Wednesday, August 24, 2011

a last minute invitation

My niece Emy started her college career today. For the last few weeks she has been busy moving into her new apartment and getting settled in. And I have been missing her. So tonight when Lovey and I made a quick trip to town, I texted her, "If you want pizza fir supper me and uncle keith are at mazzio's. We're buying." (don't you love the grammar and spelling? when i txt i forget all rules)

Her response? "Yay! What time lol" and then "I'm not dressed nice. Fair warning."

I sent back, "Neither is uncle keith. Fair warning."

And then she tweeted something about me being the absolute best aunt in the entire world and also her favorite. Or something like that - I'm sure she meant that any.

It was so good to have a few minutes to visit with her. To catch up on what's going on during this busy, exciting time of her life. During the conversation she mentioned that her mom and dad were in town last night and called her for supper. And while they were eating, my sister saw her car at the restaurant and came in to check on her.  I don't think she is going to get a chance to get homesick. Or hungry.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

a new thought

It's the second Tuesday of the school year. The seventh day of class. And today I saw some light! I've seen some sparks. A few glimmers. But today there was a definite GLOW!

Seeing the lightbulbs click on for my students is one of my favorite teacher things. It's great that we had some light today. The first week for seventh graders is usually a blur. I'm not sure they hear much that I say in the entire week. They are just overwhelmed with all the new - new building, new teachers, new schedules, new activities, new procedures. And sometimes in the busyness of first week, I forget. I get frustrated that those sparks don't glow. I start to panic.

What can I do?

What can I change?

Where do I go from here?

What can I do differently?

Maybe it's because we had our first test yesterday. Maybe it's just getting the first week behind us. But today it seemed as though they started to breathe again. Like they had been holding their breath and finally decided to exhale and breathe normally.

Maybe all these years I've been seeing the wrong thing. Maybe it's not a lightbulb but a flame. And a flame can't burn without oxygen.

I've got to remember to tell them to breathe.

Monday, August 22, 2011

welcome home

I glance up just in time.

Lovey's day is done. Off the tractor and walking to the house when they see him.

Supper can wait for a minute. I drop everything and grab the camera.

Going from the cool house into the heat fogs the lens.

I wipe away the condensation and keep clicking.

Capturing the bond,

the obvious love,

between a man and his dogs.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

we're not just playing school

Has the weekend already ended? It went by in a blur. In just a few hours it will be to head to bed and prepare for a brand new week. The second week of school. This is the week where we settle into the year's routine. The second week is real. Real lessons. Real schedules. Real busy.

Not that the first week doesn't count. It's just that there is so much "start up" in the first week. There's the principal's welcome and new rules speech on the first morning. Then in each class the who's who, what do we need, where is everything run down. The changing of schedules. The passing out of textbooks. And each day is a new explanation of procedures. Everything just moves so slow during the first few days of school. But those first days of explanation of rules and procedures are important in setting the tone for the year.

I will have more days of explanation of rules and procedures - lots of reminders of rules and procedures - but things get down-to-business on the second Monday. Schedules are set. Everyone knows where they are going. We've passed the "yes, this is where you are supposed to be" moment. I've got to know my students' strengths and weaknesses. And find a way to increase both.

The second week is real.

Friday, August 19, 2011

how i was conned out of 20 bucks

Every school day from 7:55 until 3:15, I hear a bell at least twice every 45 minute period. I actually hear a modern bell ding then an old fashioned bell bbrrrriiinnngg almost every time. I've never counted how many times in a school day I do hear that bell. But I can tell you that at times it gets very annoying. At times I completely tune it out. At times it is nails on a chalkboard screeching and giving me a headache. But Fridays at 3:15, that bell is the voice of angels singing a hallelujah chorus. Even today when it is only the first Friday of the school year.

However, today's bell was a tad bittersweet. Tomorrow the football team will host a first ever Bear Fest. And many schools in our area had home scrimmages tonight. And it is the first time in a very long time that I don't have a nephew or son playing. And I am sad. Almost lost on a Friday night.

So Lovey and I headed to Monticello to grab a bite to eat. It's mostly just us these days, even at home. We had just placed our order when my phone rang.

"So, where are y'all eating?"

"Cowboy's Express."

"Well, Bubba and I thought we would come eat with you. We thought you would like it."

I'm guessing the conversation in the truck went something like this.

"I'm getting sorta hungry."

"Me too."

"Got any money?"

"Not for you."

"Jerk. Hey, was that Momma and Daddy? I wonder where they're going."

"To eat."

*two evil smiles*

"Call 'em. See where they are going. We can go eat with them, and they'll pay."

And they were right. We did pay. And we did like it. It was no football game, but we liked it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

i'm not worthy

This year I've been assigned to teach a creative writing class as a free elective for 9-12 grades. It's something that I suggested many times thinking that a colleague would be great at. But for a long time we just didn't have the staff to cover an extra class. And that colleague is not in the classroom anymore.

It wasn't a "sure thing" until late in the summer. And most students had preregistered without the creative writing class as an option. So I had a class but no students. Suddenly I was nervous that no one would take the class. Just before the first day of school, I was told that 6 students had registered. Then 7. And the first few days of school added 3 more. A perfect 10. Whew! A sigh of relief.

And then, panic again - now what do I DO with this class?!?

I decided the first thing to do was to get the girls comfortable with each other. I have taught each of the girls in their younger days, and some of them are a tad shy. It will be a difficult year if the students are comfortable sharing and discussing their writings. We started with poems for two voices and poems for four voices. The assignment was simple - choose a partner, practice your reading, come to the front of the class and read the poem. Repeat with the poems for four voices.

Next up choose your group and write your own poem for 2 or 3 or 4 voices.

And today, they read their original poems to the group.

Their poems were great. And I didn't do any teaching - I just gave them an assignment. One student mentioned earlier this week that she has a blog. Then today another told me that she has a blog. And then another. These girls are going to be teaching me! And I may have a few guests posts in the near future.

This class is going to be such a challenge - for me. I'm definitely feeling the pressure to up my game. I have ask Melissa to be a guest speaker. And now that I know that some of the girls are bloggers, she MUST come. More than once.

Because I heard their poems today, and I'm not worthy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

my vocabulary has ruined my kids careers

I have mentioned that I have a problem with insomnia. I can usually go to sleep but can't stay that way. Sometimes I wake up after only an hour or so of sleep and can't get back to sleep until almost time to get out of bed. Sometimes I spend my night bouncing back and forth asleep, awake, asleep, awake. And every now and then I can't get to sleep at all.

I have also mentioned that lately I have been trying to be more active. Because of my recent increase in activity, my right knee is giving me fits. FITS I tell you! It hurts. Some days worse than others; yesterday was a some day. When I got home from work, it was swollen and causing pain up and down my entire leg. I have been taking Ibuprofen, but last night I had to take a pain pill before I went to bed.

Yesterday, I posted about my boys catching a wild pig.  And I'm sure the trap has been reset in hopes of catching another. There is much work to be done on a farm, but somehow they always find time to chase down wild critters.

Now! To try and tie this all together.

Last night I woke up twice. And each time I was thinking about the same thing. ERUDITE.

Several years ago, I was chatting with a friend from high school. And she used the word in conversation. I've known her a long time, so I wasn't surprised by her use of the word. But I have to say it's not a word I hear thrown about in everyday conversation. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I've ever heard it used in casual conversation. I'm no dummy, but I am a simple girl. Not simple-minded, just low maintenance, down to earth.

And last night when I woke up thinking about ERUDITE, I had an epiphany (I do use that word). She casually throws around words like erudite. And this summer her son was at a camp where he split his DNA and then made a necklace out of it. I can't even begin to imagine how that is done. By a high school kid. At summer camp. While I, of the simple vocabulary, have two boys who would have never finished high school if they didn't have to maintain a certain GPA to be eligible for football. The boys have no interest whatsoever in reading or furthering their education. I can't count how many times I've been asked, "Where is he going to school?" when standing in line at the grocery store or gas pump. And I want to return, "Do you know my boys?" They have absolutely no interest in anything that might involve homework.

So last night in my insomnia/medicated/Lord,-don't-let-'em-bring-home-a-pig-to-keep sleep, I realized something. If I had only thrown around a few words like erudite, my boys would probably be pre-med students right now. And I might have a necklace with my DNA inside.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

with boys, you just never know

Growing up, my brother, sister and I had a few critters. Some that we brought home first and then asked to keep. I can remember my daddy waking us up with a baby squirrel he caught while coon hunting. Once we brought home baby rabbits that our dog discovered first. My mom had to sew a few wounds with needle and thread. And I think the dog managed to turn the cage over and get the babies a few days later. So I wasn't surprised when my boys first begged for cute little puppies.

Over the past 14 years, our house had been home to various dogs and cats, a tame rabbit, a wild rabbit, hermit crabs, some kind of rodent, a flying squirrel, a secret project involving spiders, a baby deer, orphaned calves, and a few wild hogs. When I hear the words, "Momma, come see what we caught!" I never know what to expect. Sometimes I'm scared to ask.

This afternoon, I was enjoying a peaceful house when I heard the call, "Momma, you want to come look?" I know there are puppies that I haven't seen yet, so I hoped for puppies. But no. It was a hog. Not a baby pig. A young hog. Caught this morning in a trap set in an uncle's field and wrestled out of said trap to bring home and turn loose in a former dog pen turned hog pen. Before I went to see today's catch, I was shown a stab wound to the leg. Seems Baby Jus let a knife slip while trying to cut the hog loose and stabbed Big Boy in the calf. What's a good hog story without a scar to show? Right?

The last time he brought a pig home, it had to be bottle fed. It was cute and cuddly. Well, as cuddly as a pig can be. And it grew and grew. But we all had fallen for that cute cuddly baby, and we loved that big ugly pig. Today's pig was neither cute nor cuddly. He was mean. And I was happy to hear, "Bryan's coming to get him."

And he has. I wonder if Bryan walks in the house saying, "Momma, you want to come look?"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Insomnia Owns Me

Every year it happens. Every year I plan for it. Every year I fight it. Every year I fail.

The first day of school can be a little crazy. No matter how good the day goes when it ends, I am exhausted. After all of the first days, I know it ends this way. And I try to prepare for the exhaustion.

The previous week was a bit taxing. So it was absolute perfection that Saturday was a lazy, rainy day. I napped most of the day. Sunday I made sure to do just the opposite - I didn't even think about napping. I exercised, twice. I had lunch at my momma's. I worked in my classroom for a few hours. I had an easy, relaxing evening. Then just to seal the deal, I took Tylenol PM about an hour before my usual bedtime. It should have been a great night's sleep. It should have been such a revitalizing rest. But insomnia owns me.

I did eventually get to sleep. A little later than I had hoped, but not so late that the night was ruined. Then I woke up with those blasted little wheels in my head just a turning. I went back to sleep. And again I was jolted awake by those damned wheels. It happened over and over. And when that alarm rang, I was so not ready to get out of bed. Actually, getting up this morning wasn't so bad; it was that wall I hit around 1:30 this afternoon that kicked my butt.

So, it's almost 9:00. I'm thinking tonight I won't even go to my bedroom until about 10:30. Or should I go earlier? Should I go around 9-ish and read? Should I have a glass of wine now and go to bed at 10? Should I try again with the Tylenol PM? Crap! Those little wheels are starting to turn.

If I could just find a way to turn it off. Go eight hours without thinking. My insomnia comes and goes. I have gone months and months with only 2-3 hours of interupted sleep. And then it will just go away. I'll sleep like a baby. Sometimes I'll even go for more than a year without any sleep issues. And I think I bring it on myself on nights like last night. I try to force it. I worry about it before it happens. Which solidifies the fact that it will.

I am starting to ramble - blame it on a lack of sleep. I am Mer. I am a rambler. And insomnia owns me.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

a rainy, lazy Saturday

The rain set in sometime last night. And the lightning. Around 3 a.m. there was a CRACK and brightness and the house shook terribly. And then Lovey and I went right back to sleep. Usually I'm nervous during a storm, but last night I was just so tired, and the sound of the much needed rain was more of a comfort than a threat.

And after lunch today, the rain returned. And this house napped. Such a rarity to have everyone at home, and even more to have everyone resting, recharging. It just doesn't happen often. All chores were forgotten. No to-do's were done. Today we simply napped. And it was glorious.

Now everyone is awake. Lovey went to visit his momma. The boys are ready to go out for the night. And the dogs are just back from a romp in the new creek stretching across the hayfield. Wet. Muddy. Happy.

And a new to-do list: give dogs a bath.

And I'm so happy to have a break in the heat that I don't even mind.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What's on your playlist?

Any playlist. But especially your walk/run/workout playlist. I need a walk-run-workout playlist that will inspire me to walk/run/workout.

I've had an iphone for what seems like a very long time. I upgraded to an iphone 4 back in June. But I have never used the ipod function of my phone. Everyone in my family has an ipod. Baby Jus listens to his constantly. Lovey uses his when he's on the tractor cutting/raking/baling hay. I've just never added much music to mine.

But I'm trying to be more active. And I need some music to get me moving. So that I will. Get moving.

When I changed phones, I also got wireless headphones. Since then I have added some songs. My SIL has convinced my to listen to music while mowing. And I've got one of the couch25k apps. This morning I completed week 2 day 1. And I'm tired of hearing the same songs everyday.

So, what are you listening to? What is your go to song to get you moving? What are the must have tunes?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I can't comment. Had this problem a few days ago. Read some "help" posts and followed advice posted by others and was able to comment. Suddenly I can't seem to get it to work again. 

I am not staying logged in. That was the problem before.

So, if you have commented on a post, please know that I am not ignoring you.

Monday, August 1, 2011

For the Record

My desk in clean!

There are people who would say that my desk is NEVER clean. They are wrong.

Granted, today is the first day that I have worked at said desk since it had to be cleared for summer vacation.

But today, my desk is clean. For the record.