Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I Have Horses

I have horses. What that means exactly, is that I have a built in excuse not to attend weddings, not to attend funerals, not to go anywhere or do anything that I really don't feel like doing. If I get the call from a friend or family member asking me to help them move, or go furniture shopping, I have that covered with a simple begging off with "Oh hey, I would love to go, I really would, but I have horses! I have to feed them. They live far away you know, and I have to go to them, feed them, and one of them needs farrier work. Wouldn't you know it, this is the day the farrier is coming to the barn!"  It works every time.  What are they going to do, argue with me? Have you ever seen a horse person NOT take their horse over a date, over a show, over a movie, or anything? Well, if you had horses you'd understand. I may be broke, and yes, it's because I have horses, but I do have my priorities straight. I'm not out drinking, I'm not out gambling. You won't find me spending money on art work for my house, a new mattress, or on even a new pair of shoes. Why would I need new shoes? You don't wear shoes to the barn!

There are really only two types of people in this world; horse people and non-horse people. Horse people get it when I say I haven't seen what Kim Kardashian is up to. They understand if I don't ask questions about the latest fashion, or the next big thing in electronics. I haven't seen an online game in over ten years and I think I heard My Space wasn't being used anymore, but I didn't really care because I really never got on mine. It was made for me by my kids back when I had the Haflinger - did I just refer to a time frame with a horse analogy? I think I did.  Some old people will say "Back when I had a good knee to stand on.." I use terms like "I had Rocket then, he was about 4, I remember!"  Those without horses do tend to stare at me when I wipe my hands before I eat rather than wash them. They also shake their head when I don't apologize for walking into the store with mud on my boots. It's not that I'm being rude, but I have to get back to the barn soon, and this little trip to the store to get toilet paper was a necessity! It is what it is. I have horses.

We board now, but when we were living in Indiana we had our own place for a while. I can't tell you how great it felt to wake up to a frosted window with the automatic coffee pot calling out to me. I'd look outside, past the initial backyard to see five fuzzy faces staring at me just wondering if I was going to get around to bringing them their first feeding.  I never really missed a day, but with horses you have to remind them every now and then (every damn day) that you're not going to let them starve, that you are a responsible owner, and that you do have their best interests at heart.  Some mornings I took my time sipping my liquid brain-opener and other times I let them get the best of me and put their stomachs first.  Most mornings I spilled coffee down my coat trying to do both.

Now, because we live in the city, Laura and I board our babies at a nice little facility just outside of town. We have access to the indoor arena, the outdoor arena, several acres of land, and of course the best part is I get to drink my coffee every day without the pangs of guilt slamming me in the chest each morning.  I pay people do take on that guilt. They don't mind - I don't mind. The horses could freaking care less who it is that brings them oats and hay as long as someone brings them oats and hay.  Most days they are fed twice and most days I go out to see them in the evenings to bring them apples or carrots. I don't know why I spend so much time, so much energy and my very last dollar on them, but when I don't, if I didn't, I think the horse-sized void would be too much to bear.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Happy Coffee Day!!

Suffice it to say that it's be way too long since I've written a blog.  I looked on the site and noticed that it had been 21 months since my last post. I wanted to scream "Are you serious?", but that tag belongs to my friend Pastor Paul Begley, and I'd feel rather plagiaristic if I took it.

Happy Coffee Day! Today is September 29, 2015, National Coffee Day, and let me tell you, I'm celebrating. I do coffee. I am one of THOSE people. I think I was three when I started chugging down the dredges left in my parents' cups after breakfast. I remember mom taking the cups away from me when I would steal them off the table, but I think honestly she was more concerned that I had a glass cup in my hands than coffee in my mouth. She's like that to this day, believe it or not, she'd rather see me drinking my coffee in a plastic cup on the tile - - just kidding, mom's grown up to be a really cool old lady.

National Coffee Day affords the would be coffee drinker a chance to try out a free cup at Dunkin Donuts; they always get into the spirit. Starbucks on the other hand, plants a tree, or donates money from your cup of purchased coffee to the tree growers so they can plant the tree on your behalf. I wonder how many of us, or rather how many cups of coffee it takes to get a tree planted? It's just a question, but I assume there is an answer. What if I went into Starbucks and ordered say, a venti? It's a larger cup, so would they donate a larger amount? Is it determined by size or quantity of purchases? Who decides this? Who decides to plant a tree rather than say, feed a kid, or pay for low-income vaccinations for dogs? I think trees are important, sure they are, but are they any more important than the kids living in the countries where they decided to plant these trees? That's just me, that's me on my soap box. I think if you're going to have National Coffee Day -- give out coffee. Plant a tree on "National Plant a Tree Day".  Wait, is there a National Plant a Tree Day? Because if there is, I may go to the woods to get a free cup of coffee while I plant a pine!

I work in an office with six other people, one of them is only a temporary, an intern, but he's a real live guy so I include him when I count how many people are in the office at any one given time. Out of these people I am the only one, the ONLY ONE, who drinks coffee, and that somewhat disturbs me. The stats in the particular office are as follows: 1 out of 6 drinks coffee. 2 out of 6 drink iced tea, 1 out of 6 drinks Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper, and the others (wait, let me count now....1, 2, 3, 4, OK 4) the other two people drink regular soda in the morning. Best I can tell, there are three of us who have our minds in the right places by 9:00 a.m. and the others are on sugar highs. You were doing the math weren't you? LOL...caught you. You're like, "Wait, 1 drinks coffee, 2 drink tea, 1 drinks the Dr. Pepper, albeit diet Cherry, and 2 drink soda straight....that's 6. She said there were six others in the office, making a total of seven people, but only six are drinking before 9:00 a.m." Don't worry, you aren't using Common Core methods to figure out the equation - Shaun the intern comes in after 1:00 p.m.  Gotcha!

Well, happy National Coffee Day, I'm going back to the grind - - see that, little java joke there. Gotta get back to work.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It Doesn't Look A Thing Like Christmas (2013)

I'm not going to sugar coat it; Christmas doesn't feel or even resemble Christmas this year. I'm not with family, I'm living alone in a tiny little apartment in Oklahoma City. My family is in Indiana, and even they aren't celebrating in what you could consider to be a traditional style. No one I know is. I've not run across one single person who is doing what they normally do. It's either because of weather, work, money, family, or other situations, but this year Christmas is just ...well, not Christmas!

I don't have a single garland hanging; there was no reason to hang decorations if I live alone. I don't have a tree up, no decorations, and I haven't purchased a single present to wrap. I bought things for my kids and grandkids and I boxed them up about two weeks ago, sending them through the United States Postal Service; at least I wrapped the exterior in bright yellow paper so they would be easy to see in the piles of other boxes at the distribution centers. Something I never do, but I did. I mailed off Christmas presents. It was the beginning (I think) of what became (or is) the strangest little Christmas ever. Could I go up to Arcadia to see my parents and siblings? I don't know, maybe, but I don't want to. I love my parents, my brother, my sisters, nieces and nephews, but I'm not motivated to drive 30 miles to eat with people I rarely speak to. It seems like a waste of time, but in reality it's not even possible this year due to another strange event that just took place out of no where.  The Black Friday Target Scandal...I'm actually a victim!

My best friend Jeannie and I went shopping on Black Friday, after the crowds of course, and one of our stops was at my neighboring Target store. I think I did spend about $300 there on gifts for my family, food, and the things I have to have to survive for the month of December, as I'm paid only once a month as a teacher and Black Friday was the day I was paid actually. The last day of the month fell on a weekend; so we were paid a day early. That actually turned out to be a bad thing.  I was one of over 40,000,000 others whose credit card information was taken by thieves. The week following Black Friday I was wiped out completely. It was a very good thing for me that I had already paid my rent, car payment, insurance, and other necessary bills. It did leave me without extra money for food after the 15th of the month, and gasoline for my car was certainly an issue. I did manage to have JUST enough gas to get back and forth to work until the day we were let out for Christmas break. God has a sense of humor! Now I'm literally stuck in my apartment with very little food but at least I'm safe and sound. I have the dogs to keep me company, and I have the ineternet as well as television and Netflix to keep me entertained. (oh, but I really should be studying for the Common Core test to get my Principal's certificate!)

No decorations, no tree, no garland, no traditional food and really no Christmas spirit...with the one exception that I'm well aware that over 2000 years ago, and probably not on December 25, a baby was born to Mary and Joseph; two fine upstanding citizens of the City of David. To them our Savior was born, and this is what Christmas is to me...a celebration of His birth.  It's appropriate that I only have animals to share it with since He was born in a barn and laid in a manger that first night. Doves are outside my apartment on my balcony eating the last seeds I had to offer them until I'm paid or the bank returns my disputed funds in a few days. God takes care of His creatures, every last one of us. This is the meaning of Christmas. It's OK if I don't have presents under a non-existent tree. It's OK if I don't have mounds of food to feed myself, friends, family, or anyone else. It's OK if I just sit quietly studying for the future, because Jesus is the reason I have a future.

What does Christmas even look like?  Today it looks sunny, bright, cold, and as the ice melts off my car and balcony, Christmas looks wet and shiny.  Merry Christmas to you. Now I have to go snuggle with the dogs for a while - - and call my grandbabies and kids!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Rapture / Rosh Hashanah 2013 - Yes, Please!

When I so much as mention the word "Rapture" in a conversation I am usually met with either the overt ignorant statement "God says no man knows the day or hour so we can't guess when it will happen!"  Or I'm met with head-shaking (from Christians and non-believers) who just aren't prepared for the taking out of the Church for one reason or the other. I get it - you're busy, you're not ready to give up all you've either already achieved, or the potential of what you could possibly achieve. For me...I'd rather give it all up, never attempt another project  or goal again,  and rest eternally with  Jesus, but that's just me...or maybe not.

When I began doing my research about the Rapture I realized that I had been born with a disadvantage concerning the matter. I was born a Baptist.  I was raised with ministers, pastors, brethren, preachers and teachers all telling me that no man could know the  hour or the day. It wasn't as if they understood the meaning of the very words they were repeating; to each one of them goes the credit of knowing what is written in God's word, but...and this is a BIG was a riddle more than anything. You see, God gave Israel 7 feasts (actually appointed times) that they were, as a people, to honor, observe and celebrate. Each of these appointed times had prophecies concerning their fulfillment and ultimately explaining God's  eternal plan for Israel.  The first 4 feasts (or appointed times) are in the spring of each year. The last 3 feasts are in the fall.  When Jesus was on the Earth He literally fulfilled 4 of these feasts, and they were EACH AND EVERY ONE fulfilled ON THE DAY of one of the feasts and/or appointed times...TO THE LETTER. I capitalized that for a reason - because it was and is FACT.

The four spring feasts were fulfilled at the death, burial, resurrection of Christ and then the giving of the Holy Spirit.  You can YouTube for more accurate information concerning these events.  The 5th feast is the first fall feast, and it is Rosh  Hashanah. In English is it known as the Feast of the Trumpets. (Trumpets?  Really? Aren't the believers in Christ going to be called to Heaven at the Last Trump of God?) If believers have no issues believing that they will be caught up (Hebrew word "harpazo" meaning "caught up") then why would they balk at saying it will happen at the time of Rosh Hashanah?  BECAUSE...Christians have issues with dates. You can't possibly KNOW the day or the hour...right? There is a reason for that. Out of the  7 feasts and/or appointed times, there are 6 that take place on specific dates - but ONLY one that takes place at the very crescent of the start of the new moon - - Rosh Hashanah. Because it could be this day, or the next day, NO MAN KNOWS THE DAY.  New moons are not 100% predictable - at least they weren't  in Biblical days - remember, this holy day preceded Christ!  Because the new moon celebration had to be documented and the people of Israel did not know the exact day - or the exact hour  that the new moon would show up, they couldn't say with certainty when the holy day (feast day) began.  Only the High Priest had the authority to proclaim it - - when two witnesses brought proof to him.

GOD set the moon. God knows the day and the hour it will show itself. HE alone knows the minute.  We are called to be prepared, we are commanded to look up and watch! Luke 21:28 says "When these things begin, look up! Your redemption is nigh!"  YES...what things?  We already know that too: wars, rumors of war (is there a difference? YES there is.)  Think about Syria, consider that the country is in war, and today the US is spreading rumors of going to war with that country.  We  have  never done that - - before we just went!  Think about Egypt.  Think about what is happening to the great Nile.  Ethiopia is closing up the gates to the river and it is causing more rumors of war! Think about the famines, the destruction, and how EVERY nation surrounding Israel is against her now...just like Ps.83 says will happen. IF you have time, I encourage you to look into that too,  as every nation mentioned in Ps.83 is to THE VERY LETTER of their ancient names going against Israel today - September 4, 2013.  Rosh  Hashanah is tomorrow or the next day!

COULD IT BE?  CAN IT BE?  MAYBE?   WHAT IF?  I say yes, please.  Do yourself a favor and watch this series of videos by Perry Stone: Rapture and Rosh Hashanah  (parts 1-3) and go listen to a few of J .D. Farag's Middle East Prophecy Updates on YouTube to familiarize yourself with what could very well be our last day on Earth - - unless of course, it's not. It could be that it is another year away. We may  have to go a while longer - - but there will be a day. There will be an hour - - just because we don't KNOW it now doesn't mean it isn't real.  I can't wait - - personally, I'm excited cause it means I get to be healthy again. My broken body will be replaced, and I'll be able to ride again, do backflips, and hey - - no more car payments!!  Oh, and the IRS won't call me again. LOL

I don't think the Rapture is meant to clear up our credit issues - - but I for one, will not be here to argue with anyone seeking repayment!  Nope...I'm looking forward to getting married....what? You didn't know?  Well, maybe you should do a bit of research while you have time. If you're a believer you're getting married to Christ immediately following the Rapture!  WHAT?  Yep!!  I can't think of a better eternity....It may not be this year, but I really really hope it is.

Clues that the Rapture took place and you missed it:  (1) all the children are gone  (2) all the special people on earth are gone (3) airplanes fall from the sky cause pilots were taken (4) cars go crazy on the highways and that crazy woman who won't stop talking about the, well, I'm gone too.  PLEASE...someone, feed my dogs.  If you're reading this and the Rapture hasn't happened, and maybe you're not a believer, please ask Jesus to save you.  It's not hard - - just know He will if you ask. Confess your sins, desire to change, and with your mouth ask Him to save you. PLEASE...Heaven has enough room for all of us.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Root it Out....Literally.

I'm a big time ginger fan. I love the root, think it's one of the best ones God ever made. One of the reasons I love it so much is its flavor of course but the ginger root also carries with it a major power-punch of energy; not to mention it can help save your life! Ginger has for thousands of years been added to foods and teas to help soothe soreness and promote good blood circulation, I also add it to my green teas to give it a bit of a kick. It helps to reduce stress, it helps to lower cholesterol and body fat. Why wouldn't I drink it? I should be downing ginger green tea by the gallons. I probably will be in the very near future. I'm sick and tired of being fat and lazy. Ginger picks you up physically because it promote the reproduction of red blood cells, it literally pumps your blood and gets you off your keister! YEA ginger!

For years I was a good and faithful student of the way my body reacted when I added green tea and ginger as a regular means of liquid replenishing. I've just stopped, and there's no reason for it. I'm a lazy person now, and that has to stop. I moved from Oklahoma City to Indianapolis about three years ago, and I remember when I lived in Oklahoma I was always moving, walking, jogging, riding my bike, or horses -- I wasn't sitting on the computer all day surfing LinkedIn, Facebook, and Gmail. Nope, I was working, walking, and pouring that ginger infused green tea down my throat. I also remember not being sick in Oklahoma, even though so many of my friends had horrific allergies in the spring I didn't. I did before I started drinking ginger in my tea, but after the practice - clear! Why would I stop? Lazy, just no excuses, and I won't even blame the kids, which is what I normally do. Nope, me, all me, just one fat, lazy woman, and that must stop now.

Today Laura and I went to the store and we were about to shop for groceries when I found myself walking down an aisle literally filled with chips and dips, crackers, party snacks, colorful and salty, some sweet, some just fabulous fattening and full of saturated fats. I thought to myself and then out loud "Why am I doing this to myself?" Laura looked at me and said "You're right, Mom. We're the ones picking this stuff up. We don't have to. So, let's get good stuff now." Wow, yes, it is possible to stop right in the middle of an aisle you feel so at home in and just turn your back and say NO MORE. I went through my kitchen pantry in my mind. I could see the sweets, the fats, the oily stuff. I could see the cakes, the cookies, snacks, puddings, simply all the fast grab-n-go foods that we think we need. I could rattle off about twelve things I know I don't need. I DO NOT NEED Oreo cookies. I do not need fatty Ruffles potato chips. I do not need cheeses, brownies, toaster pastries, and no, I don't need Mike & Ike candies. I only pop a few Mike & Ikes randomly, I told myself it wasn't that big of a deal, but you know what -- it's become a big deal. I feel like going through the kitchen and throwing it out, but instead I'll ask my kids if they want the stuff. I do hate throwing away good food products. I say "good" with a giggle, but still, just because I've decided to turn away doesn't mean everyone else has to.

I walked up and down the aisles and looked really carefully at what our stores sell us. It's our own fault when we give into the loud colors of marketing, and the flashy commercial ads which hide from us the fact that this or that cookie holds twice as many calories as a good heaping of cottage cheese or an apple. Once you pass the produce section of the store you get yourself into trouble. Immediately at the stores I can think of you find yourself in the frozen food section where you're bombarded with tempting ice creams, frozen yogurts, fast-food pizza rolls, deli pizzas, and some of the most amazing frozen foods ever made - - Pillsbury Grands! HOW can you say no to GRANDS? Easy. Grands are OK, but I don't stop with one, I get two, and I always put butter and jelly on them. Sometimes when I'm really bad I put Philadelphia Cream Cheese's new Indulgence dark chocolate cream cheese on my Grands, and this is the very very reason I must say no to Grands from now on. I'm not saying you have to go cold turkey and give up everything because that can cause a person to become resentful and upset. I believe in substitutions. What can I have in the mornings instead of a fluffy Grand biscuit? Healthy whole-wheat cereal and fruit. I can add walnuts and make it even better. Walnuts may be expensive, but they help your blood to flow better, reduce chances of diabetes, lower cholesterol, and all without hyping you up with bright packaging that you have to find a recycling bin for - - so, it's settled. I'm stopping all the madness today, and I'm going right back to my heart healthy plan of being both active and full of more energy - naturally. I even told Laura I don't want to get salads in bulk so we'll have to go to the store a few more times and walk the entire store wall to wall to put in that much more exercise than we would if we just showed up and got what we need. She's good with that.

Laura and I picked up more in the produce section than we normally do; fruits, veggies, nuts, and avocados. I know no one really knows where to put them on food charts. I put them with fruits, but then again, I put tomatoes with fruits and everyone laughs at me. I picked up Roma tomatoes for their flavor today; they'll make excellent salsa, and yes, you can still have a few whole wheat crackers or chips with your salsa; sans the salt if you can find the reduced or no salt added boxes. It's just that much better for you. I'm the type that loves to eat almonds all day, and if you're willing to do that, and add berries to a smoothie with yogurt and honey, well, it won't take too long before you're back on track. Your belly will thank you, and so will the other parts of your gut like your intestines, once they figure out that you're not just making a change for the weekend. It has to be a real change, it has to be a life change, not a month change, or worse a change that you can easily get bored with. You don't need the sugar, and you don't need the fats. Well, you don't...and that's me saying YOU to ME because I'm talking to myself here, I do not need it, and I do not want it anymore. I want ME back...ME. The other day I stood in front of the mirror and I didn't even want to see who was in the darn thing - - I didn't like her. I didn't know her and she was invading my personal space. Her belly hung over her pants, her skin wasn't pretty like it use to be, and she wasn't able to move the way she use to, it's just not fun being me at this point and time in my life. I MUST DO something, and so I made the choice.

YEA...I do feel better, and it will take weeks, even a few months to get back to where I can say I am happy about who I am again, but it has to start somewhere and that somewhere is with my tea. MORE ginger than before, more parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme - - what, you thought that was just lyrics? Nope!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Retiring the Mutt

Most of you know that Faith the Dog ( is my dog. She is the one that has for the past 10+ years lived under my bed during the day, and she sleeps with me during the night, taking up more than her fair share of the queen-sized bed. The queen-sized bed also happens to be the place where the other dogs in my family find rest at night as well. Most of the time I am sandwiched between the yellow dog and the Dachshund (a rescue) named George that I just happened to stumble across while desperately looking for another dog. Faith is my main mutt. She's the one I've traveled the world with. She's the one I've spent too many hours on the road with, visiting too many airport bathrooms with while dragging both her and my suitcases. She's the dog I sit next to in the airplane, she's the dog I carry over my shoulders while dragging the suitcase and shaking hands with kids and other passersby who are more than happy to watch the show as I try to balance the dog and drag the suitcase through O'Hare or Washington Dulles at rush hour trying to get to the next terminal. Faith is the best dog out there; how many other dogs do you know who would put up with hundreds of kids petting them, screaming and laughing asking questions? How many other dogs do you know who right after these said screaming and laughing petters would be the first to jump in a hospital bed to see another one who wasn't strong enough to leap down to do the petting on the floor? That's my girl. Faith is the one dog I've ever ever owned who if you say "Let's go" is out the door before you can get your keys and it doesn't matter if we're just going to the bank or to an opening of a new pet store; she treats the ride as if we're going to Paris on a big jet-liner and she's going to be served her First Class cookies and cream. (But it's probably because she is hoping for the cookies and cream treatment, just sayin') After ten full years of traveling, visiting, public speaking, and greeting soldiers at bases and airports alike, Faith the Dog is retiring from all public appearances. She has in the past 10 years met with leaders of our nation up to the highest level. She has been kicked off the White House lawn for sticking her nose in the fence to get a better look at a squirrel. She has jumped into the National Reflection Pool, and laid beneath the WWII monuments for a rest. She's scaled the steps of the Thomas Jefferson monument to interrupt a school tour. She has interrupted a funeral as well, and a really cool wedding in King of Prussia one evening as her manager and I were conversing and not paying attention to where she had just wandered off to. She is the constant reminder of what it is like to travel with a toddler. She has the attention span of a 2 year old kid, and she's not afraid to pee in public if she needs to. This has many times. My favorite was in front of the police in NYC on Broadway where yes, she walked and peed and literally created a little wet pretzel on the sidewalk. We all laughed. Faith has interrupted the Westminster Dog Show, news reports, and she's photo-bombed so many others to mention - YOU may have a photo bomb of my dog running through what would have been your moment in Chicago, the Original Starbucks, the Seattle Space Needle, or perhaps the Grand Canyon, she isn't shy about popping her face into your camera's len's eye. FAITH believes all applause if for her, and she thinks all cameras are aimed at her. It's just a way of life for her, so retirement hasn't really been all that easy. I've taken to taking the dog to the TV stations in Indianapolis and sitting for tea with the hosts just to pretend that she's being covered on one of their shows. They don't mind. She's always welcomed into the green rooms and on stage when no one is actually filming. She's been taken to openings of the new Barkafeller's in Avon, Indiana just so she could be seen hanging out with the really cool people and their dogs. She goes to the store and bank with me. Her thoughts may or may not be changing as we drive less and less to the actual airport, but because Indianapolis airport is open and very dog friendly, I can take her there just for the fun of it. I can afford a couple of dollars for parking to let her run around in her military ACU jacket and see as many soldiers as are available. She just doesn't get to go past security at this point. She's so awesome, security comes to her now. LOL Retiring the most famous and wonderful dog in the world has not been sad really. She and I have discussed if for a couple of years and I think she's good with it. As long as no one forgets her, and everyone loves her, she's good. Now, if you have a Flat Stanley or Flat Chuck that needs to be "seen" with Faith please send it to me (with a self-addressed stamped envelope) and I'll try to get that photo opportunity. I think she's met about 200 so far. Faith is and will forever be, the dog the world loves. The world needs FAITH and I think Faith enjoys knowing that the world is her arena too. She may not be up and at it for long, but her legacy (can I say that? Leg-acy?) will be that she is the most genuine dog out there - - nothing stops her from being a normal dog, not even the greater fame she has accomplished. She is what she is, and that is....FAITH. Thank you Faith for the many years of snuggling and cuddling, lessons, and laughter. It was all very worth it. I love you Yellow Dog.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Family Night - 2012

Remember when the family got out the board games and set up the table? We did that at my house when I was growing up, but it was the kids really that played. My parents went to Grandpa's house to play dominoes with my aunt and uncle, and I remember playing with my siblings around the standing floor furnace on a cold winter's snowy night. If I remember correctly, the adults drank coffee and we kids had cocoa with marshmallows; the tiny ones, leaving foamy residue and dark chocolate rings around the top of the cups. Family night was important then as it built up great rapport within the family dynamics. I think it's still very important today, too. Times have changed a bit, that's for sure. No longer are we going to the top of the broom closet to pull out an old box with duct taped corners and missing pieces to SORRY. (We used blue erases to make up for the missing blue pieces and a red jax to make up for a missing red piece). No longer do we have to gather up the cards and turn them all the right way before shuffling them, passing them out, and hoping no one realizes that the five of clubs isn't in the deck anymore. NOPE..we don't have to do that because now we play our family night games online! That's right, there's an app for that! There's an app for Monopoly, Sorry, Yahtzee, and anything else you can think of. We use to play Scrabble but now we play WORDS with Friends. It's the same thing only different, right? Any given night you'll find my family all crammed into the living room, slouching over couches, leaning over the recliner, or me -- worst of the bunch -- sitting in my computer chair with one hand on the phone keypad and the other on Facebook where I try to keep up with a few horse-loving friends in at least two horse-related chat rooms! It's so different, but not really, not when you consider that my mom was on the phone a great deal of the time when she was playing dominoes and we kids were running back and forth from Grandpa's to my aunt's (they lived next door) playing chess with Cousin Gene, Hi-Ho-Cherry-O with each other in one house and checkers with my Uncle Marvin while he played dominoes with my parents. Brandon, Caity, Laura, and I will spend the better part of three hours on our smartphones, trying to slam each other with as many odd combinations, letters placed in just the right place, or letters that really shouldn't have been considered words in the first place; but because WORDS with Friends says they're words then by-golly they're words! I know I used "kart" and "ee" as words but couldn't use "kew" or "iran". Caity used "moneys" but couldn't use "tex". Laura couldn't use "tac" but she was able to place something in Japanese that no one had a clue was legal. It is what it is!! POINTS! Family night is family night, or in our house, nearly every night is family night. Caity holds the record so far of pulling out the highest score; 120 points for the best placement of the word "jump". I think I'm next with 74 points, but hey, I'll take a good steady even flowing game of 12's, 15's, and 18's anytime. The worst thing is when you have a Q but you can't use it. DANG, I hate that!

Gotta Love Progress

In 2004 I worked for a public school system in Oklahoma. Let's just say they were the largest, and therefore this means they are often the LAST to make changes. Money is one thing, and schools just never seem to find it...not when they need it. So there I was teaching, using the affordable means of technology which was given to us, our personal cell phones, but the schools were adamantly against the students having their cells in class. GROW SOME administrators. Realize that there is NOTHING, and I do mean NOTHING that you can do to separate a teenager and his or her phones. This being the case, you may as well use them, this at least keeps up the global pace with our European and Asian friends who have been texting their teachers for eons. (Or as long as there have been cell phones) * * I instructed the students to text me when they had a question during tests. They could text their friends, but texting me would be more beneficial as I actually knew the correct answers. This practice of course led to me texting constantly during the test so I could help out this or that student, and then it became a game to see who could stump the teacher. This activity served to build a HUGE rapport between myself and my class, but you guessed it -- the administration found out and I was called into the office to be reprimanded. TOO DAMN BAD. I didn't stop, and to this day the 18-20 students that I routinely texted actually ALL graduated, they ALL went to college, and 2 of them have become teachers; BOOYAH! Why do I mention this? Oh, because NOW...yes NOW, that same district is using MY technique to build rapport with their difficult students. Texting them to keep their eyes on their own papers - or to stop talking when someone is at the front of the room. YOU'RE WELCOME NORTHWEST CLASSEN HIGH SCHOOL!! * * The next school, also an Oklahoma City public school charter, Santa Fe South, was a challenge from the first day. I had about 110 students in the 9th grade ranging from age 13-17, as many of my kids were Hispanic and came from Mexico directly. Some were not quite ready for actual high school level classes even though they were older. I got the GREAT and I mean GREAT idea to allow these kids to use their natural given tagging talents to TAG UP my room - using magic markers. I had all white walls and there were rules. They couldn't use gang or gang-related symbols or language. They could tag if they got their work done, and they couldn't tag over someone else's work. This was done (on my part) for two reasons: I wanted to teach responsibility and respect. First they had to get their work done before they could tag and second, they had to learn to respect their own areas and/or territories on the wall. was a MAJOR the classroom. The administration - - didn't like it. I was fired for inciting violence. EVEN THOUGH there was NOTHING violent on the walls. * * Flash forward. ALL of the students missed me; wanted me back, and continued to be my friend on Facebook and at that time MySpace. They reported to me that the very next y year the principal put up white boards and brought in dry-erase markers to do the VERY SAME thing I was doing in my room. He didn't let me finish my project, but he was certainly happy enough to use my techniques and my ideas. He used dry-erase and claimed to me later that I was fired for destroying or allowing property to be destroyed. NO...idiot, that's why God made PAINT! I can say that now, I'm no longer working for the man. * * I just find it sad that I come up with great teaching ideas and others steal them but before they do they reprimand me rather than praise me, or encourage me for my progressive thinking. Please, believe me when I say I can come up with some really fun ways to learn - - and I have. Some of which may never be found out! I like it that way because that separates me from the dull and uncaring, or dull teacher. I am the FUN one....and that makes me happy. Of course now I'm not even teaching, and that makes me sad, but I will never ever ever forget my "babies", not one of them; and there have been thousands! My heart is blessed for this.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Somebody Trick or Treat My House Please!

I've lived in Indianapolis for 3 Halloweens now. The first one was 2010. I had barely settled into the neighborhood, however I knew enough to know that it was NOT conducive to having kids romping and stomping toward my door to get candy because my door was not exactly easy to find. I moved to a condo which had all of the garage doors facing out onto the 10th hole of a very nice, quiet, plush, private golf course. At first, because I typically assume too
much, I assumed that the association would have a Halloween block party. They did not. I assumed also, and also incorrectly, that the association would have put out flyers to let us know what we could or could not do regarding decorating my personal unit. I found out what I COULD NOT do the instant I put up a big fluffy black spider on my front gate. Because a would be trick-or-treater would have needed to (a) enter the association, (b) find the gate that led to my front door to see my porch light was lit and (c) he/she would have to have WRIST BANDS that showed they were living within 6 city blocks of my house - - can you believe it, I was not all that hopeful that my first Halloween in the metropolitan outskirts of Indianapolis was going to be that great. Turns out I was correct. NO ONE came to my door - and there I sat with two bags of Hershey's candy bars. Alone. YEAR TWO did not bode any better for us. We were no longer living in the condo where we had first moved. The owners had decided to remodel and rent it out from November to February to a group of Super Bowl realtors who I'm told brought more in 3 months than we had paid in a year at the residence - - our 2nd Halloween was spent in a mid-way, almost a LOANER type house while we searched for a better place to land. We were more than 12 miles from any real city and by real city I mean a township of about 20,000 or so people NONE of which felt that driving 12 miles out would be beneficial to get a few pieces of candy - - and again, I was left alone with bags and bags of Hershey's candy bars because that's what I typically pass out. I typically pass out Hershey's because I know I'll eat whatever may be lefted over and it happens to be one of my favorites. Two bags, one woman. THREE TIMES WAS NOT THE CHARM! We moved to a densely populated area in January, an area literally teeming with children and often to the point of annoyance to be perfectly honest. At least THIS year (I thought) I would have a endless supply of door knockers and bell-ringers on Halloween -- this thought process called for more preparation; something to the tune of 4 bags of Hershey's candy bars and I went ALL OUT and got two more bags of Almond Joys and Butterfingesr JUST IN CASE I didn't have enough. I found myself buying a silly costume for Matrix. I dressed up as a Colt's fan and counted the minutes to the six o'clock hour, the official time for Halloween to start on October 31, 2012. I even Googled the dates and times two or three times to be SURE that I wasn't just missing my neighbors when they didn't show up. NO ONE showed up. I forced Laura, Brandon, Caity, and Copeland to repeatedly knock on my door so I could pretend to hand out candy - - yes, I am THAT pathetic. I love Halloween! This afternoon, November 1, 2012, after school and after such time that I believed all of my neighbors should be home THIS WOMAN took her multiple bags of candy outside and DEMANDED that the neighbors come by and share in my bounty. It didn't take long. I had a few takers immediately, and within a few minutes they were out like bandits around the neighborhood bringing in more kids to take up the excess. Seems the ONLY reason they hadn't come by last night was because it is tradition in our association to go outside of the actual neighborhood to do parties, games at churches, and such. NO ONE knew that I was stuck at home with black paint under my eyes waiting on them. They all promised me that they'd be there for me next year. I assured them that I appreciated it. I do, but the association is selling off my unit, not to me, and again I'll be finding a new place to live come January. Maybe some day I'll have my own group of rug-rats and brats to come by and take my candy seriously! At least this year I had baby Copeland to spoil - - he let me too. He promised Gramma to always be there; and that I'd never have to eat candy alone again. AWESOME!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sur La Table, Yes, Please!

If you're in the neighborhood - - and even if you're not; make your way to 14400 Clay Terrace Boulevard #100 Carmel, IN 46032 to see the glories, the beauties, and of course the great sales at Sur La Table! To put it bluntly, it's one of the best little shop in Indy! Take a few dollars with you, expect to be surprised, but above all, expect to be pampered. From the moment we walked into the brightly illuminated gift and menagerie store in the Clay Terrace outdoor mall, I knew I was in heaven...Kitchen Heaven anyway. Jennifer and her staff walked me through rows and aisles full of colors, textures, styles, and more. My eyes fell first to a few things my kid would die for; and my Christmas shopping for 2012 officially began. I was smart enough NOT to bring my credit card with me this time, but I know I'll be back, and when I do, the kids will benefit most. Oh, I can't say that, I found an automatic espresso and latte machine I've got my eyes on! Happy Birthday to me in a few weeks, that's for sure. First, I thought of Caity, and found a few little owls for her kitchen. I found salt and pepper shakers, big spoon holders for when she's cooking. I found a cook book rack with owls too - their little wings are stretched out to hold the book! Reuben was next, but only because Laura was shopping with me and I couldn't very well buy anything for her with her standing there - even if it was mostly pretend shopping. For Reuben it's all about the rooster! I don't know why he loves them, but he does..and I found one. The best ceramic rooster ever! Don't tell him, it's a surprise. Throughout the store I found this and that; sauces, spices, gadgets, and more. I found coffee paraphernalia - filters, flavors, cups, widgets, you name it, I found it!! I wanted to bust out my birthday wish list right then and I did. I pulled out my new phone and took about 10 photos of things the kids could buy me without the fear of me ever returning or regifting it. I could have 18 flavors of olive oils and never grow tired or collecting or seeing the bottles in my kitchen. I'd just buy a bigger spice rack! I found cups and saucers in every color of the rainbow and just as I was about to pick out one I had to have I saw another one I just had to have! They all went on the list! Aprons of all styles adorn the aisles at Sur La Table! You'll simply fall in love with the pots, the pans, the scrubby things, the soaps, the dishes, the...the..the everything! I think i spent an hour just wandering around and another one narrowing down what it is that I'll end up buying soon - - which of course meant grabbing a second latte from Jennifer compliments of her new Starbucks latte Verismo espresso latte machine..the reviews rave on, and they should. Hey, when Starbucks didn't have the machines you could find them at Sur La Table! (I'm going back!) Thanks Jennifer for the tour, for the love, for the fun!! Indianapolis has a well kept secret, but I hope not for long!!