked like an angry gorilla with white foam coming out of his mouth.  Can you see it?  (you may have to click on the picture so you can see a bigger view)  We ended up not even getting a drop.

7/24/2012

Small Town Politics

Here in the Small Town, we have an election coming up on Aug. 2nd.  The Small Town schools are overcrowded, partially due to what is called "tuition students".  In our county, we have a county school system, and 2 separate city schools.  If a parent who lives in the county wants their child to attend a city school, then they can pay tuition.  We've had tuition students ever since I can remember; it's just part of the Small Town Schools.  Tuition is next to nothing:  $500/year.  Yep, that's not a typo.  Right now, approximately 24% of students pay to attend a school in the Small Town.

The solution:  build a new, bigger high school so that the population can be shifted:  the elementary school will house Pre-K through 2nd grade, the middle school will house 3rd through 5th, the high school will house 6th through 8th, and the new high school will house 9th through 12th.  I had a lengthy discussion with the current director of schools, and the former director joined in the discussion at the end.  My thought is:  if we're overcrowded, get rid of the tuition students.  When we moved to the small town, we had a bit of a problem finding a house within the town's limits. (Yes, I started checking the obituaries for houses that had become available!)  When I questioned about what would happen if we found a house in the county, I was told that my oldest would be allowed to stay for the rest of the year, but then would have to go to a county school the next year due to overcrowding.  That still burns me up:  my child was going to be denied to continue at my alma mater, but yet other students were going to be allowed to pay to attend that school?  Luckily we found a house in the town's limits, so that wasn't an issue.  My point being:  if we had to find a house in the small town so the boys could go to school there, other people should have to as well.  The system can pick and choose the students when it comes to tuition students:  they are interviewed, and if they don't keep up their grades, behavior, and attendance, they're out.  So...it boils down to test scores.  My argument is that if tuition students were eliminated, the students will get more individual attention, which could raise their scores.  The counter-argument is that if the tuition students are eliminated, the courses that are offered now wouldn't be able to be offered due to lower enrollment.

When I graduated from Small Town High, there were a little over 300 students; 30 years (YIKES!) later, there are over 500.  The director said that they are anticipating that the new high school will hold around 1000, which should hold them for another 25 years.  He had some valid points.

Which brings me back to the election.  We will be voting on a sales tax increase to fund the new building.  The good thing is that anyone who shops or eats out in the small town will be funding the new building.  However, we've received a couple of flyers in the mail asking for support.  The flyer states, "If voters choose not to approve a half-cent sales tax, the only alternative to pay for the new high school is a 40 cent increase in the property tax that will be a burden for Small Town businesses and property owners."  That makes the property tax increase sound like it's a done deal if the sales tax doesn't pass,, right?  Well.  I talked to one of the city commissioners, and he said that the property tax increase would have to come before the commissioners, and he didn't think he could support it.  That makes me wonder how many people in the small town who have "vote yes" signs in their yard have been bullied into thinking their taxes are going to go up if the sales tax is defeated?  I spoke with someone in the small town government, and his explanation was that "the message is that if the sales tax is defeated, the new high school will not be built because no one in government will approve a property tax increase."  Uh...no.  I told him that the average citizen would not get that message because of how it's stated in the flyer.  The average citizen would take it to mean that if the sales tax increase doesn't pass, our property taxes are going up.  I'm thinking that maybe, just maybe, they should get an "average citizen" to read over things they send out before they're sent out to the population.

Will I vote for the sales tax increase?  When I began talking to the director of schools, I told him I was voting "no".  After listening to him, I told him I was a "maybe".  Now?  I just don't know.  The rebellious (and hormonal!) side of me says to vote "no" just to show them that I won't be bullied.  I'm just going to have to give it some more serious thought.

7/23/2012

Weekend Wrap-up



Weekend Wrap-up at a Defined Life

Time for another Weekend Wrap-up, hosted by Stefani at A Defined Life.  She's just getting this meme started, so please visit her and join along!
(Reminder:  you can click on any of the pictures to get a bigger view.)

Friday, I saw this butterfly on my butterfly bush:
 And then I saw this skink...shortly before Pepper caught it and dismembered it.
 YS & I drove up to the town where I went to undergrad school & spent the night.  The view from our hotel, looking toward the university:
Upon arriving at the hotel, we saw this:
 I didn't take it as a good sign, and figured the halls were going to be pretty noisy that night.  But, we didn't hear a peep!
This was on the headboards:
I was a little disturbed by it.  I would expect the duvet covers and sheets to be clean.  It's sad that Hampton Inn feels like they need to leave stickies to verify that they are.
We went up because OS' girlfriend (GF) had an art exhibition at a small gallery downtown. Here are a couple of her pictures:



She is so incredibly talented, and she had a very nice turnout for the reception.  
After the reception, YS & I went to Chili's with one of my sisters since she hadn't eaten.  The Presidente Raspberry Margaritas are to die for!  We had a nice visit, then YS & I went back to the hotel and crashed.
Saturday morning we had a little time to kill before we met OS, so we wandered around a Fresh Market that was nearby.  I was a bit surprised with the prices, but I guess you have to pay for fresh!
We looked around the campus of the university:
Alumni Plaza (This wasn't there when I was a student.)
This is something fairly new in the student center:
I say "fairly new", but I'm not sure how long it's been there.  It definitely wasn't there when I attended!  Anyway, this the first phrase of the Alma Mater.

I spent many hours sitting on the steps of this building:
And many hours on the porch of this former fraternity house, where I was a Little Sister.  It's probably a good thing that the walls can't talk!
We had a good visit with OS & GF over coffee, then we headed back to the small town.  
I got an email from the library on Saturday, letting me know that a book I had on hold was ready for download.  So, I spent most of Sunday reading this:
One of the things I like about James Patterson is that his books are a quick-read.  One of my sisters let me borrow the first book in a series to read, but I had to put that aside since I'm on a timeline with this book.
CH & I also went grocery shopping (yeah....not!), and MS & YS joined us for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant.
MS has been working at the big city's conference center for a Christian Youth Rally.  They had a concert on Thursday, and he said Chris Tomlin stood right behind him!  The sad thing is that he had no idea who Chris Tomlin (or any of the other groups) was.  He said that when they ate dinner, he was in the same room with all of the musicians.  He has no idea how close to greatness he was!

Join in A Defined Life and catch us up on your weekend!

7/20/2012

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

~  I spent yesterday at the Central Office for another PD.  We're chiseling down those 30 hours we need, bit by bit!  It was a good day...we got a lot accomplished!

~  Next Thursday is my "go back to work week".  We have 2 optional PD's on Thurs. & Fri.  After that, I'll only need 4 more hours.  I'm going to try to get a couple in through some freebies on the internet.

~  Laika was spayed yesterday, and CH wanted her dew claws removed.  It's going to cost more to have those claws removed than it did to have her spayed, with the bandages, antibiotics, and pain meds.  She was so happy going into the vet's office; I feel a bit guilty about what she went through when she got there!

~  Turns out ASHA (The American Speech-Language Hearing Association) is looking for a few bloggers to cover the national convention in Atlanta in November.  They're giving free registration for the lucky few that are chosen.  Our special education coordinator got our hopes up at the end of year with the "maybe there's a chance I can pay for some of you to go", but with budget cuts it doesn't look like that's going to happen.  I've never been to the National Convention before, so I've put in my application.  I don't think it's too promising, though, since my blog isn't a "professional" blog.  But, it never hurts to try, right?  The most they can do is tell me "no"!  

~  We had (what sounded like) a pretty bad storm last night.  The hickory nuts were hitting the roof near our bedroom like crazy!  I expected to get up this morning and see a lot of branches in the yard, but it was pretty clean when I let my old girls out.  I guess all of the dead branches had already been blown out by the last storm.

Have a wonderful weekend!  Don't forget to link up your frags to Mrs. 4444!

7/18/2012

Truly Wednesday Hodgepodge


1. The Summer Olympics begin next week and London is playing host. If you had the chance to go in person which (non-Olympic) London site would you most like to visit?
Have I mentioned that CH & I visited London last October?  And we loved it?  And we want to go back?  We hit most of the major landmarks, but we didn't get to actually go into Westminster Abbey, so I would pick that one.  And, I think we missed a few pubs, too!

2. What is something in your life right now that feels like an Olympic event?
The past couple of weeks, it's been taking care of Laika.  It's hard work to keep that big puppy out of trouble!

3. What's your favorite supper to prepare and serve when it's too hot to cook.
#1:  Going to a local restaurant that has "brewery" at the end of it's name!  
#2:  If we're going to stay home, then it would be chicken salad:  Perdue short cut Chicken, cream cheese, crushed pineapple, grapes, and almonds.  Easy peasy!

4. July 18th is National Get Out of the Doghouse Day...when was the last time you were 'in the doghouse'?
I thought I was going to be in the doghouse after I ripped off the top coat of the bathroom door when CH was gone, but I was able to "somewhat" fix it.

5. What television advertisement do you find particularly irritating or inappropriate? You may not answer with 'all of them'. I know some of you were thinking about 
I can't think of one.  I even slept on this question, and still don't have an answer.  I saw that the commercial where the woman says, "Shut the front door" was offensive to some mothers, and they thought that was inappropriate, but I actually thought it was quite funny.  Lighten up, people.  

6. Share one piece of interesting news from the year you were born.
I have to admit:  I looked this one up.  2 months, 2 days after I was born, Adolph Eichmann was hanged in Jerusalem.    From Wikipedia:
Eichmann was a German Nazi SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust. Because of his organizational talents and ideological reliability, Eichmann was charged by SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich with the task of facilitating and managing the logistics of mass deportation of Jews to ghettosand extermination camps in German-occupied Eastern Europe.
After the war, he fled to Argentina using a fraudulently obtained laissez-passer issued by the International Red Cross.[4][5] He lived in Argentina under a false identity, working for Mercedes-Benz until 1960. He was captured by Mossad operatives in Argentina and taken to Israel to face trial in an Israeli court on 15 criminal charges, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was found guilty and executed by hanging in 1962. He is the only person to have been executed in Israel on conviction by a civilian court.
7. What's the best part of your average day?
Dinner.  When all of the boys were home, that was the time of day that we were all together.  Even though most nights it's just CH, YS, & I, it's still nice to have that little bit of time together to talk about our day.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Last night was our monthly "special ed ladies' dinner", and it just so happened we had a birthday girl:
Our server was nice enough to put a candle in the middle of some Andes candies!  I guess Olive Garden isn't doing the complimentary piece of birthday cake any more!  She doesn't look 70, does she?  
I took some hilarious video of 2 of the ladies acting somewhat inappropriately:  one lady was attempting to throw a straw wrapper down another ladies' shirt.  I promised her that I would delete the video, so I'm going to honor that and not post it.  We are professionals, after all!  So, you'll have to make do with this picture that's not the best quality because our server took it with my camera phone:
Since I'm not going to be at the same school as a couple of the ladies, I'm really going to look forward to these monthly dinners!

7/17/2012

Weekend Wrap-Up



Weekend Wrap-up at a Defined Life

I KNOW there are some of you out there who write a weekend wrap-up on Mondays.  Why not join A Defined Life and see what others did during the weekend? It's a quick way to wrap it up!  
Click on collage for a bigger view!

~  YS came back from band camp on Friday.  It's a tradition for the band to perform their show for parents & friends after camp, followed by a dinner and pool party.  Yep, that's him on the stand: this year's drum major!  It was such a proud moment to see him up there for the first time!  I'm so proud of him!

~ 3-2-1 cake.  If you haven't heard of it, here are the details:  Get a cake mix.  Any cake mix.  Mix an Angel Food Cake Mix with it, and store in a ziplock bag.  When you're in the mood for cake but don't want to make a whole one, take 3 Tablespoons of cake mix, 2 Tablespoons of water, and stir it in a microwavable bowl.  Put it in the microwave for 1 minute.  (That makes up the 3-2-1.)  The directions say to let it sit for 15 minutes, but I wanted mine pretty warm, so I left it for about 12 minutes.  Then, you can top it with whatever you want, or not top it at all.  It was really good!

~  Laika and her "bottle toy".  She ripped the velcro off of it shortly after she got it, so it only takes her about 10 minutes to get the bottle out of the raccoon and demolish it.

~  Saturday I went to 10 stores looking for a comforter and came back with nothing.  Well, except for a couple of shirts, a jacket, a toothbrush holder for the boys' bathroom, and some stickers for school.  Sunday I went back to Target to see if I could find something, and this is what I came out with.  I wanted something that looked decent but wasn't expensive because of the dogs.  I'm pretty happy with what I found.  

~  CH arrived home from his big bike ride.  He's been gone for 16 days riding up to Newfoundland/Labrador.  With him & YS being gone last week, I had a nice quiet week pretty much all to myself.  It was nice, but I was ready for CH to be home.

~  Can you tell somebody else was happy for him to be home?  She has hardly left his side since he's been home!

~  I completely forgot to put this one in my collage!  Friday night I met one of my sisters and one of her friends to hear my oldest brother's band.  This was the first time I stayed for the whole 3 hours!  It was like a semi-high school reunion; there were a few people there from school.  It was a good time!

Okay, head over to Stefani's and join up!  The format is up to you, and obviously you don't need a "big girl camera" to participate!

7/13/2012

Friday Frags

Mommy's Idea

~  After the door debacle, I did some looking online and found out how to "fix" it.  What did we do before internet? Here's a before & after:
Not perfect, but with the towels, you can't tell:

~  Then, I decided to tackle a bookshelf that we got, oh, about 20 years ago that had never been stained:
Geez, if I had known how easy it was, I would've done it YEARS ago.

~  After lugging the bookcase up & down the stairs to the basement, then rearranging some furniture just to rearrange it back (because I didn't like the way it looked), I noticed a nagging in my back that was very much like the pain I had the day before my sciatica attack. Off to the chiropractor!  My back was fine the next day.

~  Probably not a great idea to watch a lot of HGTV when I have a week to myself!

~  The exciting news around here:
You can't tell who the guy with the swim cap is, but...it's Michael Phelps!  The USA Swim Team is in the big city practicing at the university.  The first lucky 1200 people got to go in and watch practice yesterday, and my SIL & their 3 kids were 4 of them!  (Shout out to my SIL who allowed me to use her picture!) There is a "local" (meaning area around big city) on the men's and women's team.  The guy on the men's team originally didn't think he made the team...in fact, he was in Charlotte on the way home when he found out that Phelps decided not to swim in one of the races, which meant he was in!  Talk about a rollercoaster of emotions!

~  I just had to laugh about an area boy winning gold in gymnastics during the Jr. Olympics.  In his interview, he said that his inspiration for wanting the gold was the promise of a pig.  I'm sure his parents didn't think he had much of a chance, and promised him a "teacup pig" if he brought home the gold.  I can't make this stuff up, folks!

Have a good weekend!

7/12/2012

Thursday "Things"

Here are a few of my favorite things I've seen on Facebook the past few weeks:




Hope at least one of these made you laugh!

7/11/2012

Hot & Steamy Wednesday Hodgepodge

 

1. How often do you check the weather? How do you check the weather?
On a "normal" day, I'll usually listen/watch the weather with my favorite meteorologist in the morning.  Just in case you forgot what a cutie he is, here's a reminder:
 I say "normal", because if there's a chance of snow (which equals snowday, a day off!) I'll look at it several times/day.  You've heard the saying, "If you don't like the weather, stick around 5 minutes and it will change"?  That is applicable to the area around the Small Town.  They could call for a blizzard one minute, and change it to rain the next.


2. Since this is volume 84 of the Wednesday Hodgepodge, and since I got married in 1984, and since I'm attending a wedding this weekend it only seems right to post something related here.

"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."

Agree or Disagree. Why?
I met my husband in Sept. of '83, and we got married in May, '84.  From Jan. to April, he was in Tx. going to Army Medic School, so we didn't even see each other for about 3 months of that.  We definitely didn't know each other's "defects", but after 28 years of marriage, I'd say it worked for us.  
3. Do you like to dance? Have you ever taken dance lessons?
In my house, yes, although the boys seem to be embarrassed even when there's no one around.  I've never taken dance lessons, and it shows!  I don't think it's this bad, though:


4. Fresh from the oven peach pie or home made peach ice cream? Pick one.
Not a big fan of peaches, either way.  If I had to pick one (which apparently I do!), I'd say pie.
5. Should people accept unfairness and learn to make the best of it?
ABSOLUTELY.  Not everything in life is fair:  put your big girl panties on and get on with it.
6. The top five all time summer movie blockbusters (released between May and August and grossing at least 100 million dollars) are-Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars (the original), Ghostbusters, and ET. Which one's your favorite?
Ghostbusters:  "We came, we saw, we kicked its a**!"

7. If given the chance, would you like to visit the moon?
Are you kidding?  There is so much of this world I haven't seen!
8. Insert your own random thought here.
Laika loves the game of "get on the couch and see if mama will give up".
 
As one of my sil said:  she's just all kind of cuteness!

7/10/2012

Weekend Wrap-up: a day late!



Weekend Wrap-up at a Defined Life

Apparently it's not too late to join in  with Stephani's Weekend Wrap-up!  I have no excuse for not getting this posted yesterday, other than pure laziness.  I'm really having a lazy summer this year!  And so, here's my wrap-up, as weak as it is!

 MS was so excited on Friday:  he went to the Habitat Store and got all this for $35!  6 button-downs, 2 polo-style shirts, 2 shorts, a bathing suit, Columbia long pants, and a camo vest.  All of the shirts are named-brands and look new.
Sunday, YS left for his last high school band camp.  It's a bit sad, knowing that this marks the beginning of his "high school lasts".
Crate training is going well with Laika.  After coming home last Sunday to some "minor" messes, I decided that enough is enough, and whether she likes it or not, she's going in the crate.  I think we're going to have to go up to the next size crate if she keeps growing.

I watched a LOT of this little tennis tournament last week.  See where I'm sitting in the Press Centre?  That's where the tennis players sit for their interviews post-match.  It was so cool to finally see it on tv, knowing that I've walked through the Centre and seen, with my own eyes, Henman Hill, Centre Court, Court 1, and everything else they showed on tv.  CH can't believe that I still get so emotional recalling that visit.  Definitely one of the highlights of my life so far!

Yesterday was a bit of a bummer.  We had a wooden bar with 3 pegs on our bathroom door for towels that I've hated since the first day I saw it.  CH had glued it to the door after it fell off with the weight of 2 towels.  So, I decided to try to get it off.  The result was a splintered door.  YIKES!  Then, I decided to go ahead and put the over the door towel rack together.  Things were going great, but then one of the screws wouldn't go in because the hole wasn't big enough.  At that point, I was really frustrated, and decided to just give up.  After looking online, I "think" I can fix the door good enough to repaint it, which was my initial goal.  If that doesn't work, I guess we'll get a new door.  So...I'm off this morning to exchange the towel rack, and buy wood glue and wood putty.  Fingers crossed, everyone!

It's not to late to get involved in the Weekend Wrap-up

7/02/2012

Weekend Wrap-up



Weekend Wrap-up at a Defined Life

Joining Stephani with Weekend Wrap-up!

Salted Dulce de Leche Swirl Brownies.  YS didn't like them...I probably put just a little too much salt on the top.
CH off for a bike ride.
Cades Cove.  One of my favorite places on earth.  I probably have a million pictures, but every time I go, I have to take more.  We saw the deer just as we entered the cove.  The next 3 pictures:  John Oliver's Cabin and a couple of views in the Cove.
My dad's sister and her daughter were in for the weekend.  Bottom left:  the sister that gives me stuff with my cousin, who is also my birthday buddy.  Bottom middle:  a fly had gotten in the house, and my dad & aunt were on the hunt.  Bottom right:  cousin, parents, and aunt.
Check out Stephani's new link-up!  She's just getting it started, and would love to meet you!
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