On Not Flying to Hawaii

I could be the waitress
in the airport restaurant
full of tired cigarette smoke and unseeing tourists.
I could turn into the never-noticed landscape
hanging identically in all the booths
or the customer behind the Chronicle
who has been giving advice
about stock portfolios for forty years. I could be his mortal weariness,
his discarded sports section, his smoldering ashtray.

I could be the 70-year-old woman who has never seen Hawaii,
touching her red lipstick and sprayed hair.
I could enter the linen dress
that poofs around her body like a bridesmaid,
or become her gay son
sitting opposite her, stirring another sugar
into his coffee for lack of something true to say.
I could be the reincarnated soul of the composer
of the Muzak that plays relentlessly overhead,
or the factory worker who wove this fake Oriental carpet,
or the hushed shoes of the busboy.

But I don't want to be the life of anything in this pitstop.
I want to go to Hawaii, the wet, hot
impossible place in my heart that knows just what it desires.
I want money, I want candy.
I want sweet ukelele music and birds who drop from the sky.
I want to be the volcano who lavishes
her boiling rock soup love on everyone,
and I want to be the lover
of volcanos, who loves best what burns her as it flows.

Alison Luterman


Yeah me!!!!

So it's only 11am and I have already accomplished something for the day! (considering I slept in until 9am, this is a big deal) I am not technologically advanced, yet I am very jealous of other people's beautiful blogs. I've been searching all day for ways to make my blog, "prettier." The simplest thing I could find were the blog buttons. And I just made one. Go me. Not very exciting for those of you that understand code and all that, but a big step for me. We'll see where this can lead!

On another note, I have finally determined that having a six month old lab puppy is what I imagine would be like having a three year old, on steroids, hopped up on sugar, that thinks he can fly. Coen is literally jumping his way around my house this morning from piece of furniture to piece of furniture (and he is only allowed on a small covered section of the couch).

 A little while ago I heard a ruckus in my living room. Coen was doing his talking (yipping barks) and my ten year old cat was growling and yowling. This is pretty normal in my house, but it got continuously louder. I walked in the room to find Coen lying on top of a huge quilt that I had recently washed for my mom, with the cat buried somewhere inside. I mean, what can be more fun for a lab pup than jumping on a kitty in a quilt?
Well, now that I have accomplished my button, it is off to organize my shed. It has become extremely unorganized and I can not ever find anything that I need. At this point, I'm not really sure what's out there. I am just praying to God that I do not find any small animals. As much of an animal lover as I am, I just hope they aren't living in my shed underneath boxes. Who comes up with these tasks?  I guess I always need something to accomplish.


Wow, I'm able to text blogs now. Amazing.


Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

My New Crush

Tootsie Rolls. How long has it been since you ate a tootsie roll? I hadn't even thought about these since years ago, more than likely the last time I went trick-or-treating. That is until one of my students gave me a box of them for Christmas. At first, I was thinking, great, tootsie rolls; reese cups would have been better. But then I ate one. It's a little slice of heaven. One reason being, they are low calorie candy!!! I did a little research and you can eat six little rolls for only 140 calories. How perfect.

Although, I almost made a fool out of myself in my joy of rediscovering tootsie rolls. Tonight, when I was leaving for the gym, I thought to myself, "I'm always a little nausous after doing the ellipitical for 45 minutes. Maybe I should bring a few tootsie rolls to give me a little something afterwards so I don't feel queasy." So I put a few in my pocket.

Well, as I was about to get on the elliptical, pulling off my jacket, tootsie rolls started to fall out of my pocket. Luckily, I caught them before they fell across the floor. How embarassing. I can just see the ripped dude behind me on the tread mill thinking, "Oh yeah, a workout will never help that booty with candy falling from her pocket."


500 Days of Summer

I don’t think that this movie received the credit that it deserves. I saw it previewed several times, but never heard much about it past that. My mom asked for it for Christmas and I was glad to buy it for her. We watched it the other night and I fell in love. Rarely does a movie come along that speaks to what life is really like.

Typically there are the silly fairy tale love stories that allow us to believe in unrealistic love. Like if you really do get the chance to speak to the guy again, meeting in the street with a coffee in hand, that he will confess that he has always loved you and never meant to let you go. Nope, doesn’t happen that way to most of us. This movie is a testament to how it is for the rest of us. We fall in love, think that FINALLY, we have “the one", the one to take us out of the horrible dating market of cheesy pickup lines and unclassy dates involving a quick jump from a moving car to save yourself from an obligatory kiss.

This movie is a testament to finding that love and losing it. Of course, you want it to end happily with the guy and the girl in love, but instead, it just doesn’t. It ends the way that life ends, with one of them being forced to heal a heart.

Oh, and the soundtrack is beautiful!!! Regina Spektor, The Smiths, Hall and Oates, Feist. This is going to be a gotta have.

Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas

For years, this has been a family tradition at Christmas; the Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas movie must be watched. For the past few years I think I’ve been able to evade this tradition. I was informed Christmas Eve that I am usually asleep or reading at the point that everyone watches it. Well, this year I succumbed and watched with my family.

It really is a cute muppet movie that bases it’s story line on the O’Henry’s short story, “The Gift of the Magi.”  The best part was at the end when my brother suggested we watch the Bloopers. Who would guess that a muppet movie would have Bloopers. It had us all crying from laughing so hard.


My favorite Christmas gifts

As always this Christmas, I was spoiled rotten. But it’s always fun to spoil others rotten as well. I can’t wait to have kids some day for that reason. I imagine that it will be so exciting to see my children opening up Christmas presents. I keep finding myself coming up with great ideas on what to buy people for Christmas still, forgetting that Christmas is over. I guess I’ll have to focus on birthdays now.

Here are a few of my favorite Christmas presents this year.

006This is a laundry bag, embroidered with my initial that I received from Alicia. I had never thought about bringing a bag for my dirty clothes on my travels. What a great idea! 008This is a book bag from Cara that she purchased off of etsy.com. I think that etsy might end up being my new guilty pleasure. I am going to start carrying my books everywhere with me. Maybe then I’ll get more read. Cara also gave me this yummy lotion, Sweet Nag Champa Love . The smell of this lotion takes me back to my days in college where Nag Champa was burned in most dorm rooms, trailers, and apartments. It still has that strong memory sense for me whenever I smell it. I love how the girl who makes this lotion describes it, “Great for everyday use, but especially great for date nights or occasions when you want your skin to slip softly through the hands of a lover!”

 The Shack is a book that my mom gave me. It’s one that I have had recommended to me numerous times from several different people. After reading it, my aunt commented to my mom that one of the main characters reminded her of me because of their forgiving nature. It’s kept my curiosity ever since.


This is a ridiculously simple baseball cap that I have pined over for about six months now. I saw a girl on the beach with it on this past June and have admired it ever since. Why? I can’t explain. It’s simple, it’s beige, it’s classic.

012This is a Tervis Tumbler that I received from my mom. It keeps your drinks cold or hot, without condensation. That’s a big deal in the heat down here. Ice melts in mere seconds. I love this and have a feeling I will be purchasing more! 

013Finally, and most importantly, there is my new laptop from Daddy/Santa. I didn’t realize how much fun I would have with word processing and the internet at my fingertips. I’ve been using the excuse for not writing anything due to the uncomfortable place that my desktop computer is in my home. The last thing I want to do at night is to perch at the computer desk where my arms go numb from typing. So along with this glorious present, I must begin writing!!

What a Merry Christmas!!


Dog Park on Christmas Day

Recently Mom found a dog park here in Destin. My parents had taken their dogs out there before, but didn't get to spend much time there. After a full day of all the dogs together in the house, it was apparent that we needed to take them out to run. It was either that, or Coen was going to bring down the Christmas tree (which he had already attempted once). We loaded up the whole gang, Christmas scarves and all. It was a great day. The area that was fenced in was so huge; there was about an acre for them to run and chase each other. Ely, being the neurotic little guy that he is, chose to stand in the middle of the pond, splash water, and bark. They all ran their butts off. After being rinsed off and dried, we took them home. Since then there hasn't been much movement. Most all of them are sacked out somewhere. Such a great Christmas day for us and the pooches!!

Yeah!!! New laptop for Christmas. Now I can keep up with my blog AND possibly have the motivation to start writing a book!!


Evil Bat Boy

Coen can go from sweet to evil in five seconds. Poor thing with his huge ears. I don't think he'll ever grow into them. But he sure does like showing off his new teeth. This is actually him smiling, not snarling.

Spa Day

For my birthday this year my brother bought me a day at "the spa." I was floored. It was such a nice present. I had never been to this hotel as a guest, so I was very excited for the entire experience. I got to choose from a massage, a pedicure, manicure, or facial. I decided to wait until after volleyball season, because I knew that I would definitely need the massage then. This past Friday I took off from school to have my massage.

Ben didn't tell me what to really expect. All I knew is that I would get an hour long massage, there would be a whirlpool, a steam room, and a sauna. When the time came to go, I wasn't really sure what I should expect. Do I bring a bathing suit? Should I put on makeup? Do my hair? What do you wear to the spa? I opted to do my hair, minimal makeup, and skip the bathing suit. I was sure I would just enjoy the massage and sitting in a quiet room.

When I got there I was greeted by an attendant. She brought me down a darkly lit, quiet hallway, into a large changing room. The changing room was what all women imagine as the perfect room to get ready in, lush chairs, fragrant candles, marble vanities, etc. She gave me a robe, a locker, and told me to put the robe on and take everything off. Everything? Like as in naked? "Surely not," I thought to myself. I'm not going to be prancing around here in nothing but a robe. I mean, I'm not too modest, but there were a lot of people walking around.
When I left the dressing room, I went up to my attendant.

I whispered to her, "Am I supposed to take off EVERYTHING?"
"Yes, so you'll be ready for the whirlpool and sauna." I choked a little.
"Oh, okay." I went back to the dressing room and stripped it all off.
A little liberating I must say, but my stomach was rolling a bit.

My attendant then led me down a hall. She pointed out the showers with the tolietries, the steam room with eucaliptus water to spray into the air, cold washclothes to put on your face when you're done, and the sauna. Then she opened the door to the quiet room. THIS is what I had been waiting for.

The quiet room had soft music playing, candles burning around the room, fresh fruit and water, and a whirpool along the far wall. My attendant told me that I should take advantage of the whirlpool after my massage. It would be good for me.
"And all you need to do is to wrap a towel around you, and slip in. Don't worry, it's all women, and nobody's perfect. A lot of people are naked here," she said.

My stomach flipped. Great, now all I would worry about is how to enter that whirlpool without showing my white butt to all these women. I sat for awhile in the quiet room, and then my attendant came to get me. She led me down another dark hallway, and introduced me to my masseuse.
The massage was great. There were a few times that I almost fell asleep I was so relaxed. When it was over I had a hard time opening my eyes and standing up. My masseuse led me back down a hall and back into the quiet room. I sat down. There it was, the whirlpool.

I started going back and forth in my head. Should I do it? Should I shed my robe to sit in the hot bubbly pool. It would feel nice on my back and shoulders. I would do it. I didn't want to go home and regret not having sat in the whirlpool. Besides, my brother had bought me the spa experience. I didn't want to just have the massage and not take advantage of it all. But I needed a plan.
Of course the quiet room was packed at this point. I sat for a few minutes, pretending to read a spa magazine as I formulated my plan. Wrap the towel, drop the robe, slip in the whirlpool. It couldn't be that hard. All the women were reading their magazines. No one would be looking at me.
I made a break for it,grabbed a towel, and stood beside the whirlpool. I tried to open my robe, facing a wall, and wrap a towel around me. That's when it all went bad. My robe began to slip, and fell partially into the whirlpool. As I tried to grab my robe and toss it up onto the ledge, my towel started to fall. I tried to "slip" into the whirlpool with my towel still around me, realizing there would be no slipping. More like "kersplash." Finally, I was in.

Well, as most women know, the ladies up top don't sink, they float. And apparently when you are in a whirpool, they REALLY float. Along with your entire body. There I was sitting on small ledge, my body being propelled to the surface of the water.
I gripped the ledge with my fingers, trying to push myself back under the water. It was almost futile. About this time, another woman was making an awkward entrance into the whirlpool. Could everyone in the room see me at this point? Could they notice my struggle to sit down? And the water wasn't even that hot. This was not worth it. But I couldn't just get right out. I had to endure the water for a few minutes.
I tried lying a towel behind my head and relaxing. But that only further propelled my body towards the surface. Finally, I realized that by bending a knee and placing a foot on the ledge, I could hold my body down. I bet I looked really comfortable, curled into a tight ball holding onto the ledge for dear life.
Finally, I was done. At this point, I could really care less who saw my white butt. I grabbed my towel threw it around me, grabbed my wet robe, put it on, and sat down in a chair, to try and relax again.
After awhile I decided to try something else. I went in the steam room for a few minutes, but it was so hot, I couldn't take it for that long. At this point I was oily for the massage and sweaty from the steam room. Why not take a shower? They had shampoo, conditioner, body wash, everything you needed.
So I took a shower. I made sure to rub a towel under my eyes when I got out. I didn't want to have mascara all over my face. But there was no makeup on the towel.
I went back into the main changing room to grab my clothes from the locker. One woman looked at me, made a face, and quickly looked away.
All I could think was, "Oh, she probably recognizes me as the awkward woman from the whirlpool." I went into a changing room and gasped when I saw myself in the mirror. I had mascara ALL OVER my face. Not just a little smeared under my eyes. I mean, it was dripping down to my chin. I looked like night of the living dead. I was mortified.
Quickly, I got dressed and did my best at wiping the makeup from my face. I left the changing room and found my attendant. Luckily she had some eye makeup remover to lend me. I cleaned up my face and high tailed it out of there.
So much for me at a spa. While the massage was wonderful, and the entire spa was beautiful and decadent, I don't know if I'm meant for "the spa." It was all intimidating to me. I do know that if I had a friend with me, we would probably have been kicked out for giggling too much. Who knows, maybe if I try it again I'll be a little more prepared and bring a bathing suit.


So every year before Halloween, I have all these great ideas about what I can dress up as. And then every year, I completely bail out. I don't put forth the time or effort to create the elaborate costumes that some people come up with. And I'm always jealous.
I knew this year that I had a costume party to attend, and I had to come up with some costume. I kept trying to come up with someone I could dress up as.
I finally narrowed it down two possibilities. First, Sookie, from True Blood. It would be pretty easy. Black shorts, Merlotte's shirt, Keds, a pony tail, and a bite mark.

But I thought that a lot of people might not know who I was if they didn't watch the show. My second choice was Octomom. Crazy, a hot mess, and babies. I could do that easily. I mean her hair is even nasty looking and dyed.

I wouldn't have to try too hard with this one. So, I found black hair spray color, and eight baby dolls at the dollar store. I looked up all the babies' names, wrote them across their shirts, borrowed a papoose to carry them in, and then sprayed my hair, and lined my lips. The result was a little hard to look at. I caught myself off guard a few times throughout the night when I saw myself in a mirror. A few people commented on my fantastic "wig," while others didn't recognize me at all. I guess I shouldn't go dark.


Fire Pit

So this past Saturday I had my long awaited block party. All in all it was a pretty good time. You can't go wrong with cold weather, good friends, good food, and two kegs of beer. My mom came into town for the night and was gracious enough to help me get the house ready, and somehow I got everything done that I wanted to (except for mowing the lawn, but that can ALWAYS wait). My house looked very pretty and I had a lot of people that commented on my new chandelier. :) Unfortunately, after all of the trouble I went to, to make my porch look nice, I forgot to take any pictures. I didn't take any the entire night.

The one thing I was looking forward to the most was the one thing that didn't really turn out as expected. This spring when my parents moved to Destin, I inherited their fire pit. I've always wanted one and was so excited to get it. Even though I have four fireplaces in my house, the house is so old that they have all been bricked in. I'm so jealous anytime someone mentions that they built a fire.
So all year I've been preparing to use the fire pit! Everytime the wind has picked up and limbs have falled, I've gone through the yard collecting twigs and stacking them on the pit to burn later.
Well, this Saturday the time had finally come. I took all my twigs and broke them into small pieces. I placed them carefully in the pit and made a little stack of twigs next to it to burn. My mom had promised to bring some pine cones to make the fire smell nice. It was going to be great! I'd have a nice fire in the front yard for people to crowd around in the cold weather we were finally having. But it didn't work out as I had envisoned.
First of all, the damn thing wouldn't light. I tried my hardest to blow on the fire, add more twigs, burn newspaper, etc. I consider myself a pretty resourceful person, and I have watched other people and made numerous fires of my own. But the damn thing would not catch.
I kept looking to the guys around as if it was their responsibility to get this fire going. Where is Bear when you need him?

Finally, a friend of mine stepped up and had my fire roaring after a few minutes of trying.

Within twenty minutes, I was out of twigs. No more fire. After six months of saving these damn twigs, thinking about the wonderfully warm fire I would have, my "wood pile" had burnt up in twenty minutes. Everyone was laughing at me when they asked where more wood for the fire was, and I would hold up one of my twigs.

My neighbor, being the generous man that he is, brought a bag of charcoal down from his house and we ended up standing around a fire pit burning charcoal. My sweater still smells like a grill.

Christmas Cards

I've decided this year to have Christmas cards made with pictures on them, rather than buy the typical ones. At first this excited me, now it's stressing me out a bit. I feel like I have to tell the story of my life, of the past year, in three pictures. Is that even possible? So much has happened to me. I have the card picked out, but I keep going back and forth trying to decide on which pictures to use. Paris, Germany with Dad, Grayson, Coen, the beach, birthday, etc.etc.etc. How do I narrow down a year into three images?


UAH Interview

I received a call today from the lady in charge of the scholarship that I received this past spring: http://oip.uah.edu/star.php. Apparently my name was chosen out of the group and someone wants to interview me about my project and my trip. I'm pretty flattered about the whole thing and very curious to see how this all turns out. I just pray that I get some positive feedback from my students and this whole project isn't a wash.

If this all turns out like I've planned, I think that I am really going to take all of this to another level. Now that I've found a novel and really connected with the material, the characters, the time period, the author, the movement, etc, I think that I could take all of my research so much further. I'm considering taking a group of students to Spain this next year. From the response I've received from a few students, I think that there would be a large number of kids interested in going. Then I could continue my research and documenting in Spain.

Don't be an idiot.

Big pet peeve, people who reply to all. For some odd reason the alumni center at Auburn's College of Education sent out an email newsletter with a list serve. Now EVERYONE that received the email is freaking out and responding that they want to be taken off the list. Everytime one of these dumbasses wants to respond about receiving this annoying email from Auburn, I get a freaking copy. I want to karate chop someone in the throat.


So last night was the OAR concert. I don't know much of their music, but the few songs I've heard, I enjoy. A fellow teacher at school was grateful to offer me some extra tickets he had. Of course, being the wonderful sister that I am, I asked my brother if he wanted to go with me. Being the typical brother that he is, he already had tickets and was going with friends. I ended up going with another friend of mine. While the concert was good and I don't have anything to complain about, it wasn't the concert that I found fun. But rather, the people that I observed throughout the night.
Things that made me smile:
1) Texting my brother to find out where was sitting, only to look up and find him at the end of my row with a goofy smile on his face.
2) Trying to figure out in the dark, with Nick, whether the twelve year olds sitting next to us were actually drinking Miller Lite. Going on about how we can't believe someone would have bought them an overpriced eight dollar beer, only to find out, it was only Sprite.
3) Watching a woman have terrible fits of excitement over the music where she would wave her arms in the air (almost hitting her husband) and shake her head violently so that her hair would swing back and forth. Only to moments later, relaxing and patting her son on his head.
4) Two little girls (about six and ten years old), stacked from neck to chin in glow in the dark necklaces, screaming, dancing, and singing along to all the songs. I have never in my life seen people so excited to watch a band play as these little girls were. They even had the gruff security guard chuckling.
5) Watching the pitiful attempts of the poor girl in front of us to communicate with her date who NEVER moved an inch the entire night. I'm calling a bad first date.
6) Admiring the swag on the security guard. He doesn't get paid $8 an hour to listen to bad music for nothing.


15 weeks old
35 pounds-gained 7 in one week
Enough Said.

Cable Guy

Recently I read a fellow blogger's post where she talked about living life for the moment and not living with regrets. This past weekend I was faced with one of those moments and decided to tackle it. It didn't give me the desired result, more so just a few laughs, but I definitely can't say that I don't have any regrets.
I've been waiting for weeks to get my satellite fixed. Certain channels (CNN for Headline news with Robin Meade in the morning in particular. I can't start my day without Bob telling me what my flight delays are going to be) weren't coming in because the satellite needed to be redirected. So I made the appointment and they sent out a technician.
Well, they didn't send out any technician, the sent out the nicest looking technician they could find. He was tall, handsome, and could carry a ladder around my yard like it was a stick. My friend and I chose to sit on my front porch and just watch him as he walked back and forth to his truck. He was extremely nice and actually offered to not only fix my satellite, but also to replace it so that I wouldn't have this problem again.
When he was done he had to come inside and check the reception. I was smitten. You know, the kind of moment where you wonder what kind of obnoxious grin you have on your face, and you say stupid things that you look back on and wonder, "What the hell was I thinking?" It got really awkward when he had to go into my room to check the reception in there. Thank god I didn't have my folded laundry sitting around like I normally do, so he could take a gander at my undies. We were standing in my bedroom flipping through channels when he mentioned he's "going to have to get his earmuffs out." I filtered through my mind trying to figure out what he could possible mean. I finally realized he was refering to our sudden drop in temperature from 85 to 45 degree weather. It was obvious he was trying to make small talk and was possibly having one of those "what kind of obnoxious grin do I have on my face" moments as well. As he was leaving he placed a sticker on my reciever so that I had the number to call in case I had any more problems, and then handed me another put "somewhere safe."
After he left and I sat drooling on my porch, I kept commenting to my friend that he was the tallest (being that I am normally faced with a man several inches shorter than me) and hottest man I had seen in awhile. She suggested I should have given him my number, and we went through all the embarassing and silly scenerios that could have ensued. I thought to myself, "I should have given him my number. What do I have to lose?" And the answer to that is, Absolutely Nothing.
I thought back to the fellow blogger's post and decided I needed to live in the moment. I proceeded to call the cable company and try to explain to a guy, probably outsourced from India, that I wanted to speak to the office that had dispatched this technician. The man kept asking me if I had problems and needed teh technician to come back to my house. I finally, and through mass giggles, explained I wanted to give him my number. He sincerely responded, "Oh, you would like give him an appreciative message?" Yes, if you want to call it that. He transfered me to the office and after a few painful moments and a few more giggles, I explained to the woman that I wanted to leave "my technician" my number. She seemed pretty okay with that, and even repeated my number and name to make sure she had it correct.
After I hung up I couldn't stop laughing. Did I think this hottie would call me back? No way. But was it fun to do and consider? Yes. Did I have any regrets? No.
In the end, it gave me a little confidence. When pursuing men, (as they sometimes need to be pursued in today's modern world) there really is nothing to lose. I'll always have my dignity and don't really have a reputation to ruin. And who knows? Maybe someday that "technician" will be on hand to fix my satellite when I yell to him from another room.


What we are willing to give up.

Sleep is very important to me. VERY IMPORTANT. Already, I am dreading coming home tonight after this concert for fear that I won't get into bed at a reasonable hour. I sound like an eighty year old, I know. But without at least seven hours of sleep, I don't function.
So when I booked rooms this year for the Gulf Shores volleyball tournament, I immediately claimed that I would sleep in a bunk in the condo. I did not want to share a bed with anyone. I wanted my own bed to be able to stretch out in, in order to get a good night's sleep. Little did I know that taking a bunk was the wrong idea. Not only did the cover have sand all over it, it was impossible for me to lie flat with my legs stretched out because the bunk was so freaking short. Being a stomach sleeper, this was near criminal. I had to bend my legs at the knee while lying on my stomach. To top things off, the girls left on a TV and put the AC on 65. It was a frigid, uncomfortable night full of nightmares with game show voices.


It was only a week ago that I was praying the volleyball would be over. As much as I love my players and enjoying coaching, it takes all the time I have and leaves none for things I need or want to do. Even the menial things like doing laundry, playing with my pups, grocery shopping, or getting my cable fixed were out of the question. There simply was not enough time in the week for me to accomplish anything. Weekends even seemed drab because I was frantically trying to get things ready for the next week. No down time.
Now that volleyball is over, I'm starting to go through an awkward stage of trying to figure out what to do with my time (hence, writing blogs). Last week I went full force into my free time, using up every spare minute. I had my hair highlighted, cut the grass, took the puppy to the vet, had the satellite fixed, and then jumped into my house projects.
We have our annual block party coming up this weekend. This year, the party is in front of my house. This doesn't necessarily mean that people will be in my house, but just in case.....
First on my agenda was to paint the ceiling in my front room. The woman who lived here before me had painted the entire ceiling a hideous forest green. It completely closed off the room and sucked out any light. Suprisingly, painting a ceiling is not as bad as it sounds.
Next was my artsy project (thanks to Jackie for the idea) of painting an old chandelier my mom had given me. I stripped it of all it's wires and painted it a teal green. Now it's hanging on my front porch, looking spectacular I might add.
Then yesterday I tackled all the rest: framed pictures, worked on my picture wall, painted porch chairs, power washed the house, and planted new flowers. DONE! I must admit my hard work has paid off and on the slight chance someone might ask to see my house, I think I'm ready.
But now, today when I come home from work and am faced with four hours of free time (until I head off to the OAR concert!!) I don't know what to do with myself. It sort of scared me a bit to think of all the free time that is looming in the future. What do I do with all this time? My projects are all complete. Cleaning can't be done every day. The gym is always an option. But I feel like I need to do something productive. I need an end to my means, something to be proud of. What's next?

Wish Bracelets

The June before last I came across these wish bracelets in New Orleans. I have two that have become knotted together over time, purple and green. Each color signifies a wish that I hope will come true.

You can buy them at the tourist/vodoo shops in the French Quarter. For only a dollar, them come in a variety of colors. "Legend" goes that you are supposed to tie the bracelets on your wrist with three knots. As each knot is tied, you repeat a wish to yourself. Then you are supposed to wear the bracelet until it falls off. When it falls off, your wish comes true.

I don't think about the bracelets that much anymore; they've become a part of me. It wasn't until this summer that it finally occured to me how long they have on! When I first got them on I did a little research to find out exactly where they originated from and found out that they can last for over a year( http://travelvice.com/archive/2007/02/salvador-bonfim-wish-ribbons.php). Damn right they can!

I know that some people have aversions to making wishes, but how can you not believe in a wish? If there wasn't something we could all hope for in our lives, what would we have left? Lately I've been noticing my wish bracelets more. I've been focusing on exactly what it was that I wished for when I first tied them on. I think that's their purpose, to remind you what you want out of life. I have a deep feeling that they are going to be falling off soon. I can only hope that they bring my wishes to me.


An Afternoon with Young Writers and Rick Bragg

Earlier this year I had my Creative Writing students all submit a poem to a writing competition. I have to admit that I originally made them do this so that I could get them writing something, but also so that I could do my job as a teacher and keep my students "involved". When I found out that three of my students from that class had won awards, I was floored. I've had students win writing awards before, but this really struck close to home. The entire reason I chose this job at Davidson was because they offered me the Creative Writing classes. And over the years it's become more of a beast than the refreshing writing workshop that I envisioned. It's not often that I get affirmation for the work that I do with my students.
One student in particular is an amazing writer. I've tried to motivate him and help him with his craft. It's just hard to give brillant writers the time and instruction that they need when you have twenty nine other kids that really could care less and are more interested in "I can go to the bathroom?" (a statement asked as a question with inflection at the end)
So this afternoon I piled the three kids up in my car and took them to a local private school. I wasn't very familiar with Rick Bragg other than hearing from friends about how wonderful his books are. http://www.randomhouse.com/knopf/authors/bragg/
But I was motivated and entertained this afternoon. First of all, my three students won the Honorable Mention, Third Place, and First Place awards for poetry. It made me swoon to see them walk up to the stage and accept their awards and get a copy of Mr. Bragg's book, It's All Over but the Shoutin'. As I looked around at all the Honors students dressed in their plaid skirts and pressed khakis, I was overwhelmed with pride at two of my students who stood out among the rest with their professionally braided hair and popular colored contacts. They weren't meant or expected to be a part of this elite group, and yet their writing had stood out among the majority of Honors students. And it was even more endearing when one of my students, who might never win another award or certificate in her life, turned to me and asked, "What does Honorable Mention mean?" In so many words I explained to her that it meant she needed to take that certificate home and frame it.

As Bragg began to address the crowd with his suggestions for writing, he reaffirmed my confidence in teaching Creative Writing, when he told the young writers to always remember to "Show" and not "Tell." This is something I learned myself in college writing classes and had always made a point to teach to my students. To hear a well-known author suggest the same gave me a little satisfaction in knowing that perhaps I am on the right track with my teaching style. He continued on to tell wonderful ancedotes of his writing career and life; once even glancing up (as we sat in a private school's chapel) and "swore to God." At one point as he asked the crowd of young writers to raise their hand if they hoped to become a full-time writer someday, I found myself raising my hand and then blushing when I realized he was speaking to them and not the teachers.

I left with a little more confidence in my abilities, more motivation in my opportunities to write, one aspiring writer with more talent than he knows of, and two girls with certificates stuffed in their purses, begging me to stop at McDonalds.


Bread Bitch

This is what happens when you get cocky with cooking. Morphin' dough.

Christmas in the Quarter

What is better than fabuously dressed gay men celebrating Christmas?
Fabuously gay mannequins celebrating Christmas.

New Years Moon Pie

I'm still shocked that one of our city councilmen, Fred Richardson, was actually convinced to spend $9,000 on a giant paper moon pie. Yeah, for awhile there it sounded pretty impressive; a large moon pie would be hoisted above the city, and then dropped at midnight. I mean, come on, this is Mobile, what more could we really expect. But even those expectations couldn't be met. Instead a piece of paper with stapled paper was "rigged" minutes before midnight. Witnesses say it was so far across the bay, that there wasn't much to be seen.

Yet again, another leader in our town wastes thousands of dollars that could be used elsewhere. And I work for the largest public school system in the county and there isn't a laptop available for me to borrow so I can meet my technology objectives.