Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Summer vacation is here. I know this because there is no traffic in the morning. I zipped to work in almost half the time because there were no school zones, and definitely no Cheese Wagons--the big yellow school buses.

The kids are lining up their summer activities, with work and conferences, and of course sleeping in and not doing the chores I list for them. That's about par for the course.

Things are winding down at the college, too. The term ends in less than 10 days, so I am seeing the effects of poor study habits and lack of preparation. Students who were barely making it are dropping like flies.

I don't get it. Why stick out 90% of the course, only to lose steam at the end and bail. I could never take an "F" so casually. Of course, they make things easy for me this way, but I'd really like to see them have some success.

Maybe it's the weather. The oppressive heat has arrived and that just makes me lethargic. At some point I've got to tackle the mess in the back yard. At some point....

In the meantime, I'll embrace my favorite Southern icon, Scarlett O'Hara, for "tomorrow is another day."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Back to craving ice cream...

No no no. Perhaps I should have said "hankering for" or even "desiring." Never never never craving. It suggests the unsuggestable.

Anyway, here I am sitting in my breakroom/office/cubicle/I don't know what to call it anymore space. It has a door with my schedule posted on it, a lock for said door, a filing cabinet that is mine, a phone, a 'puter, a printer, a shelf, a shredder (I could do without that) and a coffee pot (I could never do without that). Home sweet home indefinitely, or so they tell me. Evidently I haven't annoyed the Powers that Be sufficiently. I dropped the not-so-subtle hint that if they got rid of the shredder and the security staff's phone recharger that I would be happy to move in permanently and they could find another place to drop their junk.

No dice. I'm thinking of decorating a little bit. Squatter's Rights and all that. Possession is nine-tenths of the law, isn't it? Yeah, tomorrow I'm bringing in some pictures and a plant. That'll show 'em.

Meanwhile, back to the pressing issue at hand. There's something about this office that makes me want ice cream. Very weird. By the time I get home I'm not interested anymore.

WAIT!!! There's still some Turtle Pie left in the freezer. The locusts didn't get all of it this weekend. Mmmmmmm.

Monday, May 29, 2006


So, from not posting to multiple posts in a day. What a treat for you loyal readers!

I remember when the kids were small, especially Vicky, and then Christy, that in their experience, they really hadn't accomplished anything unless they had the T-shirt authenticating it. In fact, I think that in several instances, all they wanted was the T-Shirt.

I confess that I wouldn't mind owning a coveted Peachtree Road Race T-shirt, but I'll forgo running the 10k to get it.

Today's version is the blog update in real time. Anyway, yesterday at Stone Mountain every time I turned around, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum were taking pictures on the camera phones. Their wives were snapping away on the digital cameras.

Where was I? It's a reasonable question. After all, I have a digital camera, too.

Who do you think was taking pictures of the shutterbugs?

They're Gone!!! Peace and Quiet...

It's so lonely around here now. [tear]

And now, the adventure up weird little spills (they were eating ice pops), gathering stray game pieces and unmatched socks. Nobody ever leaves anything cool behind, like the nifty mp3 player Danny makes. No, nothing really cool. Not even a kid.

Oh, and I need to clean the bathrooms. Sixteen people, two bathrooms. Not a recipe for regularity, but we all survived.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

My Proud Grad


Victoria Maria Albert. Note that she is able to stand up straight in spite of the awards hanging from her neck. Special note: observe the rappelling rope, tied in a knot at the ends. In the world of things that make her happy, walking down down the side of a building Australian style does it for this kid. Vicky Sola!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"Are you my baby's Daddy?"

I usually carry my camera around with me, letting it sit between the seats and all the other accumulated garbage that lives in my car. It's convenient, and after so many years of wishing that I had a camera when I encountered something photo-worthy, I finally took my own advice and started carrying it in case I ran into something so amazing and newsworthy that I would be able to sell it to the papers for millions and retire. Or, at least be able to mock it here.

With so many activities this week, lamentably, I didn't have my camera when I stopped at the red light after leaving work. I was fiddling with the radio dial and happened to look casually out my window at a small sign posted in the median. It was one of those illegal signs that my father likes removing (he's a Code Enforcement Officer).

Remember the post I made earlier about demographics, and how we feed into stereotypes and lifestyle choices by promoting negative behavior as moral? You don't? It doesn't matter, I'll repeat myself. It was the bail bonds business called "Free at Last."

Anyway, today's moment of unbelievable bad taste and unquestionably horrid morals, I saw a sign advertising a DNA testing service called, yep, "Who' your baby's Daddy?" I am flabbergasted.

Among the services they provide is a list of lawyers that can help with paternity suits once the parentage has been established. I have nothing to add.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

finally, an update

This blogging thing is way worse than jogging. It's awesome when you are in form and go do it every day, but just let one day slip by....BAM! who wants to run, uh, blog anymore?

My apologies to those who care. For the rest of you...whatever.

So here I am, in of all places, the breakroom at the college, trying to put my jumbled thoughts on paper before class. I still don't have an office. The Powers That Be are getting a bit annoyed by my presence, and tonight, the security guard that regularly hides in here was put off by my arrival. She had a tiny bit of an attitude. Ha! It would have been more fun if she had a BIG attitude, but she wisely huffed off, mumbling under her breath. I'm sorry there was no explosion. It would have been fun, doncha think? Maybe it would have worked in my favor.

Nevertheless, here I am putting in my hours. What a pain. Nobody comes to visit. Nobody wants any help. I'm giving a lot of F's this term. I wonder why? I don't bite.

Anyway, it's been a very wild week of activity around here. It started of course, with Christy's confirmation, but then moved quickly to Vicky's graduation activities and end of year programs bla bla bla. I shall post a tear jerker of an entry later. Tonight I'm just limbering up my fingers and trying to get back into the discipline of writing daily.

In random thoughts, I have a hankering for a banana split. It's rather warm in here, and dinner was rather unsatisfying. A banana split would do the trick--fill me up AND cool me off a bit. And it's yummy.

Yeah, that would be the ticket. Except, where would I find a banana split around here? I'm going to have to settle for a burned cup of coffee.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

An exciting couple of days...

A long post today, to catch up with all the cool things that have been happening around here. For starters, my parents and Isa arrived on Monday for Christy’s confirmation (last night). It became a mad dash to get them settled in, and then to the church for the rehearsal. Dinner was on the fly--sub sandwiches from Publix (aren't they awesome?) and something my mother whipped up for my father because he is on a special diet.

Then, Tuesday morning we took a little field trip to the monastery. It was a lovely morning--cool and refreshing, but the old folks and Isa were freezing. What a bunch of lightweights. As John would say, "Their hearts pump Kool-Aid."

Another mad dash home--this time for Pop to eat and take his medicine, and me to get ready to teach an afternoon class. I would have cancelled, but I just took over for another teacher so I didn't want the disservice to the students. Isa sat in to watch. She fell asleep. Am I that boring? Sheesh.

Yet another mad dash to pick up Christy to get her nails done, and then flying home to get ready. Somehow with only two bathrooms in the house 8 people took their showers, got dressed, and made it to the church on time. There are large and small miracles every day.

The Confirmation was absolutely awesome! The Holy Spirit always comes through. I will publicly thank Linda, Michael and Jules for such a well-organized and lovely event. Truly magnificent. Captain Astonishing, as always, made an appearance--one that in the big picture was not a big deal, but hey, it's kinda hard to take up the gifts when they weren't set out by the sacristan. Oh, yeah. Captain A, whose job is that? HA!!! A little bit of organized chaos ensued (like that Christy?—a little maternal plagiarism from a yearbook theme?). It didn’t help that Jonathan left so quickly that he wasn't wearing his contacts. A nearsighted cross bearer made for some excitement during that little crisis. Way to go, boy!

Anyway, Archbishop Wilton Gregory rocks! That was the BEST confirmation I’ve ever been to. Ever. He was so engaging, so connected to the kids, and a wonderful homilist to boot. He is very much a people person.

So in spite of the inconvenience of a sacrament on a Tuesday evening (is it proper to complain? I think not) the Mass was wonderful-you'll be relieved to know there was communion after all.

Afterwards, again props to Linda. There was a reception that had lots of food. Iris, you are my hero. You can imagine that by 8:30 when Mass was over we were all starving, and there were mountains of sandwiches from Schlotzsky’s and Publix and chips and fruit salad, and of course the obligatory cake. It was delightful. There was time to sit down at a table and stuff our faces and then visit with good friends. (Incidentally, Jeff looking very good, like himself again).

It was close to 10 when we got home, and Jules and Baker joined the kids to wind down (or up!) but us old folks had other plans. Bedtime for the old folks, as John and I were out of the house by 6:45 this morning. There will be time enough for parties next weekend when the rest of the party animals get here.

I’m posting text only from work, but check out the blog later today for a photo recap of Christy’s big day.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

My love and appreciation for all the mommy's I know, especially mine!!!

The mugging for the camera seems to be genetic, passed on for generations. Hmmm.

It occurs to me that this should be my bonus Self Portrait for 12 on 12. Yeah. It sure is.

See ya soon, Mom!

Friday, May 12, 2006

12 on 12

7:00 am

Wow, John left, and I got to sleep late. Sure.


9:00 am

My lovely parking spot. It really is a beautiful, cool day. Too bad I have to be inside with the fuddy duddies.



Who has a staff meeting at lunchtime, without lunch?


1:30 pm

Fine runaway dining.


3:00 pm

Hardly a busy commute, traffic-wise, but still a pain. See what a pretty day it is?


3:30 pm

I wish I could take a nap on a Little Mermaid blanket.


4:20 pm

My other pets get home, excitement over the yearbook. One created it, the other is featured all over it.


4:30 pm

The indignation of receiving a cheesy postcard that doubles as a voter registration card. No pretty little plastic card that makes you a card-carrying patriot. Bah.


5:50 pm

The king of the castle revealing his I.Q.


6:20 pm

Off to the band banquet.


8:45 pm

Practicing prom poses.


9:25 pm

The men realized they hadn't eaten and went to Red Lobster. Good riddance to both of them.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

12 on 12 Tomorrow!!!!

Everybody get ready to play. Post 12 pictures that illustrate your day. It turns out that there's a new twist in the game (you can see the history of it over at Rosary Army, where a friend of Greg's started this).

In addition to the 12 pics, add a bonus picture that is a "self portrait." Interpret that as you will.

soap operas, addictions, and spoilers

I'll poke fun of John today, because he doesn't read this anyway[cue evil laughter]. For years, the girls and I have been trying to convince him that The Gilmore Girls is a cute show, kind of like Northern Exposure in its quirkiness. He was a fan of Northern Exposure. Actually, I think he was just a fan of Janine Turner (the pilot). In a weird six degrees of separation moment, I recently found out that Cecil's Mom is friends with her. Okay, whatever.

Anyway, as we picked up each subsequent series of The Gilmore Girls provided to us by our drug-dealer, um, dvd dealer (for those of you who don't know, in a fit of anger and disgust, we cancelled cable and never got around to subscribing to satellite again) we would jump into my bed and zip through episode after episode until finally, we got our grubby hands on season 5.

The consensus is that Emily Gilmore reminds us of my mother-in-law. Perhaps not charitable, but....anyway, she looks like Emily, and the whole DAR thing and society stuff matches up. John forever criticizes us that we are hooked on a stupid soap opera, and who wants tragedies, and why are we so hooked, bla bla bla. Of course, the criticism is flying a mile a minute from the office, where he is doing what? Yeah, you know: playing those infernal RPGs on his computer. I wonder if he would get it if I placed some stones on his desk?

Anyway, the other night he comes to bed tired, so I start to turn off the episode that I'm watching. He says, "Don't. I'll fall asleep soon and I know you'll want to finish watching the episode." Sweet, huh?

At three am we,yes, I said we finally turned off the tv. Guess who got hooked? HA!!!

He finished watching all of season five, had a few defensive things to say about Emily/his mother (oops, did we say some bad things?), decided that Rory was morally reprehensible (he fast forwards the scenes with her in them) and now has a crush on Lorelai.

And!!!!! He went to the WB official website and read the season 6 spoilers. That man has no patience.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

the sweet scent of honeysuckles

In an effort to avoid the madness on the interstate, I've taken to crossing town through a very picturesque neighborhood. With the exception of a couple of school zones, the drive is smoother, and certainly easier on the eyes than brake lights standing still on I-20. This morning on my drive to work, I had the windows rolled down a tiny bit.

So, here I was enjoying the drive, the little breeze coming through the window, and the beautiful flowers coming into bloom along the route. I was transported to my childhood with another one of those sensory memories. The sweet smell of honeysuckles was all around me this morning.

It's funny that I hadn't been conscious of the tiny gold and white flowers until their powerful scent hit me. Then, of course, I saw them everywhere. I don't know if they are a weed, or not, but they grow with almost the same abandon as kudzu. Except, nobody likes kudzu.

Honeysuckles, on the other hand, herald spring. I've absentmindedly noticed the kids pulling apart the stems and sucking on the nectar. After school they congregate in bunches around the honeysuckle bushes, systematically picking the blooms off the vines. Sometimes Jonathan will snatch a few and take them into the car when I pick him up.

It's a funny ritual. Most people who haven't grown up in the south would reject the idea of eating a flower, but I remember doing it as a child, and then introducing the spring ceremony to my own children, when the fence along the backyard fills up with the sweet blooms.

The girls, too, have shared the honeysuckle ritual with classmates and most recently, with a favorite teacher at his house. If it's a rite of spring to taste the nectar from this flowering delicacy, then it must be an initiation rite to teach new people the wonderful secret found in the stems of this innocuous little plant. Too soon they'll wither and die, but for a spell they sweeten our days before the dog days of summer press upon us.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

God Help Us!!!

Saints preserve us. Look who's driving:

Monday, May 08, 2006

It's Monday, and I'm just ruminating

One of the funniest things about living in the South is the total lack of understanding that so many of our protestant brothers and sisters have about the Catholic faith. I went from being in a majority Catholic (the practicing part is debatable) environment to being a total minority. I want to be careful, though, about sounding holier than thou with the people who inhabit this Bible Belt. To be honest, I've encountered an occasional radical that has overtly ugly things to say about the Catholic Church. It doesn't help that the media, fueled with juicy stories of sexual misconduct and perversion, are now pushing for the total media blitz of The DaVinci Code.

Anyway, being Catholic in certain pockets of the South has the same effect as coughing up a bunch of phlegm in a roomful of people. Most people are too polite to point out that you are disgusting, but you can see them physically bristle.

Ash Wednesday is one of those times when we get the curious looks. Rosaries seem to have the same effect on Southern Baptists as a string of garlic has on good ole Dracula. Crossing ourselves in the most elementary and profound prayer, the first one we usually learn as tiny children, has such a mysterious allure with some people, that they imitate it. Funny that they try to achieve an element of cool with a component of a faith they criticize.

This weekend we celebrated First Communion in our parish. There were lots of people who attended the Mass and were clearly clueless. One woman, who was earnest and serious about participating in everything, desperately wanted to bless herself with Holy Water. She would go up to the font, peer into the bowl, and leave again.

I must admit, it was entertaining watching her watching people dip their fingers in the bowl and take off. It became clear to me that she was trying to see what they did with their hands as they walked away from the bowl.

C'mon now, you know we do this by rote, absentmindedly dipping and crossing ourselves in such a smooth action, that from behind, it does seem to be a little bit of hand waving and mumbo jumbo. When I realized this, I went up to her to see if there was anything I could do for her.

She was relieved, and told me that she wanted to understand what was happening. I helped her cross herself, starting what might just be the road to conversion. Maybe.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I'm back....

OK, so the problem with not posting over several says is that I have nothing to say, or too much to say. How about if I just post some random thoughts from my week?


This from a Native American student: The United States has always had a problem with illegal aliens. Just ask the Indians.


As I leave campus at 10 pm, I am amazed at the number of students standing around waiting for the city bus at that hour of the evening. Makes me reconsider that my car is a convenience that I choose to own. It doesn't make me feel any better about spending $50 to fill the tank, though.


My mother, distressed over the numerous posts bemoaning the overwhelming nature of my laundry, has volunteered to do my laundry when they get here for the Confirmation/Graduation festivities. Thanks Mom, but things will get a bit ripe around here if I wait any longer.


Linda has hooked us up with the 5th season of The Gilmore Girls, and we're watching feverishly. I'm disappointed in Rory. I admit that I just don't approve of the way the series is going at the moment. Adultery=Bad. There are no extenuating circumstances. Yuck.


I realized today that I am older than the "older" students in my classes. Man, middle age just creeped up on me. This is disconcerting indeed. I remember lying about my age to make me older to the students in hopes of getting respect. Of course, in those days I paid the student price for lunch for a whole semester before 1) I learned that they were charging me less, and 2) the cafeteria lady heard me addressing another teacher by her first name and busted me.


On a hot day is there anything tastier than an ice-cold Coca-Cola out of the litte 8 ounce glass bottle?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Lunch of Champions

In another one of those bi-locating moments, I had to be in class this morning, and then across town at the university to give my finals. I wanted to escape making a second trip out here, but alas, I'll be back tomorrow.

I made the trip in 30 minutes (not a record) but no time to grab breakfast. Then, only 30 minutes between exams, so no time for lunch. I finally succumbed to the snack machine across the hall.

Mmmmmm, yummy. I had red poison, I mean, fruit juice from real and artificial flavors, and an equally synthetic strawberry poptart.

Do you know what real flavor means? It doesn't mean the flavor is natural, like what you could squeeze out of an orange. It means that the flavor tastes like the real fruit flavor. As opposed to grape, which is not real. In fact, it is unreal, maybe even surreal. I've never tasted a grape that tastes like Fanta.

Anyway, I am braindead at the moment. There are still 90 minutes left in this exam, and I want to crawl under a rock and go to sleep. Poor Titi, she has been sitting in her AP history exam since noon, and it's not over til 4 or 4:30.

I want to sleep for a week.

where's Mulder when we need him?

this from a column by John McCaslin

The Paradigm Clock, set into motion by the Paradigm Research Group (PRG) to track the proximity to a formal announcement by the U.S. government confirming an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race, has been reset to 11:59:45 - 15 seconds to midnight.

Such an announcement is formally referred to as "disclosure" and supposedly would mark the end of a 59-year truth embargo imposed by federal authorities. Midnight on the Paradigm Clock is disclosure.

According to PRG Executive Director Stephen Bassett, "Due to extraordinary circumstances primarily pertaining but not limited to the United States, a window of opportunity has opened for a disclosure event to take place. This window should last through the November election and may remain open or possibly close depending upon the outcome of the election."

Bassett didn't mention what the "extraordinary circumstances" were; however, if you're as suspicious of your neighbor as this columnist, you might keep your distance until such time as Uncle Sam comes clean.
The previous setting for the Paradigm Clock was 11:58:45, on March 8, 2004.

OK, so as much as I'd like to believe this, anybody else find this Paradigm Clock utterly ridiculous? I mean, I'm feeling very close to losing 30 pounds. I'd like to lose 30 pounds. I've lost some weight, but put it back on. And yet, I feel this window of opportunity due to extraordinary circumstances can last for several months, say, from Vicky's graduation to her enrollment at Tech. Yeah. Or, maybe not.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Air Hockey, Revisited

So, I'm taking a shower and washing my hair, when all of a sudden, I can't get my right arm over my head because the muscles under my arm, and part of my chest and back are sore.

I'm thinking, is this a heart attack? Do I have breast cancer? Am I going to die in the shower, and suffer the indignity of being found slumped, naked, and shrivelled 6 hours later?

Sorry, that image was...disturbing.

Instead, I realize that it's what happens when a middle-aged broad attempts to relive her childhood rivalry with her brother, and plays a bunch of air hockey with teenage boys. Yeah. That's me. Suffering from the aches and pains of age and ego.

Have a nice day.

I'm playing hooky, neener, neener, neener

Yep. So far, I've had coffee and danish at that fine dining establishment, Cholesterol Pump (uh, the place with the arches), scared Vic witless by waiting for her to get out of class to retrieve my phone (which was in her purse since last night at the Alumni dinner scholarship barbecue shindig), and then I zipped on down to the church to drop off some papers, and then home, to walk the dog and start, WHAT ELSE? a load of laundry.

Wait a minute. This is playing hooky? Not!

Due to some insane scheduling, I'm am not required to be at either school until this evening. How delightful. Sadly, the party ends this week, and as of Monday, I will be expected to keep some modified banker's hours, at least until I convince my new department chair that it's not such a great thing to be teaching in the evenings. Otherwise, whatever.

So what awaits me the rest of the day? Grading papers. Oh, and of course, the laundry.

This ain't hooky, it's purgatory.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Relaxation, or bust

It's gonna be bust.

It's Monday, and I'm sitting at work so darn pooped that I might as well vent about my poopedness. Is that word? It is now.

My tiredness has passed the point of needing a nap. I fear that I'll just not recover from it and move on, having lost whatever sleep is lost. Woe is me. Whine whine whine.

I hate whining. Don't you?

Instead I'll revel in being one of those candidates for sleep deprivation tanks. It would be cool. Or maybe what I'm thinking about is those sensory deprivation tanks. Yeah, that's what I meant.

It would be so cool to just jump into one of those puppies and chill out for say, a couple of years or more. I could take a really long nap. Would I drown? Would it be so bad? Not drowning, I mean not having anything at all to feel or hear.

Of course, I just remembered that there were rumors that Michael Jackson had one of those tubes. Gross.

On second thought, maybe I'll have another cup of coffee and get back to grading papers.

Somebody is being a busy comment[er]

I'm watching you.