Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Thought Processes of a Fourteen Year Old - What Did I Know?

When I was about fourteen years old, a philanthropist from our church offered me a chance of a lifetime. Actually, she offered it to two of us, Mark Aliopoulis and me. She offered to pay for us to go to Juliard to study. One small problem...I had a life, a boyfriend, friends, and was a solo performer in our youth choir, New Dawn. I politely refused her offer and my parents supported my decision. Mark, on the other hand, said yes and went to Juliard in the fall. It has been almost 40 years and I have never seen Mark again...I graduated from high school....went to Junior College, was engaged, was not engaged, moved to Alabama, married, had Kat, finished college, taught, got a Master's degree, was an NEH fellow...and felt I had a full life. Mark went to Juliard, never married, studied in Vienna, played for the Vienna Boy's Choir, played at Carnegie Hall, traveled all over the world, was part of the Boston and New York Philharmonics, did I mention never married? One day someone asked me if I regretted the youthful decision and I had to I don't regret it. I was meant to be Kat's mom...and if I had gone to Juliard to study music...true I might be a Beverly Sills Opera singer today....BUT would I be Kat's mom? That to me is one of the greatest accomplishments I have ever done in my life....I have been Kat's mom. Kat made every day a joy. She was a little piece of heaven on earth....and to be honest I would not have traded one moment at Juliard for her. I believe we all make choices in life and those choices effect outcomes. I may never be a success in the world's eyes...but I am a success in my daughter's eyes. She thinks I am something special....and I would not trade an audience at Carnegie Hall for that...ever! She rejoices in my successes and cries when I get knocked down. I wish you all could know her. She is so very special. Oh I know...if I had gone to Juliard...I never would have known that I missed out on having her...but that is ok. I made a choice...and what a difference it made in my life. Success do come in different group, Still Magnolias did open for George was not Carnegie Hall...but he is a Hall of Famer. Life does not get much better than this!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

9th Grade Orientation Day

Today is 9th grade orientation day and I will be there to meet all the new incoming freshmen. I love orientation. Most of the teachers gripe because they have to give up a day and come in and work. I look at it as a great big reunion when I get to see all the new faces and some old ones I have not seen in a while. I will have a freshman advisement(homeroom) this year so for the next four years these babies will be mine. That is the one thing I love about our school. The homeroom/advisement teacher follows the student all the way through their high school career. Oh there are some changes from time to time....because the classes have to be leveled, or we lose a teacher unit and have to break up an existing advisement...but for the most part you learn all about these students...because they are yours til they graduate. I love it! This year I have three of my little sweeties from church and I am thrilled. I remember 9th grade. You think you are a big kid...and find out you are just a small fish in a big pond...and get suckered into everything. It never fails to amaze me at the number of ninth graders who buy pep rally tickets. You would think that that one had passed it's prime...yet every year...another freshman falls for it. By the time 10th grade rolls around...they are at home...and then their senior year....they all develop senioritis and are impossible to live with. I love beginnings. If you have a child heading back to school soon...enjoy these last few days of summer with them. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dreams of The University of the South

One of my favorite southern places to go is Sewanee: The University of the South. It is the home of one of the nation's top liberal arts colleges, a School of Letters, and a seminary of the Episcopal Church. When I graduated from high school, almost 40 years ago, it was one of my three choices of colleges I planned to attend. The other two were UCLA and University of Appalachia in Boone, NC. When I realized my choices were not going to happen I moved on to lesser choices like Andrews College in Cuthbert, GA. I attended Palm Beach Junior College (loving named Peanut Butter and Jelly College)for two years and then eventually graduated from Auburn University. I got a good education. I did things the hard way...and before I was able to finish all four years of college I was married and had I never did the soro life, never lived on campus, I commuted. I am notorious for doing everything the hard way, so college was no exception. I studied after my kids went to bed, never missed a little league game, never missed a child pick up or cupcakes delivery...I did it all.

This college,known simply as "Sewanee" by the students, faculty, staff, travelers, and friends, offers an unmatched educational experience. The University remains purposefully small and dedicated to building a sense of community. All of the classes are taught by professors, not graduate teaching assistants, and close faculty-student interaction ensures that each student enjoys a rich and personal educational experience. It is not unusual for students and faculty members to work shoulder to shoulder on research projects and journal articles, to meet for coffee at a local eatery, or to serve together as members of the University orchestra, volunteer fire department, and other civic groups. This campus is in a very small rural area.

The University can boast of 25 Rhodes Scholars--a number that puts Sewanee in the top four nationally among American liberal arts colleges--as well as 26 NCAA Postgraduate Fellows, 36 Watson Fellows, and dozens of Fulbright Scholars, and has an acceptance rate to graduate and professional schools that far outpaces its peers. The School of Theology has added to its alumni ranks countless bishops, including three of the last four presiding bishops of the Episcopal Church.

At Sewanee you can chose from 36 majors, 27 minors, and 15 special programs, along with pre-medicine, pre-nursing, pre-law, and pre-business. More than 40 percent of students participate in study-abroad programs, and a comprehensive endowed program that provides financial support for summer internships has greatly strengthened career development for undergraduates.

Why was I drawn to this school? Well, the University sits atop the Cumberland Plateau between Nashville and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Sewanee's physical environment, which includes the 13,000-acre Domain (as the campus and surrounding area is known), provides a remarkable academic and recreational resource, and an unparalleled place in which to study and reflect. It invites students to engage in both a multitude of outdoor activities and careful study of the natural environment. I have always been drawn to the Appalachians. I used to dream of being a teacher like the one in the Catherine Marshall book, "Christy." I could see myself teaching grades 1-6 in a small one room school house hidden somewhere in the example of Karen's movie life. I also envision myself busting out into song at the right moment. Where is that reality check?

Anyways, I love the classrooms, they look like something straight out of Oxford or Cambridge in England...and reek of "Dead Poet's Society." But the thing that I love the most about the campus is the huge cross I discovered on the side of the mountain. As I was driving down a rural road in the area the sun broke through the shade of the trees and there it was...and I just had to capture the moment. It was a reminder to me that no matter where you travel...God is there. I am living proof that God has a plan for you...and it does not matter what YOUR plans were...God has a way of working them to his advantage. Remind me to tell you the story of Juliard proof that God exists.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Tuesday Soapbox

In March of 2007 the Alabama legislature lambasted Alabama voters. It seems that on the very first year of their four year term, on the second day of the regular session the majority Democrats managed to introduce and push through a little piece of legislation called HJR 29. This tiny, not spoken of piece of work was not very important. It was not even hardly important enough to talk about on the election trails. Nope, it was just an insignificant little item that raised their pay by a whopping 62% effective at the beginning of the session. Governor Riley did the gentlemanly thing and vetoed the pay raise, but on to no avail. It was put into effect with a veto override on March 20th. Now, I don’t know about you….but never in my life have I ever received a 62% pay raise. I have never even received a 10% pay raise. I am in public education. The biggest one I remember was 7 and it was divided over two years. The circumstances surrounding the 62% pay raise made it clear that the legislators were no dummies and this had been being set up for a long time. I find it ironic that not one single legislator mentioned the pay raise on the campaign trail. Not one. It is also interesting that it was the very first item to pass that session. Kind of makes you wonder what the agenda was. Personally I think they were trying to put as much time between the scandalous pay raise and the next elections as possible. Four years is a long time to do wonderful things…and have your constituents forget you voted for the raise. I am shocked, although I shouldn’t be at just how well orchestrated this action was. I cannot believe how quickly it “snuck” through without hardly anyone noticing. My conclusion on this is that they knew it was wrong and would be unpopular and ever single legislator who voted for it ought to be ashamed of themselves. And the saddest part yet was that even after the veto and overwhelming groundswell of public outcry they voted to put the raise into effect anyway. But I am not going to talk about the 62% pay raise today….I just needed it as a spring board for my real topic. I am probably not going to be popular today….but you all know…I am a teacher. Earlier this month because the state tax revenues earmarked for education have continued to decline due to recession, Governor Bob Riley increased the level of proration in the Education Trust Fund to 11 percent for the 2009 fiscal year, which ends September 30. This is the year we are in right now. That means…that funding we thought we had and budgeted for….in order for the school year to begin….and the fiscal year to end (and those are two separate items)….has to be cut AGAIN another 2% for a total of 11%. Sooooo….school systems who don’t have the extra 2% laying around are just out of luck. When the 9% proration went into effect in December our school system cut our Teacher Allocation Money….(this year there will be none), field trips were eliminated using school buses, if you had a refrigerator or microwave in your room it would cost you, personally, $35.00 a semester to keep it. I became the sole Spanish teacher at my school, which meant huge classes, some coaching supplements were cut, and at one point some non-self-supporting athletic programs were cut. Some of you may not be aware of proration….but in the life of an educator it is a word that makes us shake with fear. For education it means that teachers are cut, class sizes increase, and all the fluff is trimmed. The Dictionary definition of proration is the process of cutting appropriations when revenues fall short of projections. It is sad times…The economy stinks, people are out of work and cannot find jobs, education is prorated 11%, and with all the hard times….our legislators….they get a 62% pay raise. The Federal Education program lovingly(NOT) known as No Child Left Behind on paper looked so good…..but in functional reality….stunk! Highly Qualified teachers were needed….not let me go there…I have a Master’s Degree AND additional coursework from a Nationally Accredited State University….actually two of them….and IF it had not been for the very first round of teacher tests that were given back in the late 80’s and then abolished I would have not been highly qualified….but someone with no education coursework, no experience in education….just because they were degreed in a subject….would be. DOES THAT EVEN MAKE SENSE? I went to school, did countless observations/internships in classrooms. I studied what makes adolescents tick….and have 20+ years experience. What is wrong with this picture? No other field has this issue. When you graduate and do your residency as a doctor….you are ….a doctor. When you finish your nursing degree….you are a nurse….after you pass the state boards. I don’t think the test issue is a problem. I took tests…in every field I can teach….I paid for and took….a test in English, Spanish, Secondary Education….and Sociology. I am one Highly Qualified Teacher! But, I think the nation has made education a non-essential line item. For every great general….there was a teacher in his/her past. For every legislator….there was a teacher in the past, for ever doctor, nurse, architect, landscaper, writer, reader, you name it….there was a teacher lurking in the past. Yet, education in our nation has fallen as a casualty of war. We can bail out car companies, we can bail out banks, but….we can’t invest in the education systems of our nation. But you know….we are like the phoenix and we will rise from these ashes too. When we are given lemons…we make lemonade….we may not have money to add sugar….but we make it anyway…..and learn to like it that way. You can’t get us down….we may never get a 62% pay raise….and you may suck us dry with governmental programs that have to be complied with….but you know what….we will continue to educate the children….when we have no parental support, no money, no respect from the students we teach,….we will trudge along….because we do what we do….we teach.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sons of Somerled and Scottish Heritage

Anyone who knows me knows that besides the Mother Road my dream is to one day visit Scotland. I have made Ireland twice and have to say I am drawn to the UK. I love everything about it, from the driving on the wrong side to the laid back life. I am sharing one of my favorite songs with you tonight. I heard it for the first time on my first trip to Ireland. I was in Dublin in a music store and they were gearing up for Steve McDonald's arrival. I wish I could have stayed...but alas our bus was leaving shortly for Killarney. The song Sons of Somerled stuck in my brain. When I got back to the states I began researching Somerled, the song, the singer, Scotland. I discovered that "Somerled was a 12th century Scottish lord and war leader who helped defend the land from Viking invaders. His grandson founded the largest and most powerful of the Scottish clans, Clan Donald. When New Age musician Steve McDonald of New Zealand became aware of his Scottish ancestry he began to intensively research his heritage as a member of Clan Donald; he also decided to write a concept album dedicated to the history of the Clan. Sons of Somerled is the very satisfying result." I began researching my own heritage several years ago and after attending a kirkin' of the tartans in Montgomery....was hopelessly hooked on the Scottish mystique I was unraveling. My family was Scottish but left Scotland shortly after the Battle of Glencoe and went to Ireland where they stayed until the 1800's when they boarded a ship and sailed to America to escape the potato famine and survive. The draw of the history is spellbinding to me. One day I am going to stand on the cliffs in the heather and know I have arrived.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What Matters Most to You- Things, Stuff, or People?

I got an email yesterday from a blogger buddy of mine and we talked about broken necklaces. I have a baggie full of pieces of a lovely turquoise, ivory, and silver necklace given to me over ten years ago. I loved this grandson...while loving on me...broke it. I had it granddaughter was playing with it one day and broke it again. I had it fixed a second time....and then I hung it on my desk drawer at school and broke it again. When it broke this time I put the pieces in the baggie and put it in my jewelry box. I have not missed the obviously I don't need it. If I find someone who makes jewelry....I will probably give them the pieces so they can make something equally as beautiful out of it. The broken necklace story though reached back into the bowels of my memory storage bend and found a whole lot of "thing" stories I thought I would write about today. In priming myself for this post I went to and looked up the definitions for the words things, stuff, and possessions. I think it is important that we all understand just exactly what I am talking about. Things were defined as: a plural : possessions, effects b: whatever may be possessed or owned or be the object of a right c: an article of clothing dplural : equipment or utensils especially for a particular purpose 5: an object or entity not precisely designated or capable of being designated . Stuff, not to be confused with the white cloud-like substance in a teddy bear is defined as: 1: materials, supplies, or equipment used in various activities: as aobsolete : military baggage b: personal property. And Possessions were discussed as: 2: something owned, occupied, or controlled : property. To cut to the chase, all of these words refer to items one owns or possesses. How important are things to us? some they are very important. As a child when it got close to Christmas time my mom would make me clean out my toys and dolls and take them to the Salvation Army in preparation for the new stuff Santa would be bringing me. I never quite understood that concept....but followed her orders and would rid myself of toys, games and dolls I no longer used. (Now, the funny thing here is that my mom forgot this lesson too...she is the biggest pack rat on the face of the earth. If you can save it she does. She does not understand why I would want to give stuff away...I tell her, "because that is what you taught me to do." I have to remember...she is a few cards shy of a full deck in her reasoning skills.) Anyways, One year I donated my entire Barbie collection to my four younger cousins(an action I have kicked myself many times you know what those things are worth????). The point here is that someone else needed something I had and since I was no longer using it I gave it away. I have always done that. I can't tell you the number of things I have donated to the Salvation Army over the years or just given away when someone's house burned or they were down on their luck....the whole fact is...I GAVE! Past tense-because somewhere between there and motherhood....I forgot that skill. When I graduated from college my now ex-husband gave me a crystal apple. I loved it. My oldest daughter was playing around in the house one afternoon....something I had told her numerous times not to do...and the crystal apple was the casualty of her carelessness. It shattered into a bazillion pieces. I came into the room...surveyed that all humanoids were ok...saw my apple...shattered on the floor...and became a screaming banshee. If I live to be 100 I will never forget the look on my daughter's shattered face. I realized in that brief shining moment...that things are not as important as peoples feelings. It was a great experience and object lesson for me. I play guitar. I love my acoustic guitars. I have a beautiful black one that my parents gave me for my birthday one year and a student dropped it and dinged it one day at school....he was mortified. I looked at him and said, "hey, accidents happen and it is just a guitar." Now don't get me wrong....I don't want people deliberately breaking my stuff...but accidents do happen. I also have a gorgeous red acoustic/electric guitar that Frank gave me for my birthday one year. I fret over it all the time...but believe me...if I had to chose between it...or Frank...or one of my kids. I would be at the front of the guitar giveaway line. People come before stuff! There is nothing I possess that is worth more to me than any one of the people I love. That was a hard lesson for me to learn. It took me a while to get that one down, but once I got it down...I had it. The moral of this post: No matter how special something is to is just that...a thing...and you cannot or should not value it above another person's feelings. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Frank took me to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince the other night. I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I originally bought the books for the grandkids for Christmas and when there was such a controversy about them I read them to make sure they were ok. J.K. Rowland is an awesome writer and since I read the first book I have been to England and seen many of the places that were used in filming various scene's in the movies. Half Blood Prince was, I must say one. of my favorites...but then Frank says I say that every one. I guess when you wait as long as Potter fans do to see one of the movies they can become your favorites very quickly. I am a Christian. I believe in all the things Christians believe in. I know that these movies/books are about witchcraft but I also can discern the difference between real and fantasy. True, a child might not be able to....but then...when you were little...did you have an imaginary friend? I was taught to use my imagination and always have. I feel sorry for kids today because with the video games out there....they have no reason to have an imagination. I wanted to be the sorcerer's apprentice from Fantasia when I was a child. I went trick or treating at Halloween, when I was a child. My youngest daughter, on the other hand, did not! Life is a bowl of contradictions. I went because when I was a child neighbors took care of you, watched over you, gave you good treats. My children did not because when they were children....the world had turned mean. Our church always had a Fall Festival when the other kids were trick or treating. That eventually evolved with Hurricane Katrina into Trunk or treating when the youth of our church went to the local state parks where the victims of Katrina were staying in FEMA trailers and took Halloween to the children there who had lost everything. Ok so how did I digress from Harry Potter to Halloween? Who knows. I just know that the Harry Potter movies are well made and very interesting. This one was a tad bit long...but all it all worth every penny I paid to see it. BTW....go see The Proposal with Sandra Bullock. It is wonderful. As you can tell...summer is my movie going time. Come fall I will just be waiting til they come out on DVD.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Aquapalooza Starts Today

If today is Friday, and it is, then Aquapalooza starts today. Am I going? There is not enough money on God's green earth to make me venture into the water with 3000 other boats to see a concert...even Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffet, and Kid Rock. I will watch it from the safety of my home on Sept 3rd when it airs on CMT. Aquapalooza in the past has been a big event and I have attended...but this year I don't have a good vibe about it. I don't like the fact that for two nights boaters are on the water...over 30,000 people are expected....over 3000 boats....and when the concert ends....all these people....that have been drinking since 11:00 in the morning...if not before....will fire up the engines of their boats and try to leave. THAT is what frightens me. Many years ago, the Fourth of July fireworks show was held at Kowliga. We lived on the lake, we had a boat, so we went. I have never been so afraid as I was when everyone tried to leave at one time. We were in a pontoon boat and I had my kids with me and by the time we got home I vowed never again would I do this. So, Saturday night...while everyone is at the lake and in the water enjoying Alan Jackson...I am going to be at the local movie theater watching the movie G-Force. I can't wait to see the little mice say, "poop in his hand." If you are planning to attend the concert...please be careful and enjoy. Tell Alan I am a big chicken. If you want to check it out visit or click and follow. Have fun!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Love as a Way of Life

My sweet daughter Kathryn's Sunday School class at Frazier United Methodist is doing a study right now on Gary Chapman's book, Love as a Way of Life. The topic for the last two weeks has been kindness. Kindness comes easy for Kat...because she is a kind person....but she has been instructed to not only be kind....but find kindness in others. She and her friend Mandy did a small pay-it-forward this morning that I think is kind of neat....and if more people treated others like this....the world would be a much nicer place to live in. This morning the girls went to Starbucks and paid for coffee....for people coming in....ahead of time...and instructed the manager not to tell. The cashier asked them...."if there was a hidden camera." It was sad to think that we only do nice things when we think someone is watching. Anyways,after they paid the money (and it was not a bunch of money) they sat at one of those cute little Starbucks tables and watched. People came to get coffee...and were told that their cup had already been taken care of. Kat said that some of the people...actually paid it forward again...others looked around trying to see if there was a hidden camera...or a gotcha waiting for them....but for around an hour....Kathryn and her friend Mandy were thrilled beyond words as they paid-it-forward and showed a random act of kindness. Funny thing...after she shared her story with me...I had the urge to do something totally random. So I mailed Spirit Jump cards. My encouragement to you one random act of kindness every week....and see how it makes you feel. You know...when you practice love as a way of really bloom.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Jolt From My Past in the Form of Chet Wancewicz

I love lighthouses and have planned many trips around lighthouses most of my life. I fell in love with my first lighthouse when I was just a little girl in South Florida. The lighthouse was a red one located in Jupiter, just a hop, skip, and jump away from where I lived. My whole life I have been attracted to the might and power of a lighthouse. I have read stories about them, I have collected ones I have been too...(and of course you know that when you collect something and somebody finds out you collect...that is all you get forever. I finally had to quit collecting the ones I keep from getting generic ones. I have gotten distracted from my goal...My Forest Hill high school classmate, Chet Wancewicz, moved to Maine not long after we graduated and has apparently done quite well for himself. Out of the blue he found me on facebook and after adding him as my friend I decided to google him. (I am goofy like that. I love to see if other people have my name and what they do.) What I found was amazing. He is an artist. I was so very impressed by his lighthouse painting that I just felt the need to share it with the blogging world. The lighthouse I am showing you, is one of the more popular ones of those created for an annual fundraising event in Main. This structure features 63 images of Maine’s lighthouses along with the other typical things that are common to the Maine coast such as lobsters, flowers, shells and beautiful scenery as well as a poem across the top. How creative is that. Chet teaches art to children and in my book....if he was not most likely to succeed...he should have been.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Polimer Clay Creations Giveaway!

I got an email from the Giveaway Diva and she is hosting another great giveawy. From her site she sent me browsing through Beadpassion and I too was amazed by her creations! This jewelry artist creates amazing and very life-like pieces of jewelry and cellphone charms! I am dieting a got seriously hungry when I looked at her strawberry cupcake pendant. I, just like the Giveaway Diva, was so amazed that she created all her pieces using clay! Polimer clay is very hard to work with, but the amazing detail in each piece truly floored me! Her cupcake jewelry as well as her cymnbidium orchards were my favorites! The pricesare very reasonable! Perfect for gifts or a great and cute way to accessorize your outfit! You can seriously go on a major spending spree without breaking the bank! So if you know what is good for you, you will go on over to the Giveaway Diva's blog site and check out this great contest. See her button in my sidebar to the right.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Leigh's Second Bloggerversary!

My friend Leigh at Tales of Bloggeritaville is hosting a giveaway in honor of her second anniversary. This particular contest is going to have not one...but THREE WINNERS! If I were you I would hurry over there and get signed up for a prize opportunity. Personally, even if you don't win anything you are still a winner if you go and read Leigh's blog(s). She is an awesome photographer, a fabulous thrift store shopper and hosts Thrifty Thursday each week to showcase some awesome finds, and her Greek shrimp recipe from her recipe blog will knock your socks off. What are you still doing here reading this?....Get on over there and check her out! You won't be sorry I promise!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A New Hallelujah

Sing unto the Lord a new song. Isaiah 42:10 We, the Arbor Praise and Worship Band did a new song this week. It is one we are hoping the congregation will learn. It is an awesome song done by Michael W. Smith. I have put the you tube version on here for you to hear it. If music can lift your spirits as it does mine then you will love this song. It is one of those that makes you want to just clap and jump....and sing! This you tube version has the lyrics with it. So...while you are sitting here reading this go ahead and sing. God Bless You All!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I won two tickets to see Beehive Friday night at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. My friend Mary is going with me and I am so excited. We left Alex City about 4:30 and headed to Montgomery to see the play. I could hardly contain my excitement. We ate supper at Chik-fil-a. I have discovered some things I can eat there and still maintain a caloric count of 1200 calories. So we had a grilled chicken garden salad with berry balsamic dressing and it was yummy. I don't eat the tomatoes, sunflower seeds, or croutons...and we split one package of the dressing. We arrived at the Shakespeare Festival and I found J.T and Leanne from Mix103 and claimed my tickets. The seats looked good and they were. We were 8 rows from the stage in seats 10 and 12. We could see it all. As the other winners gathered it was fun meeting all the other winners and the grand prize winner sat behind us. She won a trip to the Day Spa because she was able to put her hair up in the best beehive. I could not do hair is not long enough. The lights dimmed and the play began and we were taken on a trip back into the 1960's. When hair was high and music was music. I think I sang along to every song but one. My favorite scene was a bedroom one (don't get the wrong idea.) It was Christmas...and we were in Leslie Gore's room....and she was crying about "it being her party and she'd cry if she wants to." Brenda Lee came in and hurt her feelings and had to tell her,"I'm sorry, so sorry." Annette Funicello was there, Connie Stevens and Connie Francis....they sang all their best songs...and I was in heaven. You realize...I was under the age of 10 when these songs were popular....but I loved them. I had babysitters who listened to this music...and taught me how to dance the shag, mashed potatoes, the pony and a whole host of other dances. The end of the program brought me more up to speed. Women now had a voice, Kennedy was dead,Camelot was over, Vietnam was going strong. I had really arrived on the scene. This WAS my era of music. I was 15 when Woodstock took place and had planned to run away and attend Woodstock. I was going to hitchhick. My only drawback was I was terrified of my I stayed put in Florida....Woodstock went on without me. I had to hear Janis sing "Me and Bobby McGee on vinyl." Beehive was really a wonderful evening. If you get a chance to go see it you should If you are a fan of 60's music...this is for you. If you would hear a snippet of the play go to the Beehive My Space link.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Gripe Session - Small One

Today is Friday. I have three weeks left of summer vacation and I really wanted to lay out by Mary's pool today....but that is not what is going to happen. I am sitting with my dad because my mom has a little friend who is a few fries shy of a happy meal who does not drive....and even though she has family that live here in this mom is the only one who seems to have time for Gay. Gay is different. She is mentally challenged and lives by herself. So, mom told her she would take her to do her errands and get groceries. The only problem here is that my mom did not ask me if that was ok. When she does this for dad either goes and sits in the hot car while the two women shop....or stays home with someone. Today he did not want to go sit in the hot car...he wanted to stay home and I was the only one here at the time. So all my plans...were cancelled. Now...I am sounding like a selfish brat...and perhaps I am. Gay and her family drive me nuts. I have seen my mom....sick....get up and take Gay somewhere...anywhere....Gay calls....and my mom can't get out of the house fast enough to be of service. My question is...what will she do when my mom can no longer drive????? I think she takes advantage of my mother....and that makes me mad. I think her family takes advantage of my does not seem to bother them for my mom to haul their sister around all over town....and never even offer to give money towards gas. I am feeling selfish right now....I should be delighted that someone needs my mom...and she feels she has usefulness....and I do. I just wish this one would limit her running around to one day a week...and quit calling my house forty thousand times a day....leaving the message..."Wilma, this is Gay call me." Translated means..."Get over here and be at my beck and call. I have things to do and places to go." Griping done. I feel better for sounding off. I know you are all probably thinking I am heartless....and perhaps I am....I am just protective.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

I read voraciously during the summer. It is like I am a starved individual dying for something to eat. I read anything I can get my hands on. My friend Mary loves to read too and she loaned me a book last week called the Glass Castle. It is by a contributor to MSNBC named Jeannette Walls. The book is awesome. This is a poignant memoir of her childhood. Ms. Walls grew up living in a car, cardboard boxes, doing without food, without the simple things we take for granted. She definitely learned how to pack light and strikes me as the kind of person who does not get to attached to material things. Walls parents are a free spirited couple who instilled an intense desire to be somebody in her young mind. She lived a life where survival meant being able to take care of herself. There is also a video clip on you tube of Walls and her mother. This is a must read book for the summer. If you are a woman (or anyone) and you need a swift kick in the pants to quit feeling sorry for yourself....this book is for you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Praying for Polly

I just found out via facebook that my sweet aunt Polly is having bypass surgery this morning. Polly is in her late 70's, early 80's. She is the widow of my mother's oldest brother, Willie. They had five boys. Stanley, the oldest is actually older than my Uncle Larry. I always thought that was funny as a kid. I could not understand how come a cousin was older than an uncle. Wally is next and he is close to my age. He is married to Donna, lives in McCalla, and they have two children. Arlen was next and he is survived by his wife Rita and their two children. Jerome is next to the baby....he lives in Indiana and has two children. Wendell is the baby. Wendell is married to Debbie and they live in Birmingham and have two children as well. My Aunt Polly's house has always been full of love and Christ. I am asking you all to pray for her today that God will use the surgeons to do what needs to be done. I have a class to teach this morning at CACC. I am filling in for the regular Spanish teacher and then I have a P R & R Commission meeting at 12 in Montgomery. My day is full. My prayers are with you aunt Polly. God bless you real good!

Update-Polly came through the surgery fine. She will have to stay in ICU for 24 hours and then she will be moved to a private room. The doctor was very pleased with her outcome. Whooo...Guess what else? I won two tickets to see "Beehive" at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. I won them off of facebook from Mix 103. It is one of my favorite shows...they have a husband and wife team - J.T. and Leanne and I adore listening to them. Can't wait to see the play. I will have something to post about for sure.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Deep Dish Review

I told you I would post something when I finished. The book is wonderful. Regina Foxton, a regional southern chef competes again the of Vittles cooking show in a Food Fight to be aired on national television. You have to read the rest on your own. I don't want to spoil the book for you. Just let me assure you that the ending is a surprise. As usual, Ms. Andrews makes sure there are several good recipes posted at the end of the story. My only complaint....she did not give out the shrimp salad recipe that was the twins on Eutaw Island. Sigh! I guess I will have to continue to hunt a fabulous shrimp salad recipe. I hope you enjoy the book. Happy Reading.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

One of My Absolute Favorites

I love reading Southern writers. One of my favorites is Mary Kay Andrews. She writes about Savannah, Tybee Island, places I know and love in the South. A former reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she wrote ten critically acclaimed mysteries, including the Callahan Garrity mystery series, under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck. Ms Andrews is native of St. Petersburg, Florida (and a diplomate of the Maas Bros. Department Store School of Charm), she started her professional journalism career in Savannah, Georgia, where she covered the real-life murder trials which were the basis of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil(another one of my favorite tales).
For those of you who follow Tales of Bloggeritavilles Thrifty Thursday you will be delighted to know that not only does she write...she is a lifelong ""junker"" and claims to know the location of every promising thrift store, flea market and junkpile in the southeastern United States, plus many parts of Ohio. Now that is my kind of woman. She has a B.A. in newspaper journalism from The University of Georgia (but I won't hold that against her - War Eagle!), and is a guest lecturer and writing teacher at workshops including Emory University, The University of Georgia's Harriet Austin Writer's Workshop, the Tennessee Mountain Writer's Workshop and the Antioch Writer's Workshop. Her mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha and Macavity Awards. Mary Kay Andrews has been married for over 30 years to her high school sweetheart. She lives in the suburbs of Atlanta. So, I needed something to read and I unashamedly bribed Frank into riding to Auburn after church. I got a gift card from a student for tutoring her during the second semester and I needed a new book. I finished up the Nora Roberts I was reading this morning before church and was in need of a reading I told Frank if he would go with me...I would share and get him a book too. You have to understand...husband number 1...only read if it had pictures (preferably comic ones)....when I met Frank we both had ended up at the Firecracker 400 in Atlanta. He was there with clients and I was there with friends...or seats were side by side. I brought a book....I am NOT a NASCAR fan. I was invisioning the race as a great day in the sun....and time to read. It turned out to be a great day all around. Frank sat down and made a comment about the book I was was one of the Left Behind series...I slid my eyes over the top of my reading glasses and said, "You read?" I know...for those of you who know me...this is kind of harsh...but remember...I had been burned and was not looking to play with fire again. He laughed the biggest and sweetest laugh...and we spent the rest of the race talking about books, each was awesome. I even gave him my email he could contact me. He did not get my phone number for another month or so....ok...I have digressed wildly here. I WAS talking about Mary Kay Andrews. I have read, New York Times Bestsellers Hissy Fit, Savannah Blues,Savannah Breeze, Little Bitty Lies, and Blue Christmas. They are wonderful. If you love southern humor, charm, and just good fun....and she always includes a few good recipes in the back of the book. You will love Mary Kate Andrews. The one I bought today is called Deep Dish. I will let you know how good it is when I finish it. Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems"

I have found a most eloquent writer. Her name is Patricia Neely-Dorsey. She hails from Tupelo,MS and is the author of Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems. She has been enjoying reading my blog and was wondering if I might possibly feature her book on my blog to introduce her "little book of southern poems" to my readers. I thought this was a great idea. So I am including one of her poems. In Patricia Neely Dorsey's Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems" is a true celebration of the south and things southern." The author states , "There are so many negative connotations associated with Mississippi and the south in general. In my book, using childhood memories, personal thoughts and dreams, I attempt to give a positive glimpse into the southern way of life. In my book I try to show that there is much is more to Mississippi and the south than all of the negatives usually portrayed .I invite readers to Meet Mississippi (and the south) Through Poetry ,Prose and The Written Word."

If you want a glimpse of Southern life,
Come close and walk with me;
I'll tell you all the simple things,
That you are sure to see.
You'll see mockingbirds and bumblebees,
Magnolia blossoms and dogwood trees,
Caterpillars on the step,
Wooden porches cleanly swept;
Watermelons on the vine,
Strong majestic Georgia pines;
Rocking chairs and front yard swings,
Junebugs flying on a string;
Turnip greens and hot cornbread,
Coleslaw and barbecue;
Fried okra, fried corn, fried green tomatoes,
Fried pies and pickles too.
There's ice cold tea that's syrupy sweet,
And cool, green grass beneath your feet;
Catfish nipping in the lake,
And fresh young boys on the make.
You'll see all these things
And much, much more,
In a way of life that I adore.

Copyright 2008 Patricia Neely-Dorsey from Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life In Poems


Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems
" a celebration of the south and things southern"
"Meet Mississippi Through Poetry, Prose and The Written Word"

Friday, July 10, 2009

San Diego part 2 - July 4th - Padres Game

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Here is round two...we are still on the fourth and then there is the green shirt day and a small sampling of the padres game. I am going to add my last one below. I do hope you enjoy my pictures. I can't wait for you to see the zoo ones. Remember I was in meetings most of the time so pictures reflect what I saw the most of....Alabama delegates. I wish I had had a few days of just sight seeing....when I remembered my camera...which I forgot on Coronado Island day. I still have some pictures to upload from my little pocket Nikon...I will get to that soon.
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Have a great day. My sweetie is taking me to the movies tonight to see Ice Age 3 in 3D. Ya just got to love this man...who else would let me go across the country for 8long days and take care of my parents while I am gone...He definitely earns jewels in his crown on a daily basis...and I love him for it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Momma!

Today is my momma's birthday. She is 80 years old today and I want to wish her a very happy day. I know she will have one because she lives in her own little world. I am throwing a huge party for her on Saturday at the Arbor. She is going to be so surprised. My mom is a character. Life with my mom has not always been easy. There was a time when it was Camelotesque....but those days were only for "One brief shining moment," and before my brother died. When Dougie died my mom had a hard time coping with the loss. She still does. He has been dead since I was 9 and that was 48 years ago....and we still don't talk about him....we still don't know what she did with his pictures or the 8mm films...or the painting Burdines gave is as if he never existed....but I have a child too...and I know that losing Kat would cause me to lose my mind I am sure. I can't imagine what that must have been like for her. I only know how hard it was for me. My mom is funny...simple...sweet (to most people)...oblivious to life as it is now...devoted to my father...and lives in another place. Sometimes I don't understand her place...but then I am not supposed to. My mother suffers from dementia and lives in the house with me. I am just glad that right now...she knows who I am. You have to understand...I left home at eighteen to get away from her...and she found me anyways. I love having she and my dad with me...because I know there won't be any regrets when they pass away...I will have experienced life with them during their final days. I have not always lived near my folks...and I am glad that right now I have them where I can keep and eye on them both. My husband...has lost both of his parents and lived far away from them when they were sick and died. He regrets not having been there when they died...hopefully I won't have to deal with that guilt when my time comes to face it. Today, my Aunt Shirley (the one with cancer) and I are taking my mom out for lunch. My aunt does not ever miss my mom's birthday. They fight like two cats sometimes...but they really do love each other...and I love them both. I have invited 80 people to this birthday shindig on Saturday...and will have to watch my parents closely for it to work. I can't let them go get the mail without some sort of time restraints....or they will take off rambling...and then she will miss her party....and believe you me...I would not put that past her at all. Wish me luck in pulling this off....and join me in wishing my mom Happy 80th Birthday! Oh...and if your mom is still around...hug her today...or call her and let her know you love her. She will appreciate it!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

San Diego Highlights for June 30th - July 1st.

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I tried to get a large group of pictures so I could show off a lot of the people who were there. I did not want to use the same pictures again and again. This is going to be at least a three part venture. I cannot seem to get it all on one smilebox. I hope you enjoy the scenery.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Flight Home and the Mule Kick I Missed!

Today is traveling day! I am headed home and so very glad. My little koala from the San Diego Zoo best depicts how I am feeling at the moment. I feel like I have been kicked by a mule. We got up, printed off our boarding passes, gathered our belongings and headed for Denny's for breakfast. Now you have to pay for food on the plane...(unless you fly first class...and I am a school teacher). We turned the car in at the Enterprise Leasing Co. and caught the shuttle to the airport. There was a 45 minute wait time to check in and a 45 minute wait time for Security. We only had about 30 minutes to wait until we loaded the plane. Now, that is the way I like it. The plane took off...the view was lovely....and Marian and I played Trivia all the way home. I actually was the big winner three times. Marian won twice. I love this trivia game thing. You can do this for hours and compete against all the other passengers playing on your plane. We arrived in Atlanta and had a two hour layover until our plane to B'ham. Marian and I split a sandwich (actually I ate the meat and tomatoes off one)....then we settled in for the wait. Our Bham flight was ready, we loaded and 30 minutes later we were landing in good old Alabama. After gathering our belongings and locating the car we headed for home. I arrived at home about 1. It has been an awfully long day and I am so very tired.

Monday, July 6, 2009

July 6th , the Final Day and My Utterly Incoherent Ramblings

Today is the last day of NEA-RA. At 9:00 there is a march on the San Diego capital to let Gov. Schwartzenagger know that he needs to straighten up his act and get education back in focus. I thought I would put a picture of the Montgomery delegates in today. They were quite impressive out in front of the convention center. They are a large faction to be dealt with. At 10:00 the RA is called to session - after the first 90 minutes of business there was a break for special guests and Bob Channins retirement presentation. Dr. Joe Reed was one of the guest speakers and he definitely made the Alabama delegation proud. After the presentations the meeting portion began again and God knows when it will end. In LA the first time I went we did not finish until midnight. I hope this is not one of those years. They are giving away a 25,000 cash prize today or a Saturn Vue. I would love to win this. No one from Alabama has ever won the big prize. This is the last thing that will be done today and you have to be present to win. How cool is that?
I have been a member of the NEA/AEA/SAEA for the past 25 years and one thing that gets me is that people have such a negative misconception of the NEA. Once, many years ago, there was a new business item about abortion....and since that day it has been thought that the NEA supports abortion. That is not true. The NEA supports a woman's right to choose. I am a Christian and personally do not believe in abortion...but I do believe that it is a woman's right to choose what course of action she takes. I would rather adoption be considered over abortion but that is not always the case. I am sad when I have young students, tenth graders...who don't even have driver's licenses yet but have a baby to take care of. This choice changes their whole lives forever. When I was in high school....fifteen to be exact, my dear friend Kathy had a child. Most of the parents forbid their daughters from seeing her she had some contagious disease. My parents were very supportive of Kathy and I remained her friend forever. She raised her daughter Margie and was a great mom...but her life changed. Back in my day...if you had a child...or were were taken out of the general population of school and put into night school. This happened to Kathy. She was no longer part of the fifteen year old scene. She was part of another I did not understand. I felt sad for her. Today, that is not the case....they stay in the school and having a child is some sort of badge of honor. I am sad for these kids too. Every decision we make has a consequence and that consequence changes the course of our lives.
The NEA delegation raised 20,000+ dollars for the Illinois delegate who lost his wife in the freak peddy cab accident. I was proud considering it was just something some states did. It is things like this that make me proud to be a part of this great organization. No! We are not a union....we are just a large body of members who gather and plot the course of the american school system.
My is 6:30 and Bob Channin just called the last meeting of the 2009 NEA RA adjourned. How exciting. Since we ended so early we are going to ride the shuttle back to the hotel...pick up the car....and go eat on Harbor Island at Tom Ham's Lighthouse Restaurant. It is an active lighthouse. The food was fabulous, the view tremendous, and the company was out of this world. Back to the hotel for bed and then off for home tomorrow. I almost wish I could stay another day and go up the coast to LaJolla...but to be honest...I am brain dead right now. Night All!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 5th in San Diego

Morning has broken. Today is Sunday. My favorite day but in San Diego it is July 5th another NEA-RA business day. Caucus is in session and as you can see I am not paying attention. I am blogging on paper so I can put it on the computer when I get to the convention center because I do not have any internet connection on my lap top. Curses! President Peggy Mobley gave us some alarming news. The wife of one of the NEA Directors/State Delegates - from Illinois had an accident yesterday involving a peddy taxi. The taxi, in which she was riding, took a curve to quickly and she was thrown out on her head. She is currently in a local hospital here in San Diego on life support. My warning to you all is please hold on and be careful if you find yourself riding one of these peddy taxis. I would hate for this to happen to you...or someone you love. The three ladies in my picture are from the Alabama delegation and they are riding in a peddy taxi. Looks like they are having a blast...but looks can be deceiving! **Update-the 60 year old retired school teacher wife of the Illinois State Delegate died earlier today. There is a wreath on his seat and we had a moment of quieet reflection. The meeting ran long today and did not end until after 6:00. I did not do well on my diet today. I did fine until supper. We ate at Kansas City BBQ - where the bar scene in Top gun was filmed. I ate BBQ, beans, and onion rings and thought I had died and gone to heaven. The food was a culinary delight. Back home to the metel and I told a few ASP stories to a group from Alabama and Utah. After all, stand up comedy and teaching are what I do best! Have a wonderful evening!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4th in San Diego

Today is my anniversary - Happy Anniversary my darling Frank. It is not my wedding anniversary, but the anniversary of the day Frank asked me to be his wife...and where am I? I am in San Diego - attending the NEA-RA. Today - July 4th a day of bbq's, picnics, and fireworks, I am sitting in the Assembly Hall discussing the health and welfare of the nations children and public education - so here I am. Today's picture is of my sweet friend Sarah Hoene. She is saying the pledge. Sarah is a librarian and just as sweet as they come....Even with that..I am reminded that once upon a time - Still Magnolias hosted "Thunder on the Hooch," a big 4th of July celebration in Phenix City/Colmbus. We were the headliners. Frank and I had been apart for a month. I didn't think I wanted to be married again, so I had pushed Frank away. he was with me at "Thunder...", because we were going to Pensacola for a friend's 50th birthday party. At the end of the concert - as I sang "God Bless the USA," I looked for Frank and he was not in his seat. I was livid. I figured he was grabbing a smoke I hit my last note - I turned and there he was...on one knee...and he asked me to marry him and put his mothers ring on my finger....of course I said yes! We married that next January but tonight he will be with Mary and Bill at a Bar B Que. I will be eating BBQ at Kansas City BBQ (where the Top Gun bar scene was filmed)...with Johnny, Johnnie, Marian and Marvin. I hope we end early today. Happy 4th!
P.S. No BBQ at Kansas City BBQ tonight. WE had to park 30 minutes away, wait an hour to be seated and then would have had to wait and hour for the food after being seated. I walked back and go the car and we went to Phils....not was no longer there....burned down!...we ended up at T.G.I. Fridays....I had a salad and tomato basil soup...far cry from BBQ. Sigh!...maybe tomorrow night! Can't wait to be back in the South...that is for sure!

July 3rd

Up early - breakfast was a yogurt at 7, voting at 7:15, and the caucus at 7:30. Today, I gave the invocation - it was the one about the Three Trees that I tried out on you guys last week. After the Caucus was over we headed over to the Convention Center to work on the newspaper again. Today's paper is going to be 4 pages with lots of pictures. We finished by 1:00, had it proofed, and printed by 2:00. I returned to the Assembly Hall to find a wonderful bag from my Iowa Contact, Deb Coltrain. How fun! I gave my new Florida buddy a purple AEA shirt. She was delighted. Scott Austin, a candidate for office spoke and asked us why we teach....His response was very powerful..."I teach...I don't always teach the kids I want to teach...but I teach them just the same." Yeah! That is exactly what I do and why. I am so tired...but satisfied at the moment. Dinner tonight was down from the hotel at a great steak house called East Bully's. I miss Frank!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

July 2nd

Up early - our third business session complete with voting for NEA Resolutions Committee members was off and running. Tonight is the Human and Civil Rights Dinner and Dr. Reed and Dr. Hubbert are getting a special award for our merger. Today from 10:00-11:30 there is a town meeting with the Secretary of Education - Arne Duncan. He will be sharing his views with the body and listening to ours. The NEA President - Dennis Van Roekel will moderate. This meeting is part of the Secretary's Listening Tour across America. Well...plans change big time - I spent my day holed up in a room putting together a daily newsletter for the Alabama Caucus. We worked all day and finished up about 5 at the convention center. A quick trip back to the Marriott and I am dressed on back on the bus headed for the Human and Civil Rights Banquet. Dr. Hubbert and Dr. Reed will be getting the H. Councill Trenholm Memorial award for their work - in 1969 these two men were instrumental in merging the ASTA and the AEA to form the AEA as it is today. I was very proud to be part of this great organization. We got home at 11 and I redid the newpapers errors so it could be printed in the morning. Night all!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July 1st in San Diego

Today was our first official day. We were at the Convention Center early for registration and exhibits. I love this day! It is the day I officially become a delegate for the National Education Association Representative Assembly. This is a great responsibility for me, personally. It is a time that I can make an impact on the lives of our nations children. This is the 147th Annual Meeting of the NEA, 147 years is a long time for such a group. After we went to the convention center we picked up our car and headed over to Coronado Island. My objective was to see the Hotel del Coronado, the island itself, and the beach. It was breathtaking! The only drawback for me was driving over the bridge to the island. I almost died when I realized how high and long this bridge was. Now you are sitting there thinking - So? Well it is a huge deal for me. I am terrified of high, long bridges. This dates back to my Florida childhood days and the Skyline Bridge in Tampa. I was ON this bridge when a barge hit the pilings and a bus went into the water. ANYWAYS...going over the bridge I felt my old friend fear rearing his ugly head. I could feel panic gripping me. I bagan chanting, "I can do this!" Before I knew it I was on the island and my racing heart slowed to normal. The return trip was a piece of cake. We attended our first state caucus and then went to eat supper at the Fish Market on North Harbor Drive. This wonderful restaurant is located in the parking lot of the USS Midway museum. AWESOME! The food was AWESOME! If you are ever in San Diego - eat at the Fish Market(and for my B'ham readers this is not the Fish Market in Birmingham.)...but the food is excellent, the service and view are wonderful too. We saw the most gorgeous sunset on the bay. Back to the hotel for shut eye. What a great day! See you all when I get back!