Tuesday, November 25, 2008

From One Town To Another: A Moving Story

We are moved! Finally, finally, finally!

We moved our double-wide house to be closer to our jobs. Since the house was being moved we really didn't have to take the stuff out of the house. We did have to pack breakables in boxes and lay bookshelves and things like that down. After days of "packing" we were ready for the house movers.



On November 25th the house movers came to split our house and move it.

Frankie and I were in our new town waiting for the house when we saw it coming down the road. We were so excited then we saw something that made our stomachs flip and great dread fill our hearts.

The plastic was torn! All our things were in there!! (Hopefully!) Once the movers got to the land we asked them about the plastic and the said that it happened about 10 miles away from the land so it wasn't as bad as we thought. And they saw it as soon as it ripped and slowed down. They did a wonderful job! Because of the size of the haul they had to go the round about way through San Antonio. I could just imagine my couch flying out on the interstate in San Antonio! That would have been bad! But all was well. The worse thing that happened was that a tree branch poked a small hole in the bedroom wall when they were bringing it actually on our land and we can fix that.

Before we could move into the house we had to wait for the septic installation, water pipes laid, and electricity hook-up. For one week we were living in a hotel. It wasn't idea but at least we had that option. Once all utilities were up and running we got to move in. Official move in date was December 2, 2008. Then our work began.

Our first project was to get a fence up. I don't have a finished picture (we are finished) but here are a few in the process pics.


We still have several things to do, but the weather is crazy this time of year. One day it can be 80 degrees and that night you could have something like this:


Yes that is some form of frozen precipitation! It was gone soon after that, but this is how the weather has been...well no more frozen stuff because that would mean there was moisture and we haven't had any of that in a LONG time in south Texas.

I am just happy to be moved and ready to finish up all the projects we still have so that it will feel like home because as the saying goes,"There is no place like home!"


Monday, November 10, 2008

What A Day!

I will be grateful when we finally are moved. I keep saying that we will move soon and it has to happen...it just has to! We are waiting on a water meter and then we can set a date to move the house. Maybe in time for Thanksgiving....

I can't believe how fast the price in gas has dropped. That has been a huge blessing to us. The town we have to pass through everyday has the cheapest gas around. This morning when we passed by Wal-Mart it was $1.78 so we had to stop! Which then made us late...we got to school and 5 minutes later the bell rang! Oops. :) We are good teachers and set a good example! LOL!

One of the other teachers was watching the parking lot which we all take turns with some duty or another in the mornings. She said that whoever had the duty for the morning didn't show up so she was filling in. She went on to say that since this was a new six weeks that they probably forgot. WHAT?!? I thought we had one more week of the six weeks. Double Oops!!

OH NO GRADES ARE DUE!!! Triple Oops!!!

She then said that whoever had the duty on Friday's last six weeks was suppose to be out there today. Guess who that was... Quadruple Oops!!!! And all this was before 8:00 AM.

I managed to make it through the rest of the day without anymore Oops. But tomorrow is only a few hours away!

I wasn't the only one to Oops today though. At 4:00 PM the band direct sent out an email saying that the members of the band would be involved in a Veteran's Day Celebrations and would be out all Tuesday morning. So there goes half of the students in my classes tomorrow morning. I will have four 2nd period and I will teach those four the best lesson they ever had!! LOL! At least my Oops didn't effect that many people.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Small School - Many Hats

As I sit here writing this blog, I can hear my husband in the bedroom snoring and the cat laying beside me snoring as well. I want to wake them both up because that noise drives me bananas!!


We are still commuting to work.....sigh.....but there has been some progress. We own the land now! Hooray! We are the proud owners of an acre of Texas soil! There is also now a crushed rock pad just waiting for the house to be moved onto it. The "city" (term used loosely because really it isn't even an incorporated town since it is so small) has finally finished put in the water pipes. They still need to put in a water meter, but we have been waiting for the pipes for over a month. So the water meter, the electric poles, and electric meter need to be put in before we can move our house. It really shouldn't be much longer now and I am so looking forward to moving!

I am really enjoying my new teaching job. The kids are great and my coworkers are wonderful! I wasn't sure if I would like being in such a small school because of the extra work that would be involved, but I like the variety of my day. I teach Jr. High math, Geometry, and Calculus and only have to repeat one lesson a day with the two Geometry classes. In a bigger school I would repeat the same lesson 6 to 7 times a day and it gets old.


All the teachers teach a wide variety of classes, but what cracks me up when when I find out the multiple hats some of the administration wear. The principle of the Jr. High and High school is also the golf coach. The nurse is a bus driver, the girl's basketball coach, and a UIL coach. (UIL is the rules and regulations of athletics and academics for Texas, but when I say a UIL coach I am talking about the academic competitions in which the students compete against other students in Texas. I am the number sense (a.k.a. doing math in your head) coach.) The athletic director has to teach....gasp! But the best one is the fact that the superintendent...the superintendent...has taken up one of the UIL competitions herself.

It is great working at a small school!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Smallest Town In Texas

The first town Frankie and I lived in after we got married had a population of just under 3,000.

The next town and the current one we live in (for a few more weeks) has just under 2,500.

The town we are moving to has a population of just over 1,000.

If we keep this up we will end up in a two person town called Frankifer, Texas.

Can you guess who will lives there? There will be more animals than humans!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Insults And Dirty Talk In Math Class

I managed to insult my calculus class and talk dirty to them all in the same week. I will try not to bog this blog down with a lot of math, but I do need to explain that first sentence.

We have been working with functions (aka. equations) and how to find the derivative (just nod your head) of the functions. Functions start with f(x)= and it is said f of x or just f -x just like it looks. One of the procedures we had to do required us to look at f(u) instead of x.

Without even thinking, I said, "What would f-u be?"

I stopped instantly and said, "Oh my, that sounds really bad!" I then got sooo embarrassed. If you know me then you know that I do not cuss. "Crap" is the strongest word I use. So my uttering this abbreviated version of a certain insult really throw me off. The students (all seven of them) were laughing and I was laughing too, but I was really embarrassed. My cheeks were burning and tears were squeezing out from laughing.

From then on out I would only say, "What would that other function over there be?

The next day the topic of discussion was implicit functions (give me that look that shows you are pretending to understand). I had to tell them that most the functions we have dealt with in the past were called explicit functions. I kept repeating the word explicit, explicit, explicit....

I told the class, "My gosh this sounds so dirty!" They laughed but they did agree. I told them to please not to go home and tell their parents that I said f-u to them and then we talked about explicit things!

What are those teachers teaching in school these days? Why, I do declare!!! :)

Have a great day!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Weeks Two and Three

The last two weeks went smoother than the first week of school. I know and can pronounce all the first names of my students and some of the last names. I need to work on getting all their last names in my head. I have less than 100 students so I SHOULD be able to do this! :)

Here are some things that I have noticed/learned these last two weeks.

First, if I want homework papers graded I have to let my students do the dirty work. Of course, this has shown me that some of those 7th graders (they are going to come up often in this blog, I am afraid) can't follow directions if their lives depended on it, and I mean that in the most literal sense. If someone said, "Put graded by and your name at the bottom of the page or I am going to take your life." There would instantly be at least five less 7th graders the first day, 1 or 2 less the next day and then I think it would only be an occasional one lost over the rest of the school year.

Second, the school district blocks all the cool websites. :( Including any and all online radio sites. I use music as a reward and have been searching and searching for a site that lets me play current music for the students. I think I am going to have to burn a CD of my own music to play. It may not be their taste, but I think I have enough to make a decent mix. I just hope the computer at work has a program to play mp3's so I can fit more on a disc.

Third, when I am working on school work at home, the cat thinks he must sit on the book or paper I am working on or he gets in my lap. I don't know if he thinks he is helping or just wants to be a pest. No, I know he just wants to be close to me...he is my precious kitty. I have handed out papers to the students and have seen an occasionally Pan hair float to the ground. I just smile and continue on my way.

Finally, leaving the house at 6:30 AM and getting home anywhere from 5:30 to 6:00 PM stinks and I will be VERY glad when we move. An hour one-way is not fun. We found some land and the closing is this Tuesday so hopefully by the end of next month we will be completely moved. They are still laying water pipes, we have to have the septic tank dug, the electric poles and meter need to be put in, and THEN the house can be moved. Once we get moved it will all be worth the hassle. We will be only 1.2 miles from the school. We will not know what to do with all the extra time. Hmmm...sleep comes to mind! :)

Well that is all for this week's update. I hope you enjoyed it! Have a great week!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

No Children Were Harmed In The Writing Of This Blog

I only thought I would have the time to write about my first day back to teaching very soon after my first day back to teaching! HA!!! HA!!! HA!!! I think I hear the hysterical laughing of other teachers in the background or maybe my sanity is slipping a little already and those giggles are in my head.

Here are a few things I somehow managed to push out of my head in the 4.5 years I was out of the classroom:

  • Once that bell rings and there are kids sitting in your classroom, you can't just leave if you need to use the restroom or get a drink of water. I mean you can, but there is no telling what you might walk back into.
  • No matter how hard you worked on a lesson, just be prepared to shove it aside when the principal or someone else says, "We are all going to the gym right now."
  • 7th graders are incapable of just sitting and listening without talking. Even if for some reason they must resort to talking to themselves, they still MUST talk out loud.

I have small classes all periods, but then again I work at a small school. Except one. I have one period that has twenty-six 7th graders. (Now you see why I have that third bulleted point!!) It is the last period of the day, twenty-six 12 years old the last period of the day! Whose bright idea was that? :) Actually since the school is soooo small they don't have anyone at this time to teach an art or music class so these kids get to have TAKS preparation class instead of an elective. (TAKS is Texas' standardized test-Thank you No Child Left Behind!)

I have had to resort to a trick a long time teacher taught me. Since I have them last period, I can hold them after the bell without worrying about another class coming in or the ones I have being late. When they get too loud I start counting seconds out loud. The kids I am standing next to can hear me and they start shhhing the others. I stop counting when they are all quiet and will start again where I left off if I need to. (I have to write it down so I don't forget where I was!) How many seconds I count, that is how long after the bell they have to stay. After one week, the longest they have had to stay is 36 seconds. I will break them yet! :) Did I mention that out of the twenty-six I have eighteen of them 2nd period as well?? Let's just say I know the 7th graders, and will have them again next year as 8th graders. Welcome to the life in a small school. :)

Here are two quotes from students from last week that cracked me up along with my thoughts in italics.

  • From a 9th grade boy who had for some reason smelled a piece of paper, "Hey, this smells like fresh corn!" (Seriously, fresh corn??? Other kids were laughing too and said things like, "I can understand if you had said pizza or pie, but fresh corn??" So yeah fresh corn I guess has a different smell.)
  • From and unknown 7th grader after another unfortunate kid passed some gas in class, "Whoa there big boy!" (I think it was the unexpectedness of this response that cracked me up and yes I had to start counting seconds after this happened to get them quiet again!)

So that was the highlights of my week. I am exhausted and very very very grateful that this is a 3-day weekend. I need it to get caught up...no get ahead on lesson plans so I will have more time to play during the day! :)

Feel free to send me your pity, glad you are not me, or you feel my pain comments!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Five Days Down One Hundred Eighty-Two To Go

My week started off very sad with my granddad's funeral in Houston on Monday. It was very hard to go to and I am fighting tears now writing this. He had a military funeral (he was a WW II veteran) including a flag covered casket and a 21 gun salute. They presented the flag to my grandma and tucked into a small cloth bag that held three of the bullet shells. My dad asked for the flag and I was given the shells. My grandma is holding up better than I thought she would, but her faith is strong and I know she will be okay as time goes on. I was able to see family that I hadn't seen in years so there was some good on Monday.

Frankie and I missed the first day of teacher orientation due to the funeral. It really threw off the rest of the week. I know there are things that were talked about that we missed, but either we will get told or it wasn't important enough to begin with. :)

The little school we are working at is going to be a good one. On Monday the Lion's Club served steak for lunch for all the teachers (we missed it). On Tuesday the school board invited all the teachers to supper (we missed it too since it started at 7:30 PM and it is an hours drive home...it would have been too much). On Wednesday the Chamber of Commerce invited all the new teachers to a lunch and gave each of us a sponsor. The sponsor is there for anything we may need in the community. This is awesome, no other community I have been at has done this. And then today the teachers decided to have a pot luck for lunch. It sounds like I am judging the goodness of the school by how much free food we have gotten! HA! There is more to it. Everyone has been great, very nice and helpful. It is hard to go into a new job where everyone knows each other and the person I am replacing had been there for over 20 years! I am glad I have Frankie there, it helps.

So five days have past out of our 187 days for the school year and they have been hectic! We both have been very overwhelmed with all the stuff we will be dealing with come Monday. In fact, I need to get some work done now with lesson plans and such, so until later...! :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

For Granddad

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Luke W. Shira (86) of Highlands, Texas passed away August 13, 2008. Luke was born on June 27, 1922 to L.W. and Elsie Shira in Pocatello, Idaho. While attending school he was both athletic and played in the High School Band. He attended Pepperdine University, and received his draft notice while there. He entered into the United States Air Force and served for three years.

While in the Air Force he met and married Arva Bea Damron on August 5, 1944. After the marriage he was sent to serve as a gunner on a B-26, flying in the European theater of operation. Luke returned home for dismissal from the service and worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. In 1948 he moved to Texas and enrolled in Abilene Christian College studying to become a preacher of the Gospel. Graduating in 1952, his preaching has been mostly in Texas and New Mexico. Since 1993 Luke has been the associate Evangelist for the Church of Christ in Highlands, Texas.

Luke is preceded in death by his parents L.W. and Elsie Shira, brother Paul Shira, brother Hugh Shira and sister Helen Shira. He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years Arva Shira, son Mickey Shira and wife Leslie, daughter Glenda Dotson and husband Martin, grandchildren; Jason Wahl, Melissa Shira, Jennifer Hinds and husband Frankie, Teri Tucker and husband Dion, David Dotson and wife Teresa, Marty Dotson and wife Kim, twelve great grandchildren and many nieces , nephews, other relatives and friends.

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The way I remember my granddad is not in the above picture. That was before I was born. Here are my memories:

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Granddad and me - early 1980's

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Granddad in his church office-around the year 2000

I love you Granddad. You will be missed on this Earth but when we all get to Heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Saying Goodbye

Yesterday marked the end of my time at Schreiner University. I was there for 4.5 years and they were very good years to me. I will miss seeing many of the wonderful people that I worked with, but I will not really miss being on the administrative side of education. I am happy to go back to teaching, excited to have new experiences, and ready to meet new people.

I am grateful for the opportunities that Schreiner offered me. On the entrance to the campus there is a sign that reads "Enter With Hope". I did enter with hope. I had been unhappy at my previous position and wanted something better. All my hope was put into Schreiner.

So now as I move on in my life, I will follow the advice on the sign the can be viewed when leaving Schreiner campus:

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Click Here For Title

The title for this blog was way to long to be a title for this blog! Here it is:

How My Husband Got Out Of Going To Wal-Mart
And What He Had To Sacrifice In Order To Do It

We had plans after work today to eat Chinese food, watch the movie "Swing Vote", and then afterward go to Wal-mart to buy groceries. Frankie always tries to get out of going to Wal-mart no matter when or where we are. I mostly can't blame him, but I really hate going alone and usually it is not too bad on a Friday night. (Wahoo! We are party animals!)

The Chinese restaurant was great. Frankie managed to only dribble a little on his shirt. (Trust me this is a great feat for him!) :) He asked if we could skip Wal-mart and the movie and just go home. He promised we would go to the store tomorrow morning and he would even buy me breakfast. I said I wanted to go to the store and get it over with because we have a lot to do tomorrow at home. He reluctantly agreed.

Or so I thought. He must have been plotting on how to get out of it. Next thing I know he has dumped his cup of sweet and sour sauce on his pants, down his arm, and on the floor! WHAT A PUNK! So yes, he got out of going to Wal-mart, but he also had to give up going to see a movie. If you know Frankie then you know what a HUGE sacrifice that is!

It was a mess and yes I laughed at him. I keep asking him if he did it on purpose, and he keeps denying it. I will always have my doubts!

P.S. He does know I wrote this and got a kick out of it himself. Silly boy!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Credit Freeze

Frankie and I decided that we didn't want to commute two hours a day to our new teaching jobs while saving money for a house. So we started looking for a piece of Texas that we could just move our current house onto it.

We got pre-approved for a loan and the mortgage company asked for information to be sent to them. One thing they want is a copy of both of our social security cards. No problem, except there was a problem. I couldn't find them!

We had a place where we were keeping them, but Frankie decided that it wasn't safe enough so he asked that I move them. I remembered that much, but not where I put them or when I had moved them. We searched high and low for those things for about a week. I knew that it was not just the social security cards that I had moved. There were also some credit cards that we have but don't use regularly with the social security cards.

I wasn't getting panicked yet, but I was dreading the thought of trying to remember what credit cards had been in the stack and having to replace the social security cards. We might have to put a freeze on our credit until it got settled and what if it took a long time for the social security cards to be replaced? We needed them to make copies to send to the mortgage company, now! It would be a pity for this to be what kept us from moving...lost social security cards!

Last night I prayed to God to please let me remember where I had put them. I relaxed and started to read my book before going to sleep. I paused my reading to pet Pan, when suddenly a thought came into my head.

I got up and said to Frankie, "Do you remember when we left for Connecticut in December; you said that the social security cards and credit cards were not in a safe place and you asked me to move them? I think I remember where I put them now!"

I go into the kitchen and open the freezer and start searching. (Yes, the freezer.) I told Frankie that I remembered putting them in here, but I couldn't remember if I had taken them out when we got back. After searching every possible place, it is not like it is that big, I still couldn't find the cards!

But wait!

I had taken the coffee out of the freezer just a few days ago and put the half used box in the fridge. Sure enough, right in the box of fancy decaffeinated coffee, nestled beside the gold foil sat both our social security cards and our credit cards. And to think, I almost, almost, almost threw that box of coffee away. No...never mind....I don't want to think about that. It is one thing to lose things in your house, but to have it turn up who knows where in who knows whose hands....oh perish the thought!

I asked Frankie if we could just put the cards back where they had been and he agreed. So our credit is no longer, literally, frozen and I can make copies of the social security cards for the mortgage company.

Oh the things we do!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Outer Bands

Yesterday, after work, as I walked out to my truck, fat drops of Hurricane Dolly's outer bands began to fall on my head and shoulders. Then as suddenly as they started they stopped. Driving home I could see the dark clouds in one direction and the sun trying it's hardest to shine in the opposite direction. It created a very surreal feeling.

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Now you have to realize that we live 5.5 hours, almost 350 miles, away from where the hurricane hit and we are still getting some rain from it! Thank goodness, but wow!

The closer I got to home the darker it was getting, then within seconds, it was pouring rain, the wind was whipping trees and traffic lights back and forth. The sky became dark as night, I couldn't see out my windshield even with the wipers going as fast as possible. The sound was deafening! It was scary, I could feel the truck pulling and occasionally slipping on the wet pavement.

I continued home, at a much slower pace, of course, and soon drove out of the rain and wind. The sky lightened and a nice cool breeze was left in its path. I have no air conditioning in my truck so that was VERY nice! Later that evening the sun tried one more time to shine and it created the most beautiful sight.

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The picture does not do it justice. The light that was able to come through bathed everything the warmest orange color I have witnessed in a long time.

We will get more rain today, maybe tomorrow and then the chances of rain evaporate. It has been so dry out here that the grass looks like winter, so any moisture is good and we are grateful.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Crossing The Road

I have witnessed many different things cross the road.

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Deer (way too many)
  • Trash
  • Tumbleweeds (in west Texas)
  • Javelinas (again in west Texas)
  • Dirt Devils (I think other people might call them whirlwinds)
  • People, and yes even
  • Chickens (Which I had to stop and wait for. After all, they were in the crosswalk. I am being serious)

But today marked the first time in my life that I have seen this particular thing crossing the road. I was on my way to work and saw something up ahead.

I thought to myself, "What is that?"

As I got closer I could make it out better and I thought, "No way...it can't be...can it?"

I past it and sure enough, what I had just witnessed crossing the road was a:

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I didn't take this picture, but it is a good representation of what I saw.

So now I have to be on the look out for those native Hill Country wild peacocks!

The list just keeps growing. *sigh*

Friday, July 11, 2008

Changes

There have been many changes going on in my life. I haven't been able to say anything about them until now. First of all, Frankie got a teaching job! Hooray! He will be THE special education teacher for Jr. High and High school at a very small school district west of San Antonio.

Second piece of news, this same school district had a secondary math opening for which I applied and got. So I am going back to teaching after a 4.5 year break from it. I will be one of two math teachers for the Jr. High and High school. I will be teaching....Are you ready for this?...7th grade math, 8th grade pre-algebra, 9th/10th grade geometry, and calculus. I am tired and it hasn't even started yet. :)

I have been breaking to the news to the people I work with and so far have only gotten called a jerk, a turkey, and a traitor. Things are looking up! :)

Frankie and I are trying to figure out how we can move. Houses and land in this area are expensive and we are short on money. We can commute since it is an hour one way but that is not the most ideal situation. I am sure something will work out and therefore I am choosing to NOT worry about it.

So this brings me to my third and final piece of news for today. We bought a new car! Our old car had almost 180,000 miles on it and since we knew we would be commuting for a little while at lease, a new car seemed like a good move. This way we will not end up broken down somewhere between home and school in the middle of nowhere (literally) like we would have when the other car decided to give up the ghost, so to speak. Here is a picture (taken at one of our favorite places) of our new 2007 Pontiac Vibe - Benjamin.

Hello, Benjamin! You are mommy's cute little sports wagon aren't you?
Yes you are! You are a pretty boy! Yes you are!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Morning Routine

This has been the routine in the morning at my house since my husband has been on summer vacation.

As I am walking out the door to go to work Frankie hollers from the bedroom, "Bye!"

I holler back, "Bye!"

Pan, our cat, meows loudly from his perch on the corner of the couch.

This happens EVERY morning.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Banana Test

There is a very, very tall coconut tree and there are four animals:

Photobucketa Lion, Photobucketa Chimpanzee,

Photobucketa Giraffe, and Photobucketa Squirrel.

Aren't they cute?! They decide to compete to see who is the fastest in getting a banana off the tree.


Who do you guess will win?


Your answer will reflect your personality.


So think carefully . . .. But try and answer within 30 seconds for best results!!!


Got your answer?


Now scroll down to see the analysis.

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If your answer is:


Lion = you're dull.

Chimpanzee = you're a moron.

Giraffe = you're a complete idiot.

Squirrel = you're just hopelessly stupid.


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A COCONUT TREE DOESN'T HAVE BANANAS!!

Obviously you're stressed and overworked.


You should take some time off and relax!


Try again next year.

Don't feel bad I fell for it too!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Evils of Calculus

This is what happens when I can't sleep and decide to get up, go online, and refresh my memory of calculus at midnight to one in the morning.

This morning right before waking I had a short dream with a lasting impression. The basic idea behind it was that I was in a classroom learning calculus. I knew that the information I was learning was very very powerful. So powerful in fact, that I could become a very evil person with my new powers of calculus, I am talking super hero evil. It could go either way depending on the choices I made in life. I was sick to my stomach and sweating as I wrestled with the decision to go ahead and learn the material and gain the power or to give it all up and live a normal life.

That is all I can remember about the dream.

"And why was I even looking up calculus in the middle of the night to begin with?" I hear you asking.

***nerd alert* *nerd alert* *nerd alert* *nerd alert***

I took at least four semester of it in college ten years ago and it was all slipping away. I didn't sit in those classes for it to just slip away, so I am doing some refresher work.

By the way, if you want to see a fantastic site for calculus check this one out: Calculus-Help.com.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I Heart Coupons!

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6 - 2 liter cokes (Are you saying where are the Cokes? Here is your answer.)
1 - Power-aid
3 - soaps
10- Deli Creations
2 - toothbrushes
1 - gi-normous jar of pickles (husband wanted them)

All of this would have cost me $45.21 but I had coupons. Have I mentioned how much I love coupons?? :) Final cost after coupons was $11.31...a 75% savings! Have I mentioned how much I love coupons??

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Week of Rest

Since Frankie's last week of work until August was this week, I decided to take the week off to spend time with him. We had no plans to go anywhere or do anything special. It has been nice, especially the staying up late and sleeping in. We are fairly boring but we did manage to leave the house occasionally. Here is a run down of some of the events with commentary and pictures.

Tisha, guess what! You are not the only person to see famous people out and about! Frankie and I saw Thomas Haden Church at CVS. He owns and works a ranch in this area. I didn't recognize him, but Frankie did. In fact when I fist saw him all I saw were his tall boots with the jeans half way tucked in. I even smirked a little at the sight. It is not an uncommon to see, but those tall boots always crack me up when the pants are tucked in or half way tucked in this case. We didn't say anything to him, we have heard that he can get rather testy when people bother him and he was trying to get a prescription without too much luck so we left him alone. (Only gawked a little!)

Here are some signs I have seen lately. You know how much I love signs!

Stuff huh? They could have just said "Sale", but no, they didn't. I am just thankful everything was spelled correctly. :)


This sign is outside of a thrift store that we go to often. It really makes you think. (I shouldn't be so sarcastic but really!) Side note: If you will look in the reflection of the window you can see Frankie and then to the left you can just see the top of my head. That is how much taller Frankie is to me. We are quite the pair. :)

This was a sign at a local Sonic, makes you want to eat there everyday doesn't it? MMMMMM....

Okay, enough signs. Here is my artistic attempt at photography. The shadow from my kitchen widow was showing up in the living room wall. I liked the way it looked.

Frankie gave me the following coin. It is worth 2 Euro cents. I wish I could find the history of where this coin had been and how it got from Austria to south Texas.

One final thing I want to share from my week is the fact that I shaved my dogs. They are two of the hairiest monsters I have ever come across. Mac looks like he did when he was much younger. He LOVES to be shaved...see how happy he is?

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I just want to hug him! :) And I probably did!

I hope you have a great rest of the week!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Life In The Slow Lane

I have read and heard it on many occasions...to reduce the amount of gas your vehicle uses you should drive slower. In fact even airlines have announced that in order to save on fuel cost they will be flying the planes at a lower speed.

I have taken this suggestion to heart and have been driving around 55 to 60 miles per hour during the "whopping" 26 miles round trip commute to work instead of the usual 70 that is posted . I have seen a slight decline in my fuel consumption, but let me tell you about the unexpected side effect!

I have become so much calmer when I drive. I am not trying to keep up with anyone else and not trying to beat anyone to the next landmark. If they start tailgating me, since I know I am going slower than the speed limit and it is only a two-lane road, I will pull over and drive on the shoulder. (I know this is probably illegal, but here in the Texas Hill Country it is encouraged and expected.) I can see more of the scenery around me. I actually see flowers instead of just the color of the flower. I am noticing little things that I never saw before. (This of course includes roadkill. I can now tell you just what exactly that critter was...you have to take the good with the bad!) It is nice to just putt along and sing along to the radio.

One thing that I want to take into consideration is the fact that I have to roll with the windows down because my air conditioner doesn't work. You would think that would make the drive horrible, but really it is not too bad and we are talking south Texas people.....temperatures in the mid to high 90's and around 70 to 80% humidity. In fact I think the window down is part of the reason I feel calmer. Slowing down, a "breeze" in my face, the radio blaring to be heard over the wind, and me singing along at the top of my lungs makes for a very enjoyable drive. :)

Call me crazy, but it works.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wal-Mart on a Tuesday

When I looked into the refrigerator over the weekend pretty much all I could see was, well, the refrigerator. In other words, we were out of food. We suffered on through Tuesday when I finally had the time to go to Wal-Mart.

So armed with my food list, coupons (I LOVE coupons!), and my good friend Angie, off to the store I went. I was very happy to have Angie with me and even more happy that I didn't have to take Frankie, my husband. You have no idea how glad I was not to take him. He was just as glad to not have to go! Plus, having a friend go with me, as opposed to going alone, helped me feel braver about taking pictures. Aren't you so lucky!

Now, may I please present to you, Wal-mart on a Tuesday!

Angie and I started off in the pet section. I had two GREAT coupons to get $2.00 off a Nylabone for each of my dogs (making them around 50 cents each and making my dogs very happy). Unfortunately, they didn't have any. (Sorry puppies, Mommy will look again before the coupons expire.) I did find something hysterical on this aisle:



Look familiar?


Now this pre-packaging calorie control has trickled down to our fat pets. Seriously, if your dog is overweight, should you be feeding it snacks in the first place?? Back to the picture, I don't think you can see it but it says "8 Grab -'n-Go Pouches Inside". Um....ok.....that is important and needed because....?? Can someone tell me why anyone would need a "grab and go" snack for your dog?


There are other things that make me stop and go....huh? For instance:


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Are the people who eat pop tart like food, the same ones who are really concerned about it being organic? I just don't know. Do you?


The next section that required a picture is not a "huh?" section but a "whoa!" section. These are the buy in bulk economy tubs (yes, tubs would be the right word to use here) of food. This picture is for my husband, who loves this section. (Look Frankie, see that big can of cheese....try to contain yourself!) He just likes to look at the huge quantities of food in one gigantic jar and dream of all the possibilities. Is this a guy thing or just a Frankie thing?



Beyond the gigantic food section was the canned tomatoes. Let me tell you about the coupons I had. They were for Muir Glen organic diced canned tomatoes. A can of the Wal-Mart brand diced tomatoes cost 48 cents. Muir Glen cost $1.12 for the same size. So, almost needless to say, I had never bought them. But enter the coupons...oh the glorious coupons. $1 dollar off any size or variety of Muir Glen product. ONE DOLLAR! You just can't beat paying only 12 cents for a can of diced tomatoes, let alone ones that are organic and even fire roasted! Wouldn't you just love that price? Go here to get it! (There is a small download and usually you can print the coupon twice if you use the back button.)


I have been finding some great printable coupons online lately. But sometimes, even with a coupon things cost more than I want to pay. Instead of letting those coupons go to waste I will leave them near the product so that some one else can use them. Angie thought that was very benevolent and wanted me to take a picture for an example.



Now, after all that and after standing in front of the Kashi products for a good five minutes trying to decide which product to use my $2 off coupon on (When Frankie heard this he was even MORE glad he didn't go), I was ready to check out and so was Angie. We hunted for the shortest line....which on a Tuesday evening wasn't too hard...and unloaded. I told the checker that I had coupons as she started to ring up my purchases and I went ahead and swiped my debit card.


She got done and said, "Your total is $73.67." right as I said, "The coupons!"


Too late....the process was through. She sighed. I sighed. Angie sighed. I am sure the lady behind us sighed.

I wasn't about to say, "Nevermind, I will just use the coupons later." No way, no how...and you will see why. She called a manager over who said that cashier was going to have to ring them up all over again. I, of course, already had them all bagged and in the cart, but I was willing to take them all out. Angie and I told the lady behind us to go ahead and check out. I didn't want her to have to sit through that again.

The manager wanted to try it a different way and had me go to customer service with her. They went through all my coupons and checked the receipt to make sure I had actually purchased the product. Then she rang up every coupon and gave me the cash. All totaled, I got back $25.45!!!! TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS FROM COUPONS!! I was shocked. I knew I had a lot, but I didn't realize it was that much. I was very ecstatic in a way that only saving money can make me! :) That bill of $73.67 just dropped to $48.22 and I had purchased 41 items.

It was the happiest moment of my life! :) OK, maybe there are a few things that were better, but this rates pretty high!


That rounds up my Wal-Mart on a Tuesday story. I know that I like to read about ordinary people doing ordinary things, so I hope that you enjoyed this blog. Seriously, if you got this far something held your attention. :) Please feel free to add comments and have a great day!


Friday, May 16, 2008

It's Potty Training Time Again!

Yep, it is that time again for potty training....but guess what. I don't even have kids...hmmm explain that one! Ok, I will. I have a cat you see. A very strange cat named Pan.


We potty trained him once. Here is the story if you want to read it. Since we only have Pan again, I want to go back to a no litter box household. Pan is now at the stage where an aluminum roasting pan gets placed down in the bowl of the toilet. (If you are interesting in the other steps, here is a good link. It is not quite the same method I used the first time, but it is close.)

So I went to the store today to buy the pan for Pan. (hehehe!) The lady checking me out asked me what I was planning to cook in the pan. I smiled and laughed a little, slightly embarrassed about what I was about to say.

I leaned in and said, "I am not going to cook anything. I am teaching my cat to use the toilet." She just looked at me and didn't say anything. Then when I left she gave me a strange look, almost like she was mad. I didn't say anything else either, just got my purchases and left. I did find it extremely funny and wanted to laugh, but I don't think the cashier would have joined in!

I bet she thought as I left, "There goes another weirdo!"

Oh if she only knew! LOL!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The United States Postal Service

I read many blogs written by Americans living in Italy and through them I have heard many bad things about the Italian Postal Service. Most of the complaints are about packages being very delayed, and there are even complaints of packages being opened with food that was sent missing. I am grateful for the United States Postal Service being fairly reliable.


So it really cracked me up yesterday when my husband received a card in the mail. It was originally posted marked back in March! Here is the envelope with the explanation to the delay. I have never seen this stamp before, but since they have a stamp then this must happen more than I think. Absolutely priceless!



Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lane Pepper

I have a prayer request that comes from my friends in Rocksprings, Texas.


Lane Pepper is a nephew to one of the members of the Rocksprings church of Christ. He is a young man in his twenties and suffered with cancer not once but twice. With surgeries and radiation treatments he and his wife, Paula, thought they would never be able to have babies. To amazement of the doctors, she became pregnant. However, at the last doctor's appointment they found a cysts on the baby's brain. They are performing regular sonograms in the event that the cyst continues to grow and then delivering the baby early would be the safest option. They will not know the effect of the cyst on the baby until birth, but the potential effects can include severe mental disability. Paula is due in early August.


On top of that worry, Lane has been experiencing back pain the past several weeks, which caused the doctors to perform and MRI. The results revealed that he has a 30 cm (1 foot) tumor in the same place in his abdomen from which the other one was removed in January (The prior tumor was 7 cm, so this one is over 4 times the size of the last one). Lane will soon begin intensive chemotherapy that was described as consisting of "lethal doses of chemo." This chemo treatment is supposed to be extremely painful and, because it is so potent, will probably necessitate a bone marrow transplant.


I don't know this family personally, but I know they need prayer, more now than ever. If you would please stop what you are doing and say a prayer for them asking that their baby can have a healthy normal life, that Lane's treatments will be effective and bearable, and that both Lane and especially Paula will continue to be strong through these hard times they are going through.


When you say these prayers believe in your heart that God can hear you and has answered with a resounding, "YES!". (Mark 11:24 - Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.) Also, remember to thank him for all the blessing that he has given to YOU in your life.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I Have Regrets

First, I would like to make a confession.

Io sono una fifone. I am a fraidy-cat.

It is sad, but true. I had a wonderful oppurtunity to practice my Italian with some REAL LIVE Italians yesterday, five men to be exact. They were at my work, in my building, on my floor, right around the corner from my desk AND I knew about them, but I did nothing. I got too flustered to even say hello in ENGLISH!

I have spoke with an Italian before, so what was was my problem this time?

Almost everyone at work knows about my obession with all things Italy and someone even said to me as I walked by, "Jennifer, these guys are from Itlay!"

With a big stupid grin on my face all I could say was, "I know. I could hear them." as I walked back to my desk.

I regret this.

Thank you for your time.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Questionable Answer

I was tutoring a 9th grader yesterday in Algebra and he was working on a puzzle worksheet. The worksheet came from a book filled with puzzles that ask a joke and then the student has to solve math problems to find the answer. Usually the punch lines are VERY corny, which makes me giggle and the students groan. (I know I am a nerd...I can't help it.)

I looked at the question on this puzzle and then the answer. I was a little surprised by the answer. I don't know if this was really a very appropriate joke to put in a clean-cut corny math puzzle book.


This puzzle question was: "Why did Gyro go into a bakery?"


The solution and punch line was: "Just for the smell of it."


Am I just being too uptight? What do you think?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Please Don't Bury Me When I Die

I took a walk yesterday and to keep me from having to watch out for cars I headed down the street to the Center Point Cemetery. (I, of course, took my camera.)


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The cemetery in Center Point, Texas has the distinction of having the most Texas Rangers buried there (No, not the baseball team). There are 32 Texas Rangers buried there, which is pretty impressive, seeing how there are less that 1,000 people total in Center Point.


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There are other interesting facts about this little cemetery. The lead guitarist for one of the first psychedelic rock bands, 13th Floor Elevators, Stacy Sutherland is buried there.

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Also, maybe you have seen the email that says "A Soldier’s Funeral (Texas Style)". That is a true account; it happened here in Center Point.


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Now you have seen the interesting, how about the old. The oldest marker is from 1875, now I know that doesn't sound very old to some people, but you have to remember that Texas didn't become a state until 1845 and to town of Center Point didn't have settlers until the year 1852. I don't think this is the 1875 marker, but it might be. It was the only one made from wood and the were no traces of any writing.

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It could have been this one, as you can see it had been there awhile and had broke in two places.

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This was the oldest one that was still readable.

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Now you have seen the interesting and the old, how about the odd and creepy? It must have been a trend at one time to have a marker in the shape of a tree stump. I saw about six of these. (Update: I have information about those stump tombstones, thanks to my friend Amanda. They were erected for memebers of the Woodmen of the World before the 1920's.)

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I don't know what to think about this quote on a tombstone...it just seems strange.

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I don't know if this one is odd, creepy, or just sad. There was nothing marking this grave, except for the raised earth and a pot of fake flowers.

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And now for the creepy...

These are just sitting out in the back. Just sitting there. I can only hope they are empty.

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If you have watched even one horror movie then you, like me, would know better than to get any closer to the above picture or the picture below.

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As I walked in the cemetery I saw graves that were highly maintained and others that were very visibly in ruins. It made me realize that when I die, I don't want to be buried. I don't want my loved ones to feel that they MUST visit a grave site or have guilt because they don't/can't. I will not be there, it is not me. I want to do one last good thing for others. My husband and I both want our bodies to be donated to science, cremated (which they would do anyways), and then the ashes spread somewhere. I don't even want my ashes to sit in a urn, again, that is not me, I am not there. I want my loved ones to keep the memories of me when I was alive in their hearts and not at a grave site or on the mantle.

Some may see walking in the cemetery as creepy or even disrespectful, but to me it was a very peaceful walk and I plan on walking there more.


What are your thoughts on cemeteries and/or death? Feel free to share.