Monday, September 29, 2008

Cough, Sputter and Belly Laugh

Two things happened last week that each gave me a moment of pause.

The first happened while I was driving to work. I didn't have to be at school until a little before 12:00 so I stopped at Dairy Queen on the way out of town (I was driving about 20 miles to Blessing) to get lunch because I'm honestly too lazy to make something here at the house. Back to the story. I got my kid's meal -- two chicken strips, a small fries and a diet coke and drove off.

To me this is an easy meal to eat on the road. Who cares if there is a little grease on the steering wheel. Shhhhh don't tell Robert. I had gone just a little ways munching fries and chicken when a song I like came on the radio and I began to sing along. Problem now occurred. As I started to sing, I sucked in air and a small piece of the chicken too. This is not an uncommon experience. I usually go into a coughing fit and every thing is fine. This time was different.

NO AIR --- I couldn't breath. I pulled the car over and turned the flashers on. I was in panic mode. Honestly -- NO AIR! I was trying to remember if I had ever read anything about giving yourself the Heimlich maneuver in all those email I get about what to do when..... Nothing -- but I knew I needed to do something so I gave a haw forcing the air up as best I could. It worked! Praise God it worked! I felt the piece of chicken come up followed by gulping air and coughing. Whew, back to the coughing, chocking thing I'm familiar with. I sat there for several more minutes coughing so hard I was crying, but I was getting air. I recovered quickly and by the time I had driven to work I had all but forgotten the incident.

Now the moment of pause. As I drove off I began to play that *I wonder game*. I wonder how long it would have been before someone would have stopped to see what was wrong, or I wonder how long it would have been before Robert came looking for me, or I wonder what the school would have done when I didn't answer my cell phone. I'm good at the I wonder game.

The other moment of pause came after reading a post by Velvet Verbosity about a challenge to women's magazines to stop airbrushing models on their covers and in articles. To let us see them as they are. All of it in an attempt to help us have better self-images. You can link to her article here for more information and how you can join the effort. All I could do was laugh. Not at the article, but at me.

What brought on that laughing is that the very day I read her blog I had forked over an extra $40.00 to have the church directory picture Robert and I had just had taken enhanced --- yep, wrinkles reduced, skin smoothed, teeth whitened --- everything they could do to make me (and him) look better was to be done. Maybe I'm more influenced by those perfect models than I like to admit.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

100 Word Challenge --- Moral

Each week Velvet Verbosity issues a word and a challenge to write 100 words. She sets no boundries except 100 words (and even then she is lenient). Some have continuing stories that intertwine the new word into them, and some have stand alone narratives. Others write poetry or prose with deep meaning. All are interesting and worth reading. Below is my humble attempt at this weeks word -- Moral.

“Just get something and stick it in your bag. Shit, Ms. SmartyAss over there is watching like she thinks we’re up to somethin’. You’ve gotta distract her.”

“I gotta to do what? Why?”

“Shhhhh. We’ll get caught if you act chicken. Now go ask were the toothpaste or somethin’ is.”

“Can I help you girls find something?”

“No ma’am. We’re fine.”

“Why’d you say that? Man I can’t believe you ain’t never done this. Everyone does it. ‘Sides they expect us too.”

“Yea, well my granny don’t expect it. I’m not stealing anything and you’d better just put that stuff back. She says we’ve got to have morals.”

Friday, September 26, 2008

Photo Hunt -- View

This week's theme is view. The view you see below was taken as passengers were leaving the ship, Ecstasy, in Cozumel for adventures of all kinds. The shot captures a dizzying look down the stair well as we wound round and down from the Riviera deck.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Haiku Friday --- Tribute to Summer

Haiku Friday

My summer will officially be ending October 6. I may or may not be posting as often after I begin working full time again. Who knows. I may actually have more to say. Below is my tribute to summer.

Today I will be going back to substitute in a second grade classroom, but only for the few hours in the afternoon. This means I will probably teach math and science and social studies. Discussion classes. It should be a good afternoon. This is a class I haven't been in before so I have new names and faces to learn and hopefully will gather up a few more hugs.

The job starting in October will involve working with students in third, fourth, and fifth grades at risk of not passing the TAKS test in reading and/or math. The students are identified from their test the previous year and teacher assesment after the first six weeks of school. I never know for sure how many I will be working with, but we try to keep the number to about five. So I have groups of five for about thirty minutes each or possibly be in the classroom with the students and assist that way. We have done it both ways, and I'm not sure which way the teachers are thinking this year. I'll find out soon enough.

Thursday Thirteen #12 --- One Too Many Drinks

My Thursday Thirteen was not created by me this week. I recieved it via email, but found it too funny and too true not to pass along. I think I am extremely guilty of number two and number six. But then I don't have to be drinking to do them.













13. This one is up to you. What is that really embarrassing thing that happens every time you tip the bottle just a little too many times?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Me --- Second Grade --- A Rant

I was back in second grade today --- different school, different group of students but still I got hugs and sweet comments. I love second grade. They already know how to read, do math and write. You just have to hone those skills; open more doors and pour in more knowledge. But I don't regret having spent only one year as a second grade teacher. That was a long year with thirty-six student (and no aide). Plus I've had the priviledge of teaching students of all ages and although I have my favorites I really feel like teaching is teaching and when done right student will learn. It is just easier to do it right in some situations than in others. That situation being class size. I'm glad Texas realized after I had my thirty-six that in primary grades that is too many students for one teacher and reduced the class size to twenty-two, but I'm here to say that even that is too many.

Most of my career was spent teaching language arts in third, fourth, and fifth grades. I actually spent ten years in third grade with class sizes of fifteen to twenty students before husbands job change created a job change necessity for me. [ Come to think if it all my job changes have been because of his job changes. ] When we moved to Texline, a huge metropolis of 400 people, I was the language arts teacher for fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. I had one class at each grade level with 10 to 15 students each and taught them in 90 minute blocks. I also had the fourth grade science class for those who do the math and don't come with enough hours of work. I really enjoyed that teaching situation. I basically had the same students for three years and in that length of time I could pretty well get across to them what I felt the state of Texas wanted them to know. I taught there for about 10 years. The other ten years were spent in various schools doing various jobs. I was the Title I teacher for about 5 years at Fort Elliot, a school with a total population of about 100 student. Yes, all the classes were small. During that time I also taught seventh or eighth grade English, a speech class to high school freshmen, and was an axillary teacher. In other words I taught whatever class I was needed to teach in high school when a single student moved in and needed a class that wouldn't work into the schedule any other way. I taught a biology class, an economics class and a junior English class. Those other five years is when I taught first grade, second grade and even music one semester (which counted as a year for retirement).

You can tell from my experiences that I am, at least in my mind, a bit of an expert. I've had classes of all sizes. I didn't like extremely small classes. One fourth grade only had five students and it was hard to make independent workers out of them. I was too easily accessible and discussion were a little weak, too. But thirty-six even twenty-two is too many. The best class size is from 10 to 15. You can do group work and then share the results so that everyone benefits from the work of others. You have time to get to each student when they need help, but there are enough students that they have to do somethings on their own, becoming that independent worker/thinker.

When I subbed for second grade last week there were thirteen students in the class. That thirteen was a mixed group; some high achievers, some low and some in the middle plus those sturggling with English as a second language and some native speakers who never hear it spoken correctly, ect. But I got around to every student --- in one day I knew something about each one. Today's class had the same sort of mix; the difference was that in today's classroom there were twenty-two students. I found it was hard to get around to every student in the short time we had to do each assignment. I found it hard to learn all their names or even call them by name. I'm sad to admit it, but there is probably some student that didn't even get called on. They were well behaved for me, they wanted to please and again I put smiley faces on their papers for their efforts, but it took so much longer to get around that by the time you got to the last student it had lost part of its effectiveness. To the teacher of that class my heart goes out. She gets the same pay and the same amount of prep time but has nearly twice the student. Yet I know that at the end of the year both groups will be going to third grade, both groups will still have high and low achievers, both groups will still have students struggling with English as a second language, and both classes will still have students who parents aren't really helping.

Knowing all this, I understand a little better the desire of many parents to home school their children. I've never been a huge proponent of home schooling, but I have always said it was the parents' responsibly to make sure their child is getting the best education possible. My only request as a public school teacher (and I still consider myself a public school teacher even though I'm retired) is that you get a good curriculum and follow it. Set a high standard for your child, put them in groups so they have to interact and exchange ideas, get them involved socially. All those things matter. Learning is so much more than just book facts.

For all those who can't home school or afford to send your child to a private school with small class enrollments then I say start talking it up to the powers who be --- classes sizes need to be smaller even now. Yes, the twenty-two is better, but we need them smaller, and not just in primary grades but at least through junior high. Whine, complain, gripe, be heard at school meetings --- remember it is the squeaky wheel that gets some grease.

I think I just preached to the choir.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fall Began Today ---- And the New TV Season Is Here!

Yeah! The new season of TV has started. I love television --- the sitcoms, the dramas, the reality shows. I'm a TV junkie really. I get sucked in very easily and enjoy it all.

Tonight I sat on the couch for three hours next to my hubby watching meaningless shows. One network (I think CBS) is even advertising this as Stay Home and Watch TV week and I'm all for it. I just realized, too, that during the three hours I didn't see a single political ad --- what a refreshing, wonderful evening --- and no news about the plight of those suffering from Ike --- that may sound insensitive, but come on I need a break.

Curious what held my attention for three hours. The silliness of Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and Two and a Half Men followed by thirty minutes of Dancing with the Stars and then the drama of CSI Miami. Three hours of total mind numbing nothingness. I loved it. I will probably do the same thing tomorrow evening with more of the new season premiers of old favorites or new series. This is my favorite time of year.

The only problem is that our vcr went out and we are either going to have to buy a new one or upgrade to that tivo or whatever thingy so that we can record one station while watching another. I know that later on in the week we have favorites that come on opposite each other. Maybe tomorrow I'd better look into that.

And it wasn't until just now that I even remembered that Monday Night Football is on over on ESPN. Wow --- to forget about football. Mind numbing TV I say.

Must go the boob tube is calling. The addiction is strong.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

100 Word Challenge --- Yearning

This week's challenge word from Velvet Verbosity is Yearning. The following came to me after watching all the reports about Ike -- The Recovery. Many groups have answered the call for help, the call to be involved in the recovery. Texas Baptist Men is one such group. This is group the church I attend is actively involved with. We have men going out regularly to help in diasters or even when the need is just an individual who has fallen on hard times and needs a helpling hand.

He stood with the others mumbling the words of the song “Set my soul afire, Lord, …” He began to feel a tugging that he had never felt before in all those years of attending church. Was God was calling him? Surely not him. He had no talent. He couldn’t do anything special. But there it was growing inside him a yearning to help, to be involved, to make a difference. He heard another song on top of the one being sung “Yes, Lord, yes to your will and to your way.” It was clear, he could meet the challenge. God would show him the way.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Photo Hunter -- Road

When looking through my pictures to find the perfect picture of a road, I came across these two picture I took while aboard the cruise ship, Ecstasy. The first was taken from the bow of the ship, the second from the stern.
From the bow there doesn't seem to be a road -- just endless choices much like we have in life. The captain of the ship decides the course we will sail to reach our destination. In life we must decide what *road* to take to reach our goals.

But from the stern of the ship it is easy to see the course that was sailed, the road the ship followed. A wake is left. In our life if we look back, we too, can clearly see where we have been. The path is marked by our treading on it and other can follow.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Haiku Friday --- Shameless

Haiku Friday

From a hobby dear
Comes 'Gladly the Cross-eyed Bear'.
Each one quite unique.

Fifty -- maybe more --
Bears whose eyes stitched in a cross
My creations are.

Most have found a home
Given as a gift or sold
To be hugged and loved.

Four still need a home.
Living with me until a time
For them love is found.

New bear underway
A commissioned one to make.
With deadline to meet.

So blogging must cease
And creating must begin
From cloth comes a bear.

I warned you this haiku was shameless. :)

This is a sampling of what my "Gladly the Cross-eyed Bear looks like. I don't happen to have any of these particular bears on hand now. They have all found loving arms to hold them. However, if you are interested in purchasing one I have available or in having one made for you contact me at with Gladly Bear on the subject line for more information. Each bear is about 18 inches when laid out and about 12" sitting.

Thursday Thirteen #11 Authors/Books I've Read

This week's Thursday Thirteen is about books I've read. I enjoy reading and read a variety of types of books albeit they tend to be fiction more than non-fiction or self-help varieties. If you stick a book in my hand and make any comment good or bad I'll read the book cover to cover. I'm not one to put a book down until it is finished even if it is going no where. I keep reading just to give the author a chance. Also when I read an author I like, I usually will read everything I can find by that author until I become totally board with the predictability of his writing. This list pretty well spans the past 30 years with a few thrown in from school and college just because the fact that I can remember them at all says that they impressed me in some way.

1. The first book I actually remember reading is On Your Toes Susie by Lee Wydham. This book was first published in 1958. I think I was in about third grade when I read about Susie. She was taking ballet classes and was learning *to go on point*. I wanted so badly to take ballet after reading this book and sometimes I still want to take ballet because of this book.

2. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens introduced me to a time and place far removed from my world. I think it was then that I fell in love with what seemed like a magical era. When life was hard, but people were simpler in many ways and just as complex in others. I'm in the process of re-reading this book. It's been too long.

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The following quote says it all for me. Why is Pride and Prejudice such an enduring favorite? To the romantic, it’s a love story par excellence! To lovers of fiction, it’s story telling at its best. To linguists, it’s poetry in flowing prose. To lovers of life, its an embodiment of joie de vivre. To seekers of knowledge, it’s wisdom personified. I read Pride and Prejudice in high school and I think at that time became a hopeless romantic. I also read Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Love and Friendship.

The next books or series of books are in no particular order. They are all just authors and series I've read.

4. Colleen McCullough's series Masters of Rome consumed much of my reading time for several years and then I read several of her shorter novels. First Man in Rome, The Grass Crown, Ceasar's Women plus The Thornbirds, A Creed for the Third Millenium, and Morgan's Run.

5. And because I love going back in time I decided to go way back with Jean Auel and read Clan of the Cave Bear. Of course then I followed Ayla through the other four books in the series.

6. John Grisham has occupied much of my time also. I think I've read about everything he has written up until about three years ago. I got a little board with his writing until I read Skipping Christmas, A Painted House, and Bleachers which were a welcome break from the courtroom and drama surround it. I'd say if you don't think you are a Grisham fan but haven't read those three books then you have missed the best of his works.

7. For a quick read that is light and delightful I look for what I call a *Cat Who* book. These are the stories by Lilian Jackson. Each book is titled The Cat Who ..... Each is about the antics of two Siamese cats who live with Jim Qwilleran and solve mysteries. Just this past cruise I finished my Danielle Steele book and went to the ship's library (yes there is a library on a cruise ship) and picked up one of the Cat Who books and had it finished in a day and that was while I was doing other ship things. :)

8. Because of my hubby I have read several of Tony Hillerman's books. Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee are comfortable friends to me in titles such as The Blessing Way, Listening Woman, or The Wailing Wind just to name three. Always a good read.

9. I also read the complete Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. This took an agonizing long time because I was reading each book as it was published and then had to wait for the next one to come out. Not a really great way to read a series (again my humble opinion.)

10. I have read Tom Clancy, but I have a hard time doing so. His books are scary to me. Too real and the possibilities are actually there. They tend to give me night mare. But they are intriguing.

11. I read some Dean Koontz. I enjoyed The Husband. I picked it up because of the title and the synopsis on the back -- lots of good twists. :) Others I've read by Koontz are his Odd Thomas series, well two of them. Might eventually read the third.

12. On of my favorite books is Insomnia by Stephen King. It is scary and funny at the same time. The main characters are older people who just keep on going and going. I think one of the funny parts of the book is when he was trying to find a cure for his insomnia and people kept giving him home remedies. This book just tickled my funny bone and I've revisited parts of it several times.

13. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown was a great read. I couldn't figure out what all the whoop la was about. It's fiction folks --- based maybe on a few facts, but FICTION! Get a grip.

*There are others that keep popping into my head that I'll have to save for another time. This is just a sampling of what I read.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday -- Jelly Fish at Progreso, Mexico

The following were taken next to the ship, Ecstasy, while in port at Progreso, Mexico, September 10, 2008.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Michael, Are You Paying Attention?" or A Day in Second Grade

Going round the room their names were Zoe, Ray, Destiny, Robert, Ariana, Serina, Elias, Reagan, Kevin, Sirena, Taylor and Michael. All in second grade and all eager to ---- be anywhere but there. But then again willing to work for smiley faces; which, I have learned to lavish upon students in lower grades generously by drawing one on whatever paper they have out--- You're in your seat, smiley face. You've put your name on your paper, smiley face. You were listening, smiley. You were not asking for a smiley face, smiley face. It doesn't take long to have them eating out of your hand for smiley faces, and waiting for them to be given out.
I got the call to *pleeeeassssse* come at about 8:05 a.m. It seems the person who had been lined up to come sub several days ago didn't show up this morning. (Wonder if she'll be called again?)
I was sitting here at the computer reading post by two of my favorite posters, unshowered from the morning walk and just really not planning much for today. Boy, that changed quickly. The school I was asked to come to is about 8 miles from the house so I asked for about 45 minutes -- I figured I could make it in under that time, but didn't want a speeding ticket on the way. :) The secretary, who was super nice, said not to rush but get there asap. I did.
An aide had the class well in hand when I arrived and I was able to just step in with them doing a math assessment paper. It didn't take long for me to learn the names of these 12 children. For the most part they are a great little group, but there were a couple of things I bet I said a hundred time (and that isn't much of an exaggeration) "Michael sit down, Michael get busy, Michael , Michael, Michael. "
And then there was the name thing with the two [suh reen ah] s. They were very quick to point out the difference in the spelling of their names and would I please keep that in mind today. Like I was going to have occasion to write them. I assured them that I would try hard not to mix them up. Fortunately they both are good little students and I had no reason to ever write their names.
Oh, and for the record Reagan and Taylor were both girls. When handed a class roll without the students being there that is always a tough one --- boy or girl?
I've decided I like subbing in first and second grade. The students love you. They want to please you (for the most part) and their little minds are like sponges (for the most part). I had a good time and enjoyed the hugs, and compliments, and comments like "This was the best day of school ever." I'm sure tomorrow will be the best day of school ever too for this child, but it was good to hear and I think I'll just savor it a while.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Righteous Indignation

Right now I'm feeling a little righteous indignation! I just took an online test about your real age --- I should have know better, but a few years ago I took this same test and was about 5 years younger than my chronological age.
Well, when I took their stupid test today, thinking man, I bet I'm at least 5 years younger than my actual age, Robert and I have been walking, we just got home from vacation and all is good. You can tell where this is going can't you. I answered all the questions honestly (part of me wanted to lie, but I didn't) and then the site had the nerve to tell me I am 4.6 years OLDER than my chronological age!!!!!!
Now part of their reasoning for being older than I am just pretty well sucks! I'm older because I don't have a dog, my mother-in-law died, I don't eat enough fiber, I don't know my blood pressure and an aunt had breast cancer. Looking at that list I think I might have control over two of them. I could check my blood pressure at Walmart --- real accurate I imagine --- and I could eat more fiber. The other stuff, not so much control over.
I would love to have a dog, but hubby says no and getting a dog isn't worth fighting with him about. My mother-in-laws death ---well it is sad, and it has caused some stress in the family, but it really hasn't affected me directly (oh, that sounded colder than I intended -- Helen was a lovely lady and we had a good relationship if no a close relationship and I will miss seeing her). And as far as the aunt having breast cancer ---I get regular check ups what more can I do?????
However on a lighter note that just wandered into my brain --- I have lied about my age for years by adding 5 years to it --- yes you read that correctly --- add 5 years. The reasoning was that by adding 5 years I look pretty dadgum good for person that age maybe not so much so for a person my real age. :) So my health age and my lie age are the same ---- Go figure. :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Minor Wind -- Light Rain --- That's All Folks

Praise the Lord, we have been spared. The hurricane that has caused so much damage in Galveston and Houston and so many other places along the Gulf coast gently watered my grass and plants. Yes, we had winds of 30 mph gusting to 50 or 60 mph, but hailing from the Panhandle of Texas that didn't seem like much. The neighbors lost a couple of fronds off their Queen Ann palms, and that seems to be the extent of the damage here on my block. Robert and I did drive around town about 10:00 a.m. just to see what Bay City looked like. We saw very little damage. A few tree limbs broken and tree leaves scattered; business signs that were broken in some places, but not on every establishment. Most of the traffic lights were working; a few weren't. We also heard that part of the town was without electricity -- we never lost power. Yes, we were spared.

Now we are ready to go out to eat. When we came into town on Thursday we were in a rush to get to the house and board up --- and the mayor was ready for people to evacuate and had ordered both Walmart and HEB to close their businesses. We rushed in (actually slipped in behind some people coming out of the store and behind the person stationed at the door to stop incoming traffic). We grabbed a few things because I knew were would need something, only I couldn't thing very fast and we walked out with just a some tuna, bread, crackers, jelly and pork and beans. Strange, I know, but my brain just wouldn't work --- and obviously neither was Roberts. [smile there] We had a dozen eggs in the frig so I boiled them to have as needed just in case we lost power. This was Thursday. Talk about going on a diet. Here are our menu.
Thursday noon: grilled chicken breast, green beans
evening: tuna salad sandwiches (tuna, dill pickles, onion, boiled egg, mayo)
Friday morning: a boiled egg for me; Robert not sure he ate
noon: tuna salad sandwiches (see above)
evening: grilled pork chops, pork and beans
Saturday morning: repeat Friday
noon: tuna salad and crackers for Robert and pb&j for me

There are no chips, no cookies, not even any fruit. There is no more meat in the freezer so all that is left to be eaten is tuna, cheddar cheese, peanut butter, pork and bean, rotel tomatoes, some green beans, bread and crackers. We won't starve, but I'm seeing strange meals if a grocery store or better yet a restaurant doesn't open soon.

But for those of you who are thinking we are total idiots we do have flashlights, candles, and a crank radio (thank you Carrie). We would have had light and information had things gone differently.

Now we wait. To see if we will be needed to help the Red Cross in some way. We are registared with them to help or to assist where needed. I know there has been damage down in Matagorda even though the hurricane didn't hit directly there. Many homes are right next to the beach and we have seen what damage can be caused even if you aren't taking a direct hit. I'm an impatient waiter, but I shall wait.

Photo Hunter -- Wild

What could be wilder than Girls Night Out at the at '70/'80 night on the Ecstasy?
The music was rocking hot and the ship was rolling in time to the beat
as we out ran a 'cane named Ike.

Friday, September 12, 2008

100 Word Challenge -- Twist

Join the fun and challenge presented each week by Velvet Verbosity (I love that word --verbosity). She gives us a word and we write our story, poem, essay. Below her wonderful logo/icon (again which I love because I actually own an old typewriter much like it) is my writing for this week. My inspiration was part of a post by Lou. "I think I've made a discovery - a rather melancholy discovery, but a discovery nonetheless. And it has to do with possibilities. And it has to do with how men age. Mentally. You see, we don't feel much different than we did when we were kids. If it wasn't for the changing face in the mirror, ..." Now for my twist.
She crumpled the papers in her hands. This wasn’t right. There had to be a twist. She stood waiting for an O. Henry ending to all of it. She wanted to call to him, to shout at him, to beg, to let the tears come, to let him see the tears and for him to kiss them away. He just kept walking – never turning back. Her mind searched through their life together but could find nothing that would cause him to stop loving her -- to leave what she had thought was a lasting love. Her mind screamed, “WHY?” Slowly she turned catching her reflection in the glass. Oh, cruel twist.

Haiku Friday --- A Cruise to Remember

Haiku Friday

Finally on our ship
Vacation soon to begin
Ecstasy we will find
Before we can sail
A "muster drill" must be had
Safety, number oneKaren gives a wave
Pink glass signals the party
Hey, I'm on my way
Captain's Reception
A formal night to enjoy
A toast and a dance.
Next night. Girls' Night Out
Feel the music, Dance the dance
Can I steer the ship?
Others in our group
Who joined us for a party
Drinks were on the "ship"

Birthday girl and I
Party in the dining room
Rocking, rolling ship
Last shot on the cruise
Celebrating thirty
Memories sealed away.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Home Again, Home Again -- Here to Stay Even With a Hurricane

Robert and I are home from the cruise. We had a wonderful time, or at least I think we both did. Sometimes I speak for Robert and really never ask him his opinion. This time I think I'm fine doing it though. We had a chance to just relax on this trip. We did what we wanted, but did a lot of just lounging -- not really doing anything. I feel like that was a very good thing to have done also.

We went on what is called a *helmet dive* while in Cozumel. It was interesting. A seventy-five pound helmet (think the old diving suits for deep sea adventures) is placed over your head just as you climb down a ladder into the bay. The pressure of the air keeps the water from going up into the helmet. You can see and breath perfectly. The draw back to this particular dive is that we had to follow a trek they had laid out for us. I would have liked to go off exploring a little bit. We did get to handle a star fish, which I thought was dead, until our guide put it down on a rock and it crawled off. We then handled a conch shell that was housing a large crab and one that had a conch in it. It was interesting -- also we were in an area that is being used to grow oysters and pearls. The process was explained to us before we began our walk and the baskets were hanging above our heads. (We were down about 20 feet.) I'll have pictures in a few days. Right now (because of Ike) we can't get the pictures developed and I had one of those underwater cameras.

When the ship was headed back to Galveston we did get into some rough water. The swells were probably 8 to 10 feet high and the ship did roll quite a bit. Thank goodness neither Robert or I suffer from motion sickness. There were lots of empty tables at supper Wednesday evening. The joke on the ship was *If you see someone walking straight, they're probably drunk." The deck did tend to jump out from under you on occasion, but the parties did go on.

Our captain brought us home quickly to stay ahead of Ike. We actually docked at 4:00 am. (On other trips we have been on the ship doesn't dock until about 7:00.) We were off the ship, through customs, and waiting for the shuttle to pick us up for the short trip over to the parking lot where we had left the pick-up by 7:30.

As soon as we got home, we went to work boarding up the windows. We had already cut plywood in preparation for a storm that threatened last year so it was just a matter of getting the wood out of the attic, putting clips on it and popping them over the windows. By 1:00 that was all done. We even went over and helped our neighbor get her windows covered. Now we sit and wait. We have decided not to leave. We aren't in danger from the storm surge and this house was built to withstand winds of 150 mph or better so I feel safe in the decision we made. If we lose electricity and might be without for several days we will re-evaluate and possibly leave for a bit more vacation.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Photo Hunt: Strings

This weeks theme --- Strings

Not a very exciting picture, but definitely strings on the edge of a rug and to make the rug. I had a couple of cute ideas, but wasn't able to get them taken. You know how the best laid plans of mice and men often go. Our ship sails today at about four from Galveston. I'll be back on Thursday. See you then. :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

100 Word Challenge --- Fusion

The challenge is to take a word given each week and create 100 Words on that theme. Below are my *creations* for the word FUSION."Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” was your invitation. And you came; in large numbers you came. You brought with you beautiful languages with words we have taken as our own. You brought with you wonderful holidays and celebrations that we made our own. You brought with you ideas, beliefs, and knowledge and we made them our own. We are America and we are strong because you came. We are America because there is more than one way. We are America because we have a yearning to breathe free. We are America because of fusion.

And because I have an over abundance of time and a penchant for romantic sap there is this.

“A union by or as if by melting,” the voice became a drone as her thoughts wandered in different directions. That night long ago in a car behind an old barn when a single kiss caused an awakening in her --- what a new and exciting feeling. A line from a song popped into her head as a smile touched her lips “I was willing, but she wasn’t ready.” Her thoughts turned to another summer night. The softness in his eyes as he held her in the moonlight -- the feel of muscles against soft skin -- the way heat rose from there bodies --

"It's fusion," she blurted.

Haiku Friday --- I Want to Help, Too

Haiku Friday

Beautiful sunrise
A cooler, cloudless day dawns
Promises of hope.

Hope for wee Ivy
Who, at two, knows awful pain.
Brings pain to my heart.

You and I can help
Your name is all that's needed
To make the HOPE real

Those minds can be changed
Read more about Ivy here
Curly headed girl.

I know my readership is small compared to many, but after reading Lotus and then about Ivy, I wanted to help too. This is a beautiful child with a loving mother who wants the best for her child and needs our help to hopefully get that help. It only takes a moment so follow the links either in my Haiku or in Lotus' haiku and help make that difference. Thank you.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #10 A Little More Random

Thirteen Things about random things in my life and about life.

1.... Last night watching TV I decided I wanted a Sonic Junior Banana Split for lunch today and then later Robert, hubby, decided for supper we should try the Pizza Hut Mac and Cheese with bacon. Sounds like our low carb diet is firmly in place --- don't you agree?

2.... Walking this morning we saw an interesting cloud bank. Picture a line drawn across a piece of paper. In the center of that line put a half circle (humped up) then put *Spock* ears on it and some wispy hair. That is the cloud we saw as we walked down the street headed east. Looked like a kid peeking over a fence. Made me smile.

3.... Tuesday I subbed for one of the kindergarten teachers. I now remember why I don't/didn't teach kindergarten. They don't know how to do anything except be told what to do and how to do it and then they don't listen and you have to tell them again and again and again and again --- It was a very long tiring day.

4.... Wednesday I subbed for a first grade teacher. On Tuesday I had lunch with her and she warned me that they are a very talkative group and not really good listeners. She was wrong. After being in K on Tuesday, Wednesday's group were angels! I had a much better day.

5.... I'm playing different bells in hand bells this year. We had our first rehearsal on Tuesday evening. It was fun to be back to the group.

6.... Amy (daughter) shared an Abby (granddaughter) story --- seems Abby had an interesting question for her K teacher. When working with the dry erase board and I quote, *Why it is called a *Dry Erase Board* when obviously it is wet?" Pointing to the tip of the marker. I think she stumped the teacher.

7.... My husband will drive to the store for butter when I am cooking corn on the cob and discover I don't have any. That is how often I cook. I didn't even realize we were out of butter until the corn was about half cooked. Of course, his choices where to either go buy some or do without.

8.... I love it when I get unexpected money in the mail. Of course, I knew at one time we would be getting a refund check from the insurance for a medical bill we had paid and they covered, but they took so long to get it to us I had forgot it was coming.

9.... When going to work I can take the bypass around to Highway 35. I love taking the bypass. The speed limit is 65 mph and people really drive that speed. Of course, I'm running with the high school students on their way to school -- and they are all liking driving *the speed limit* (wink, wink)

10... Been discussing health insurance with daughter #1. She is having to get private insurance and trying to decide what would be the best route to go. Mom isn't much help here. I've been fortunate enough to always have insurance provided or available at a reasonable cost through my job or now through my husbands. That plus the fact that hubby and I are both healthy individuals who don't even go to the doctor but may be twice a year. Once for the annual visit (wellness covers that) and maybe for that sinus infection you get every year or so. I'm understanding a little better the problems people have getting insurance

11... My room painting project is completed. You can scroll down to the previous blog entry to see a couple of pictures of the room. It turned out pretty good --- I'm not 100% satisfied, but according to my husband I'm never satisfied.

12... I mentioned last week that I don't consider myself vain. That having been said I wonder now --- I have appointments later today to get a spray on tan, get my hair cut and a pedicure. This is all being done now so I will look good for a bunch of total strangers on a ship. Not vain is it? Just wanting to put my *best foot forward*. Not to scare anyone. :)

13... I enjoy writing my blog. I especially like Haiku Friday and 100 Word Challenge. These two attempts at actually writing are a stretch for me that I really need. There are other endeavors out there that I enjoy dabbling in also. Wordless Wednesday (which I totally missed yesterday), Saturday Photo Hunter, and a new one which I haven't participated in, but that sounds intriguing called Open Doors. Everything else is just fluff --- me rambling. Enjoy your day and the coming weekend.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Rainless Day on Monday

This has been a busy day, but for some reason I feel like it has been a lazy day too. Maybe becaue I've actually accomplished stuff, and haven't just sat at the computer. That makes absolutely no sense.

After our two mile walk this morning, and watching the news to make sure Gustav was ashore in LA, I got the last bit of painting done in the bedroom only to have to do it all over, because I used the wrong paint. Yep, there were two cans labled with the color I needed, problem was one of them was actually a flat paint not eggshell that the wall had been painted with. So when the flat paint was dry I had to do it over with Casa Blanca, eggshell. Yeah that room is done. I'm satified with how it turned out.

It looks like we will be luck if we get any rain from Gustav even. Houston seems to be getting a little from the far outer bands, but we seem to be in just the wrong spot to have anything. I'm glad we missed the storm, could use the rain thought. Always something isn't it. I also praise the Lord that the storm weakened some before going ashore. I know damage has been done to many homes and property, but it could have been so much worse.

The rest of the day has just been *Robert TV*. We have watched Dirty Jobs, Monk, Weather Station, and Star Trek. I think that is what has made this into such a long day. Mind numbing TV to be sure.
Tomorrow I will be subbing for a kindergarten class, and Wednesday will find me in a first grade classroom. That should prove to be interesting. I love the little one, but they are usually a handful. My good friend, whom I've worked with the past 4 years tutoring, told me yesterday that I will probably have my tutoring job back --- She and the other teachers in 4th and 5th grade went to the principal on Friday and did a bit of campaigning to get me back. They really didn't want the pre-k teacher doing the tutoring. Seems there had been some less than efficient work done by her in the past. They suggested she tutor 1st and 2nd grade in the afternoon since she won't have a pre-k class then and to hire me back to work with 3rd, 4th and 5th. The fact that they went to that kind of trouble to get me back is flattering and increases the pressure to do a good job for them.

Oh, one other little *honey-do* project Robert and I got completed this Labor Day weekend was to put a new pump in the fountain out front. We now have water bubbling out the top of the ball. We weren't able to get a solor pump so we just bought an electric one and ran a cord over to it. I haven't seen Wendy, young neighbor down the block, to get her reaction. She was very anxious for us to get it going. She gets excited over small things too --- that may be why I like that girl. :)
I hear the lawn mower, which means I need to go do a little raking since I'm too cheap to buy a grass catcher for that fancy riding mower I bought. Happy Labor Day weekend to all --- and enjoy the rest of the week.