Friday, July 16, 2010

Thank you, Mr. Postman !


Don't you just love getting these kind of packages in the mail?  I do!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

American Gothic - or "What I learned on my vacation"


American Gothic  was painted by Grant Wood in 1930.  The famous couple was not  really married, but modeled after his sister and dentist although they have been altered slightly to disguise their true identity. 

Wood liked a house he found in Eldon, Iowa and stopped to sketch it as he was passing through town. He later used that house as a backdrop for the  American Gothic painting.  Interestingly, his sister never actually saw the actual house until decades later. 
This summer I was traveling through Iowa and I stopped at the American Gothic House in Eldon.  There is a nice museum built nearby with some information and a small gift shop.  Of course, if you stop you must take advantage of the photo opportunities! 




The house Wood saw and stopped to sketch in 1930.





Stoic Me - American Gothic Style. (and my man with no face! )  

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Aspiring to the World Cup - Go USA !


Congratulations to Team USA !

 To all the young boys and girls who spend hours practicing on on the soccer field and to all the soccer moms (and dads) who put in what must seem like endless early Saturday mornings -  Keep at it!   Look at how far we have come !  



Friday, May 14, 2010

The neighbor dad is playing ball with his kids outside.  Dad is the pitcher, little sis is the batter, and big brother is the outfielder.   The pitcher's mound is in the street.   The batter's box is their side yard and the outfield is in my driveway across the street.   The problem is the little sis is a pretty good hitter and ball has twice now come and hit my house. 

I hate to be unneighborly, but I had to go out and ask them to move their game to somewhere else---like their back yard or somewhere because I didn't want the ball to break my window or something ( dent my siding, scratch the paint, or anything else that would cost me $).  

I think the dad was a little embarrassed, and I felt a little bad having to do it.  I am not usually a confronter on the home front, but it has been a heck of a day and I don't need a baseball causing me any trouble. 
I don't quite understand why someone is batting practice perpendicular instead of parallel to a house anyway.  *Sigh*

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thank you Walmart ~ I think


While making my errand and grocery list for Walmart list this week I decided to reward myself for doing very well with not eating a bunch of junk food lately. ( Check out my other blog here for the details.)   I decided to pick up a pint of Starbucks Mocha Ice Cream.  A delight my sister turned me on to about a year ago, but I havent had it in a few months. 

So I made my list and picked my items up all the while looking forward to the afternoon when I would get home and have me some chocolately coffee yummy ice cream.  I waited to get it until last so it wouldn't melt. As I picked up the more healthy items on my list, I felt a twinge of guilt but I quickly rationalized that I deserved the ice cream.  When I reached the ice cream aisle, I looked for the shelf for the Starbucks.  It wasn't there.   I looked up and down the whole aisle thinking they moved it to a new location.   

It wasn't there because it they no longer carry it.  Darn!  So,  thank you Walmart for keeping me true to watching what I eat.  I think.   *sigh*



Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Break

The week I have been looking forward to is finally here - Spring Break!
Enough said!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Welcome Spring - Snow!


It was the first day of spring today and what better way to welcome the new season in but to have the white fluffy snowflakes falling all day long.  The ironic thing is that yesterday the temperature was near 70 degrees and lovely outside.   Nothing like Missouri weather for you!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Road Rage (almost)


I'm usually pretty level headed.  This morning though, I got me a taste of what road rage must feel like.  It began with a sinple trip to McDonald's to treat myself to a breakfast sandwich.  Now a few months ago, our local McDonalds remodeled and did a funky thing with the drive-thru.  The drive-thru lane splits with a bypass so there are two order boxes. After ordering the cars merge again into a single lane to pay and get tehir food from window 1 and wndow 2. 

In theory it is a good idea.  It will serve more people.  I have always wondered though how they know which car orders what.  I wonder if they ahve a little camera taking a picture of your car so they know what price to give you at window 1.  Even though I don't go to McDonald's often, since this new remodel, they have never messed up and given me someone else's order, so it must have a sytem in place to keep it runnign smoothly.  But I digress.  This blog is about my road rage.

This morning I am waiting patiently in the drive-thru lane as it was busy.  The split was 2-3 cars ahead of me.  All of a sudden a car comes up behind me, pulls along side of me (where it is clearly NOT the drive-thru lane) and pulls up behind the car ordering at the second order box.  Hello---  Does he not see that there are 3 cars waiting their turn and as soon as the order box #2 is available the next car in line will go to it?   I rationalize that perhaps this poor fellow doesn't understand the new configuration.  Or mabe he is from out-of-town ( a favorite excuse of mine for poor driving manners). 

But then.....  ANOTHER CAR pulls up outside of the drive-thru line.   I shoot the driver a dirty look and mumble under my breath....well, maybe not so under my breath, that they are not following the rules of the lane.  I had an urge to get out of my car and go explain to them exactly how this was to work.  There is a reasn for the lines painted on the road.  

If you are going to drive people, use courtesy and follow the standard rules and signs of the road!!!
Whew.   I feel better now.

Goodbye to my Thea

My aunt dies this week.  She was elderly and had told her grandaughter months ago that she was ready to go whenever the Lord called her.  Well, this week she was called. 

My Regrets:
Everytime I saw my aunt in the last few years she would ask me to come over to her house to visit.  I was too busy, but even more, I couldn't picture myself  just showing up at her house.  Now it is too late to make a visit.

My Fears:
My uncle whose age nears the century mark is now alone.  He has a daughter who will be staying with him and taking care of him, but his partner of 63 years is gone.  Statistics show that many times a left spouse will pass away within months of their spouse dying.  I fear my uncle dying soon.

My Surprise:
I found out from reading the obituary that my cousins have a step sister that I never knew about.  How was that kept such a secret from me?  

My Joy: 
In the busy culture that we live in, we don't take time out.  Reunions might be set, but some will not take the time or money to set apart that time for family. But when a loved one dies, most will make a diligent effort to return home out of respect if nothing less.  Seeing cousins from different branches of the family and having the time to visit with them gives me joy.

May my thea's memory be eternal.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Panhandled



I'm not your typical mall shopper.  In fact, I try to avoid going to the mall if I can.  However, tonight I needed to make a stop at the book store there to pick up a gift. 

After parking my car  (and surprisingly I was able to find a parking place pretty quickly), I got out of the car and was just locking the doors when I was approached by a woman who looked to be between 30 - 40 years old.  She was wearing a long t-shirt, but it didn't register at the time that she did not have a coat on.  She exclaimed, "Excuse me!"

I really just wanted to ignore her and walk to the mall entrance, but I stopped and waited for her to get closer to me.  She then asked me for a few dollars so that she could put gas in her truck.

The cynical me is sure that she is making her way across the mall's vast parking lot asking everyone for money and that she probably doesnt need it for gas. In fact, this may be her "full time"job.

The merciful me feels sorry for her and wonders what I would do if I were stuck at a mall with no gas in my vehicle.  It wonders what the back story is.   Is she homeless?  Does she have food to eat?  Did she lose her job or have no means of support?

The cycnical me won over as I told her that I had no extra money to give her before I walked away.

I then wondered if she watched me walk into the book store doors and see me buy $85 worth of books ( when my purpose was to buy a $15 gift).

So much for my mercy.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A different Christmas 2009



This is not my usual Christmas morning family photo. 

This year at Christmas I did something a little different than usual.  My kids came over and after a delicious breakfast prepared by my sister, she and I headed out to travel three hours on wintry roads to attend a family wedding.  The kids stayed home. We spent three days visiting with family that we don't see very often.  We had a good time at the wedding, but many more nice memories were made at the hotel where many of us shared the same hallway.  I also think this is the first time I have spent Christmas with both of my sisters since we were much younger.  

We played Applegrams in the hotel room.



My sister and I stand next to Santa and his reindeer, not at the North Pole, but in Bass Pro.


 

The view today is *SNOW*



This is the view from my world today--from my window overlooking the front yard to be exact.  The snow began falling at 2 pm yesterday afternoon and laid a nice white blanket over everything by 5:00.  It continued snowing  off and on throughout the night and this is what I woke up to this morning.  The temperature is bitterly cold and is expected to be even colder tomorrow.  Wind chills are reaching  -20 to -30  degrees F.  

The fun this is that they canceled school today.  I am sure there were groans from parents who had to scramble around to make arrangements for children, but many cheers from kids and teachers.  

The extra nice thing was that they ( the school big-wigs)  called school off by 8pm last night which let me have a little more freedom in deciding what time to go to bed and what time to wake up this morning.  There is nothing worse for a late owl like me than waking up early in the morning for work only to find out work has been canceled.  Even if I stay in bed, it's not the same as sleeping in for the day.   

Since we have only been back at school for 3 days, having this snow day isn't as exciting and refreshing as a surprise snow day in mid February after teaching 5 weeks.  But...... I'll take it!  And it looks like I'll take another one tomorrow.  The message just came that they are calling it tomorrow too-and it is only afternoon~  Yeah!   I think I am liking this new superintendent.    I appreciate the advance notice. 

So now I can sit back and enjoy my warm beverage, snuggle in my afgan, and do some pleasure reading....  and tomorrow the alarm clock stays off and I am sleeping in! 

Maybe I will get caught up on reading all the blogs I want to read!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Dinner with Family at a Favorite Haunt

  

I went to dinner on New Years Day with my daughter and family. We went to one of my favorite places--Huhot.



Huhot is a Mongolian BBQ place that has been on my favorites list for the last year. You go through a line and choose from a variety of protein, noodles, and vegetables to put in your bowl. Then you ladle on at least 5 -6 dips of sauce--you get to choose the sauce too from oils to creamy concoctions. Then you take it to the cooks who stire-fry it on a huge round grill. Yum! One price lets you keep going for more and I have always gone back for a second plate. I feel stuffed afterwards, but it is oh so good.  I DID NOT get seconds this time--it was difficult, but I am trying to be better about my eating habits.  Check my other blog here that is chronicling that journey.





I passed on having my usual soda and drank coffee instead.  I got a salad, but I only nibbled at the lettuce for a while.



Here is my entree.  It tastes better than it looks.  Hiding under the noodles are my vegetables- cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, and celery.  See?   I am being healthy! 
One important thing is that I did not go back for seconds as I usually do.  And the most important thing was spending time with my family! 
 






Friday, January 1, 2010

How long is a Decade?

Okay, I know that a decade is 10 years, but it certainly doesn't seem like a decade has passed since the year 2000.  However, the calendar doesn't lie.  Let me take a quick look backwards at some things that have happened around and to me over the past decade.

  • In the year 2000 ( do you hear the music from Conan here like I do?), everyone was was worried about Y2K.  I nervously awaited for my computers to stop working, car accidents, and bedlam to ensue--but none of the above happened.  Thank goodness.
  • I graduated with two bachelor's degrees, summa cum laude,  in May, 2001.  It was a satisfying accomplishment for someone who quit school in 9th grade and got my GED a few years later. Many people have a negative connation towards people who have GED's.  Some of us, though, are pretty smart.  
  • I had been teaching less than a month when Sept.11, 2001 and later an anthrax scare happened. How to deal with 9 year olds scared out of their wits wasn't covered in any of my education classes. I guess instincts take over at a time like that. 
  • In this decade, I've taught in 2 different schools and I have taught both 4th and 5th grade.  I have worked for 4 different principals.  
  • My daughter spent 5 years living in South Korea, then spent a year as a missionary serving all over the world.  I saw her maybe a couple weeks per year. 
  • I obtained a Masters degree in Education, and started (and then postponed ) working on a doctorate. 
  • In 2006, I gained a new son-- a son-in-law to be exact.  He has been a blessing to my life. 
  • In 2008, I became a grandmother of the cutest little boy  ( some bias is allowed--- it is *my* blog) 
  • I developed some medical problems which I attribute to some trouble at work.  Some of the problems have been resolved both medical and work.  I am forced to take medication to control the more stubborn medical problems. 
  • My father passed away in November, 2008 thus showing me the circle of life.  A significant male in my life was taken away and a significant male in my life was given to me---in the span of 3 weeks.  
  • With both my parents gone on to the great beyond, I am sometimes feel as an orphan.  I struggle with wanting to become closer to other family members and staying my distance to shield myself from pain when we are eventually separated.
  • I stopped going to church because of {insert excuse here} although I never left God.  In 2009, I connected again to a church and have tried to be more faithful.
  • I've cried, I've laughed, I've loved, I've been annoyed and been annoying.  

This, of course, is not an exhaustive list.  It is just a snapshot of the past decade. I will undoubtedly think of more things in the next coouple hours.  That is just the way it is!   I have lived in 6 decades.  Man, that must make me OLD!  May I be around to blog when the next decade rolls around!