Thursday, March 31, 2011

Well Now I'm All Twitterpated

I'm trying to learn to tweet correctly. I don't think it's going well.

I think I busted up a conversation the other night. I honestly don't know the proper etiquette yet. And know I wonder if I owe this tweeter an apology. But then again, I don't want to appear all stalkerish. But it does bother me that I might have been rude. No, rude doesn't bother me as much as I might have been dumb. I think that's the hardest part about Twitter - it makes me feel dumb.

I created an account on Twitter this past summer.  I played around for a few days but soon got bored. You see, I had no followers - and no one to follow. I have decided to try again I am determined to make it work.

While I haven't been tweeting, I have been following a few tweeters since the summer. I have the tweets sent to my phone. And I do enjoy reading the tweets. I wanted to join but just couldn't figure it all out. I still haven't. But I am tweeting, a little.

After reading this post by Melissa, I decided I did need a tweetdeck - I didn't know what it was, but I sure wanted one. Well, tonight I got one! And I do think it will make my tweeting experience a tad easier.

Now I'm facebooking, blogging, and tweeting - my house will never be clean again.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Gotta Love Those Farmboys

This weekend I was invited to the barn. Lovey and his brother were moving the head gate from some other barn to ours so that they could worm the cows in our field. First, I must show you our sad, sad barn. It is 40 or so years old, built from old chicken house materials. And on its last leg.

For the last several years, every time a little wind blew through, we could hear some loose tin flapping and banging on the roof of the barn. Well, the week before spring break, one more little wind blew through, and it got a bit of the barn roof. Opposite the rolled tin a big piece of the roof, (tin, rafters, and all) is missing.

But the cows need to be wormed, and this is where it's gotta happen. So a head gate must be moved from the trailer, set in place, and pinned to the chute coming out of the barn.

Yep, that looks really safe!

"Come on, come on. I'll tell you when!" Reminds me of another brother incident involving a boat, an open motor, a cup of gasoline, and a ended with Lovey coming in the house to tell Liz and I that Joey and the boat had temporarily been on fire but were both currently extinguished. But that's another story for another time.

Once it's off the trailer, Lovey justs raises that hay fork and moves it to the barn. Farm boys just couldn't make it without a front end loader on the tractor. After twenty years, I've even caught myself saying, "Couldn't we just get the tractor and the front end loader..."

The headgate must be set in just the right spot so that it can be connected to the chute. Cows will be run into the far side of the barn, separated into small groups, worked to the back of this side of the barn and then run throught the chute and into the head gate. So it must be pinned in place.

This would be an easy job if only they had a shovel. Wait, there's a shovel in the back of Lovey's truck. Or there was until yesterday when we went fishing and the little boy was digging worms. I think the shovel is still at the pond. Oops!

It's almost there. But there's always a discussion about how to do things in just the right way.

Oh! So close! Gotta move some more dirt.

When you're in a pinch, a hammer can be used to move some dirt. Who knew?

And when it gets this close, just hammer it! Gotta love that farmboy ingenuity.

Bring on those cows!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What I Learned Today

Well, it's Thursday night. Tomorrow is Friday. Friday and then spring break is over. Just last week I had such plans for my spring break. It seemed as though time was endless, and I could accomplish any task, even huge lists of tasks. But alas, it is Thursday night. Tomorrow is Friday. And that list? Well, it's still got plenty of opportunities for anyone interested.

I did get one thing done today. I cleaned out my lazy susan cabinet. You read that correctly - not cabinets, just cabinet. I don't like to put too much pressure on myself.

I've been wanting, no needing to do this for some time now. It was interesting. And it brought to mind this question:

Can we learn anything about a person by looking at the foods that are in his/her cabinets?

I took everything out. Even the stuff that had fallen off of the spinning shelves and been lost in the dark corners. I was surprised at some of the things I found.

Like three large jars of sweet pickle relish. Why? Who needs that much pickle relish? What can I learn from this?
1. I may be a hoarder. Especially of relish.
2. I am not brand loyal.

Or am I? Really? How much popcorn do I need? And I know for a fact that there is a sack of this same stuff in the cabinet above the microwave. What have I learned?
1. I like popcorn.
2. I believed Orville Redenbacher when he told me his popcorn was better.

I just thought the relish and the popcorn was hoarding. Eight bottles of salad dressing? Seriously? What can I learn about myself from this?
1. I have good intentions of eating lots of green, leafy salad, but apparently I don't actually do it.
2. I try to please the varied palettes of my friends and family.

This is my "past expiration date" pile. Not great - but not as bad as I thought it might be. What can I learn from this?
1. I can give up on the instant oatmeal. I'm just not going to eat it for breakfast. I am a sausage biscuit kind of gal.
2. No one at my house will make their own hot chocolate, even if I have the cute little marshmallows.
3. If I put the vanilla wafers in the cabinet, Baby Jus will not eat them.

Here are few more of my discoveries.

1. The other night when I was looking for capers, they were in the cabinet.

2. When other people help me put groceries away, no matter that we have all lived in this house for exactly the same number of years, they put things in the wrong place.

3. The other day when I was certain that I had a bottle of vanilla; I did. It was in the wrong cabinet.

4.  Cleaning out the canned goods is much more pleasant than cleaning out the fridge.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Break Begins...(smack)...Now!

For the past few months, our small community has been working towards a common goal - raising money in support of Mrs. Clara Woolley. You can read more about her here

It has been amazing to witness the love and support for Mrs. Clara as it breaks down barriers and brings the community together. Many people in our community have stepped forward to organize fundraisers, and so many have supported those fundraisers. And because of this tremendous support, each event has been a huge success.

But I don't know of one that has ended with as much joy as the Woodlawn High School EAST project.  Two of our students wanted to make their EAST project a fundraiser for Mrs. Clara. They placed jugs in each elementary classroom and grade jugs in the hallway at the high school. For several weeks students were encouraged to bring change to fill the jugs. The incentive being that a student from the class with the most money would have a chance to pie-in-the-face the principal.

Money poured in. Change was counted. A winning class was determined. And a day was chosen for the pieing (I just made up that word!) The Friday before spring break. Watch the principal get pounded and then leave school for a week. What a great Friday!

At 2:45, we heard the all-call, "Students are dismissed to go to the gym for a presentation." The Arkansas Army National Guard was to present last year's state champion baseball team with a banner.

And now on to the pie! Mr. Wylie announced that 8th grade had brought in the most money. All of the the 8th graders names had been placed in a cup. Mrs. Morrison volunteered to draw the winning name - Jordan Wylie! The principal's daughter.

I handed her the pie and


SMUSH! She's quick! I wanted to get her face but didn't have time to move.

Right about now, he's thinking, "I should have taken these contacts out."

The poor man thinks it's over. But...

Jordan flits around like a little hummingbird, and pie-in-the-face-daddy is her sweet, sweet nectar. She has to come back for more!

He's about to speak. WAIT... is that pie in his ear?

YEP! She got him good.

I love this picture. I don't think the poor man can see a thing.

What can he say after that? "You're dismissed. Have a good spring break."

It's finger-lickin'-good satisfaction.

The money raised will go to National Foundation for Transplants. You can find more about this organization and make a donation to support Mrs. Clara here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Do you follow me?

I'm new to blogging. And I have so much to learn. I am nervous each time I post something. Or try something new in design layout. But I want to continue. I want to learn more. I am going to continue blogging and hopefully some of you will continue reading.

Maybe even become followers?

And for those of you who shudder to think of yourself as a "follower" - it is still early enough to be one of my first followers. Therefore, you would still be considered a "leader" of my followers. Problem solved.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Daylight Savings Time and spring weather made a grand entrance around here. It is nice to come home from school and have some time to get outside before the sun sets. For the last few days, Lovey and I have taken an afternoon drive to check on cows. Most days this is all done, or almost done, before I get home, but this week farm time has been just right so that I could tag along.
Here's Lovey. Out of the truck and walking amongst his critters on Wednesday afternoon. Not much excitement today.

When I came in on Thursday, he told me that there were twins born at Joey and Liz's field. Of course, I grabbed my camera - who can resist twins?

We quickly found the momma, but she only had one baby with her. The other was sunning near the hay rings. I wanted a picture of the babies together, so we went to check everything at Red Acres Ranch chicken houses - Joey and Liz were on a much needed and much deserved trip to Vegas, celebrating their 20th anniversary. Everything checked out fine with the chickens, and on our way out we noticed that the babies were now close, but not quite together.

Somehow or another, baby #1 had gotten on the other side of the fence. This is the baby that the momma cow had just had by her side. The little thing was hollering, so Lovey decided to go over and try to coax it back under the fence. And it really started hollering then!

I don't know if you have ever seen a momma cow get all stirred up, but I can assure you that they move much faster than you think is possible. This momma was at that fence in the blink of an eye. And trying to jump over. She did not like Lovey messing with her baby. Nevermind that she is the one that let it get on the other side of the fence. Because the little creek running under the fence was pretty deep, Lovey was worried he couldn't get the baby back under the fence. He was trying to come up with another plan when the momma took off running up the fence row. She went to corner gate, ran down the other side, and gathered her baby. Only one problem now. She left baby #2 on THIS side of the fence.

 We eased along behind him, trying to get him to that corner gate so that he could join the rest of his family. Had him almost there when he decided that was not where he wanted to go. So much for getting a picture of the twins together. We gave up and headed back to the house.

Friday I was busy and didn't get to make the rounds, but Saturday, I made the rounds with Lovey. And finally got the twins together.
Precious! Can't wait to see what shows up this week.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

Today is the 16th birthday of my Abster. She is beautiful. Like knock-your-socks-off beautiful.
This is her after her afternoon homecoming ceremonies this year. When we got back to the house, she and her sister kicked off their heels, made a beeline to the kitchen, and grabbed a glass of milk and a few Nannie cookies.

She is smart, brave and adventurous. And I love her.

Tomorrow is Big Boy's 20th birthday! I can't believe he will be 20. There is a small tear in the corner of my eye right now. A 20 year-old. I don't know how that happened. When I look at him I still see that scrawny-necked little brown-eyed boy who talked so big.

Here are some of my favorite conversations.

He is six. It is the first time we saw him. We are so excited to be meet him. We have been getting things ready for him and the little boy to come home. We are driving down the road.
Me: (very excited about the newly decorated baseball themed bedroom waiting at home) "Do you like baseball?"
Big Boy: (in his very deep, Forest Gump voice) "I don't, I think Justin does."
Me: (looking at Lovey) Crap!

A few weeks later. He is going to summer school. The bus drops him off at the end of the driveway. The Little Boy and I are waiting.  I notice that he has a big gap cut in his already very short hair.
Me: (in shock) "What happened to your hair?"
Big Boy: (in that very deep, Forest Gump voice) "I don't know."
Me: (trying to decide the best way to handle this) "It looks like someone cut it."
Big Boy: (no reply)
Me: "Did you cut your hair?"
Big Boy: (shrugging his shoulders) "I guess."
We walk into the house. I come up with a plan; we go into the bathroom. I stand him on the sink so that he can see himself in the mirror.
Me: (in my best momma's voice) "Just look at that spot in your pretty hair. What does that look like to you?"
Big Boy: (smiling hugely) "A Nike swoosh. It looks just like a Nike swoosh!"

And it did. He was a huge Nike fan; I had just lost.

Summer was well on it's way. We were still at that it's-all-new stage of parenthood. And watched the boys all the time.  They were outside playing, and Lovey and I were sitting in the kitchen watching them through the window.  Big Boy picks up a big stick and just knocks the mess out of his brother. Lovey and I go out on the porch and call them both over.
Me: "We were just watching you out the window. Why did you hit your brother just now?"
Big Boy: (after thinking it over for a minute) "I forgot to look and see if y'all were watching."

A few weeks later. The regular school year had just started. He was making new friends everyday and learning so much.
Me: (in my best I-love-school-that's-why-I'm-a-teacher voice) "What's your favorite thing about school?"
Big Boy: (confidently and in his very deep, Forest Gump voice)"Confession stand."

We are not Catholic. Nor did he attend a Catholic school. He mean concession stand. His favorite part of the day was buying snacks. I had just lost again!

A few year have passed. He has been out of school for a year now. This fall I was surprised to hear him say that he missed it just a little. Although I don't think it's the actual school part he misses, it's athletics. But I must say that I miss watching him play football just as much as he misses playing it. I lose again.

He is handsome, determined, fearless, and has finally grown in to that very deep Forest Gump voice. And I love him.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Just Wondering?

I gave up TV for Lent. So I have been reading quite a bit lately. Last night I was looking for a book to read and was browsing my shelves, most of which I have already read. But I saw several titles that I considered reading again. I did find a title that I had bought a few years back but never read, so I may start that one tonight.

My question is do any of you re-read books? My sister does not. And she acts as though I am crazy when I tell her I am re-reading a book. So, to re-read or not to re-read; that is the question!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It's a beautiful Saturday morning in Southeast Arkansas. Things are quickly greening up; Spring is on its way.

The weeds in my yard know it.

The daffodils know it.

The Bradford pear knows it. It is already molting from flowers to leaves.

The cows know it.  They no longer spend their day huddled around the hay ring waiting on the next bale of hay to be delivered. They are spread across the field chasing the green.

And Lucy Mercer, great American cat wrangler, knows it for sure. Warm spring days are perfect for spontaneous cat rodeos.

I even feel a twinge, a very small twinge but a twinge none the less, of spring cleaning coming over me.  I think I'll sit here and drink my coffee while that passes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An Invitation

I'm having a pity party. And you're invited if:

1. your get-up-and-go done got-up-and-went!

2. you teach a bunch of kiddos who have been sick ALOT in the last few months, but you haven't.

3. you have run out of places to hide and those darn sicky-icky germs have caught up with you.

4. your eye balls feel as if they are about to explode from their sockets.

I'll be in bed when you get here!

The End.

A Great Tuesday

Yesterday was a great day. My students started their presentations that they have been working on for the last several weeks, and I am very proud of the work that they have done. Each student chose a nonfiction book to read, wrote a two page summary of the book, and designed a presentation. Most students used PowerPoint, but a few went another route and found websites to help them create a presentation. I saw some fantastic work yesterday and am looking forward to many more today.

After school I drove two of the senior girls to Captured Moments in Pine Bluff for a modeling session. Mrs. Linda Rawls invited them to model prom dresses for an ad in the local paper. What fun! Having boys, I miss out on the excitement of dress shopping. These girls were beautiful in everything they tried on. It will be interesting to see what pictures the store runs in the ad.

This is one of my favorites. I love these dresses. And these girls!

After playing dress up, I talked to Keith and got his usual request, "We need dog food." We always need dogfood. So off to Walmart it was.  Pushing the loaded buggy across the parking lot, I noticed a man who looked very familiar to me, but I just couldn't place the face. So I kept walking. Soon I heard him say something to us. I walked back in his direction. He was a former student. From my first year of teaching! What a reminder that I am getting old; he is in his early 30s. I taught him and his twin brother at Dollarway Junior High many, many years ago. They were both great athletes and pretty good students - when they put they minds to it. We had a short catch-up there in the parking lot. He almost made me cry telling the girls about being one of my students. He said such nice things. I was definitely surprised.

After that we went to dinner at Chef Lee's and headed home. Tuesday was great. And now begins Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season. I've decided to give up TV (unless there is bad weather - and then I will cheat). Pray for me; this will not be easy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Something to Ponder

Tonight I am thinking. Well, cruising random blogs. Watching/listening to those women telling it all. And thinking. I'm sure that if Lovey listened carefully, he could hear those wheels in my brain just a spinning and squeaking. And here's what I'm thinking about...Lent. Or rather giving up something for Lent. It's a big commitment, giving up something for Lent.

Growing up, I've heard of people of giving up all sorts of things, including full out fasting. I've never spent so much time thinking about what or whether I would sacrifice for the season. I'm taking that as a "Yes, I want you to participate in the Lenten season this year." I've always known that Lent was about making sacrifices just as Jesus sacrificed for us. But I've been searching and reading. I found some interesting information about Lent and Easter here
I like the list of various Lenten commitments. And here

So, I'd like to know; do you observe Lent? And if so, in what way(s)?

While I'm on the topic, do you, rather, how do you celebrate Fat Tuesday?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Have a Problem

While cleaning Saturday morning, I was forced to deal with a problem that I have been avoiding.  I've known about this problem for sometime now, but I have just, as they say, swept it under the rug. Rather, it has itself skittered and scattered under the tables, around the chair legs, beneath the bar, and into the corners. My problem - Jakebunnies.

Here's Jake.

Here's Jake and Lovey watching TV. They watch a lot of TV.

And here's a Jakebunny under the table.

 Here's another in a corner.

The Jakebunnies are taking over my house. Then again, so has Jake. He is still a puppy, only about a year old - curious, clumsy, and full of energy.

 And love, see above picture with Lovey. In just a few months, he has worked his way into our hearts.

Like a kid, he makes big messes.

Toys. Everywhere.

They go here, but I can't convince Jake to put any back before he gets another out. Some days I come home and the toy box is empty. Well, except for the Jakebunnies who live at the bottom.

Toys and Jakebunnies have taken over. I'm fighting a losing battle. Jake went to the groomer.

I thought shorter hair would reduce the Jakebunnies. I just made them smaller. And faster. Harder to catch.
So, if you come for a visit - step over the toys and ignore the Jakebunnies. They aren't nearly as annoying as the lick in the ear you are going to get  when you sit on the couch.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Is if Friday yet? I mean May?

Every Tuesday, rain or shine, hot or cold, I have parking lot duty before and after school. I had duty today. So I know it must be Tuesday. Just Tuesday. Not Hump day or Friday eve - just Tuesday. Why, oh why then am I so tired? Not sleepy tired - plum, wo' out tired!

Might be the past weekend just catching up. Brooke, Jared, and I took the UMY kids to Hot Springs for Veritas 2011.
Early mornings.

Blacklight raves.

Workshops that made us think.

Praise and worship services until late hours. I did lose some sleep, but the weekend wasn't draining at all. It was uplifting. Don't get me wrong - I did come in and crash on Sunday afternoon. But I just felt sleepy, not drained.

Today I feel drained. And am looking forward to Friday and the weekend. I'm really looking forward to Friday about 6 weeks from now. These next few weeks are always stressful. Testing looms heavily in the future for me and my students, but it actually starts rolling next week with Literacy EOC's. It's hard to believe really. A year of planning, teaching, learning, all measured in a test that takes just a few days. But because so many areas and grade levels are tested, we will have testing going on almost each week from next week until the first week in May. It does slow down the last few weeks of April, but still there are tests.

My students have projects due this week. I am anticipating great things! I have seen a few works-in-progress that have piqued my interest. Students will actually be presenting next week, so I've got a few days to wait. And students have a few days to practice their presentations and tweak their materials. This is the first time I have done a nonfiction independent reading project this way. Even though I am not the one designing and developing the projects, these things are very difficult on me. For all of you parents who have cursed a teacher for assigning a project (and I know you do, I'm a parent too), just imagine having 90+ projects that you must keep tabs on. This afternoon for afterschool tutoring, I had 22 kids working on 22 different projects at 22 different levels of completedness in a tiny computer lab with only 18 working computers (Okay, I farmed a few out, but I did have to keep tabs on them).

So no, it is not Friday yet, nor is it May. We still have several important skills to cover. Tests to conquer. And a few more duty days.

On the upside, tomorrow is Wednesday.....teacher t-shirt day!