Thursday, October 30, 2008

A quiet house...

On Wednesday morning, my lovely boys and brave hubby left on a 2 night, 3 day field trip to explore marsh ecology on Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia. They were so excited in the days leading up to the trip that they were really getting hard to deal with!

But, while I am so very glad that they are having a wonderful time and learning bunches, I have really enjoyed having 2 evenings to chill in a quiet house after work.

Don't get me wrong, I adore my family and I wouldn't want them to be gone for very long, but being propped up on the couch with a chick flick (that I might not watch if the kids were home) and my crocheting has felt really relaxing. I have the blanket for the baby shower this weekend about half way completed.

The only downside is that since I am driving hubby's truck while he is gone, I am having to use the clutch with my sore foot. It's really rough in the morning when it is so cold. By the time I get home, my foot is achy. But, it's more of an excuse to stay in my home where I am happy.

Tomorrow evening, my family comes home and I will have a little Halloween bash waiting for them with some pizza and candy. Life is good.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Das Boot!

Day one without wearing the boot (it stayed in the car, just in case). I survived and my foot really wasn't much more sore than it would have been just from wearing the boot. For now, stairs really are the enemy and I am being very wary of them.

I am wearing toe separators for a little while of an evening so that it will encourage the bones in my foot to be less cramped together. That is at least a contributing factor to my Morton's neuroma.

Anyway, all in all, I call it a success. I laughed with my classes that it's amazing the difference a single letter can make: SHOES sounds so much better than shoe! To me, at least :-)

In other news, finished my first crocheted pair of socks. Working on a last minute baby gift for a girl in this amazing glut of little boy gifts. Got my kids new eyeglasses (much needed).

Taking senior pics has been fun so far. We'll do more location shoots this upcoming weekend.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Orthopedic shoes and crocheted socks

Why are most orthopedic shoes so stinkin' ugly???

I don't mean the entry level ones with a little extra depth and a low-ish heel. I mean the serious, extra wide, double depth, super supportive ones that those of us wear who have serious feet issues. Geesh! I never really liked the look of Birkenstocks (rather wear flip flops--another no no) but it appears that my options are limited to Birky look alikes and lace up, clunky, major motion control sneakers. Yay.

Yes, it looks like I will be wearing tennies with my lovely dressy ensembles! Or, loud, tacky socks with my clogs and Birky wanna be's.

Yes. Long skirts and tacky socks are the future in store for me.

I started crocheting a pair of socks for me. They are bubble gum pink with neon green and purple bits. I think that these colors will make me smile--even in ugly shoes...

It's a start.

Cortisone--OH MY!

Well, went back to the orthopedist to check on the bum foot. Turns out that he agrees that it is a Morton's neuroma and nothing is broken. Unfortunately, he said that the neuroma is on the large side and is less likely to respond to non-invasive methods because of the size.

So, I got to receive a lovely cortisone shot through the top of my foot! AAAAAAGH! That sucker HURT. In fact, that was hours ago and it still is tender. But, I do hope it works, otherwise, I am definitely surgery bound.

The only good news is that the cortisone shot is only good for one round and then if it doesn't completely resolve the issue, you have surgery. At least, I'll never have to get the cortisone shot again!!!

The doctor then sent me back to the special shoe and orthotic store in Decatur (50 miles away from the doctor who is already 25-30 miles from my home) to replace orthotics and make sure that my shoe situation is still appropriate (some were, some weren't). By the way, the place is McMahon Shoes and they have phenomenal service! I highly, HIGHLY recommend them, but they are quite a haul away from here.

I did hate that I lost an entire day at school, but at least I got everything done in one day (including my fasting blood work for my regular doc).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

In Memory of Shane Hackbart

Today, we had the unfortunate task to attend the funeral of a 14 year old child that I have known at our school for the last 2 years or so. Even though he had moved to the local high school this year, the loss has affected our staff and students profoundly.

The service was a fitting tribute for a quirky kid with a bigger than life smile and the best curly ringlets that you have ever seen! The chapel was packed to capacity (with enough huddled outside to fill it again at least twice). Clearly, this child had touched so many people of varying races and ages! There were loads of kids his age, yet also those far younger and older (including college students who returned home for the service). Add in loads of adults and let the cute stories and amusing anecdotes fly. Clearly, this child was dearly loved by more people than even his closest family suspected.

Hubby remembers being the designated male chaperone (an occupational hazard when married to a staff teacher and father to a middle school son) on a middle school field trip 2 years ago to the Burton 4-H Center on Tybee Island, GA. Shane and two other boys stayed up late teaching him to play 4 square. He remembers Shane laughing and trying to trip up his game. He says it's going to hurt to go back there again this year (in 2 weeks) and see that 4 square court.

As for me, I remember Shane playing soccer on the school team with DS12. Shane was an especially able athlete, but always kind to the autistic kid who struggled with every aspect of the game. DS12 was proud to call Shane his friend. I was proud too.

Mostly, I will remember Shane who never just walked down the halls of the school, his curls bobbing along with the ever-present bounce in his step. When he would see me (or anyone), he would grin from ear to ear and say, "hey!" He always looked me in the eye, even when I had to correct him on rare occasion.

We will miss him.

As for me

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Denis Leary

Well, about the time it appears that folks are able to go about their business with their collective heads extracted from their own buttocks, someone comes along and proves that it just isn't possible. Case in point, Denis Leary.

Mr. Leary apparently felt the need to write a book in which he lambasts the rising incidence of autism to cold and inattentive parents. Ironically, it may be justified in one sense that the parents created the autism, but only in the respect that they allowed sperm and egg to combine, effectively creating the child that would eventually be affected.

Of course we live in a world which doesn't want to deal with autism and the related spectrum disorders. It's messy and inconvenient to have to try and solve a complex puzzle, certainly one that is proving to be much more difficult to get a handle on than cancer or AIDS. So, it's easier not to try and understand, because then we don't have to collectively have to care or to seek treatments, cures, solutions.

The government (through the NIH and CDC) has the unmitigated gall to claim that giving doses of ethyl mercury, of all things,to infants through immunizations is an okay thing to do. Anyone with a science background knows that ethyl mercury is an insidious poison and that infants are among the weakest in our population. It is certainly reasonable to assume that some babies might not be able to process this poison (even in minute amounts) of of their systems through normal pathways, because the pathways may simply be underdeveloped at the time. But, we live in an unbelievably litigious society and avoiding lawsuits is the goal.

I personally, don't care who is to blame. I am not looking for a scapegoat or a lawsuit. But, the raw information could be very valuable in helping to determine treatment options for individual children. I don't believe that autism is a one size fits all condition and that treatment options will need to be as varied as the children who are affected. God forbid that directing research into new, promising areas would ever be considered goal-worthy.

Yet, Mr. Leary calls the parents of autistic children, "lazy" among other things. Well, at least I am not so lazy that I can't think for myself. As a matter of fact, Mr. Leary might learn a thing or two if he were to try it sometime.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I meant to write this yesterday, but...

The State of Georgia announced today that one of my talented and lovely 11th grade students has won 2nd place overall in her grade level in a fire safety essay contest that is held every year!

I am so proud of Juliana!!!
P.S. Juliana's mom just had a lovely baby boy, John Henry, on October 5th. This family has loads to celebrate this month and I am just thrilled for them.

Urgent Prayers Needed!

Please pray for a 10 year old boy, named CJ (I don't ever put kid's last names online). He is my DS10's best friend and the son of a colleague at school. He has had a tough time medically throughout his life. He is deaf and has a cochlear implant.

He has been hospitalized several times. Now, he has a heart condition (I forget the name of it, but it is 3 hyphenated names) where his heart doesn't want to beat properly due to extra tissue or nodules in a valve (at least that's what I understand of it). He has had a 5.5 hour heart surgery to correct this issue about 2 weeks ago. He was doing really fantastic and felt great (it was done like a catheterization, not where they have to cut open the chest). But, last night, the symptoms came back with a vengeance. They consulted their specialists and the Children's Hospital and it was determined that in a situation where 95 out of 100 kids have a favorable outcome, poor CJ was in those final 5 percent.

Now, he is looking at having the surgery performed again. Maybe it will work this time. Maybe it won't. But, this is terribly hard on the family, to say the least. CJ is wearing a full time heart monitor and having to take oodles of medicines to control his symptoms and he is now not supposed to run and play hard. Talk about hard on a 1o year old who loves to go-cart, play tag, and jump in the creek!

We love this kid and we ask that anyone who reads this take a moment and pray for this wonderful child and his family. Thank you so very much!

Possibly a Morton's Neuroma

Went to see the orthopedist yesterday (Dr.Bush in McDonough--very good and thorough) and he was able to ascertain that my foot is not broken (hurrah!), but that I have some problem with the nerves between some metatarsals, largely between #3 and #4 and between #4 and #5. So, I will go back to seeing my regular foot and ankle orthopedist (Dr. Stewart, again, a fabulous doctor in the same group) next week and he will determine the severity, prognosis, and a treatment plan. So, I will know something more in about a week.

Right now, the orthopedic boot is helping a lot as is just plain staying off of it and taking aleve. So, we'll just have to wait and see.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pears, pears, and more pears!

We went over to pick pears at my parent's house today. Hubby got out the ladder and the boys took turns climbing up to see if they could get the very biggest pears. Truth be told, we could have used a taller ladder, as many pears are still looming overhead, despite their most valiant efforts. Of course, I avoided ladder usage, prefering to limp on solid ground, steadying ladders, pointing out pears that were trying to avoid detection, and holding old grocery sacks and filling them up with the pears being lowered to me.

But, the boys laughed and carried on. It was good for them, too. DS10 loved it so much that he pulled out his pocket knife and tried to peel a pear to eat. With a little help from Mom (who has peeled a thing or two in her day) he dug into a nice, juicy one, just a few seconds off of the tree.

My parents are thrilled that the pears aren't going to waste. Granny brags that they are "organic" pears. But we laugh about that, because it really means that we're really all too lazy to do much of anything to the trees to help them out, organic or otherwise!

Looking at the trees, it became obvious that they do need some judicious pruning and a little compost for fertilizer wouldn't hurt whether we bought a couple of bags for each tree, or brought from home (but we don't have a huge production from our little pile, so we may not have enough, but we could mix some of our rabbit poop in with bought compost.

Then, we still are organic, but maybe helping the trees to stay a little healthier. I think it might be worth it.

We got 4 bags stuffed full of fresh, firm pears. This evening, we peeled, cored, and chopped 4 cups to be divided into 2 bags and frozen with a little lemon juice. We'll use this for 2 batches of my favorite Cranberry-Pear Conserve (or reasonably facsimilie thereof as I can't find the real recipe and will be winging it). I may eventually put up a bit more for some, but that was all we were up to tonight.

Then we prepared and processed 9 half pint jelly jars and 9 quarter pint jelly jars of pear jam. I must admit that I am really partial to the fruit butters with their rich cinnamon and cloves flavors, but the jellies and jams are so lovely, clear, and sparkly in their jars. They are gorgeous when they are sitting on a shelf. Ahhh.

As much as my foot is throbbing and this horrid boot is rubbing quite a bit into my calf, I must admit that there is nothing quite as enjoyable as seeing a physical result to the day's productivity. I can look at my work and see the results of my labors. It feels pretty darn good.

What goes, clomp, step, clomp step?

Me in this stinkin' orthopedic boot!!! Ugh!

I had forgotten in the last year just how much fun wearing this little gem could be. I have to walk like some hulking football player to keep the top of it from wearing away at the calf of my other leg. Which means that I have given up my ever so lovely fat girl waddle for this contraption!!!

Pear Butter

Amid all of the turmoil of the last week, I have managed to put up about 9.5 half pints of pear butter. Yum! There are more pears available at my parent's house, but I need to see if I need more jars, etc. I will likely run into the hardware store and price some, but there may be a few still at my parent's house.

Before kids, I used to can loads of stuff to give away at Christmas, etc. Loved it. Some of this lovely stuff may be destined for gift giving. It's lovely, dark, and rich. Mmmm. Maybe I can get some apples and do some apple butter. What a cute duo in a basket!

The worst part of the process is that I realized that my Ball Blue Book (with all of my tried and true canning recipes in it--even my handwritten ones) must have been misplaced when we moved. I am still trying to track down one recipe in particular: Cranberry-Pear Conserve.

If I find it, or can recreate it, I will share it here (mostly so I can find it again). But it really is the best stuff. If I can get my camera to work, I will post some pics of my lovely jars of sugary goodness!

Friday, October 10, 2008

What a week!

Well, this week is almost over and I must say that today put the icing on the cake!

I am now back in my orthopedic boot because I have probably broken my left foot (again). I went to the doctor and got my referral to the orthopedist for Tuesday. I will have to take off work early, but....

At least my foot doesn't hurt as badly as it did before I put the boot on. So, now we wait and see.
Can't wait.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Will wonders never cease...

Well, for the first time this week, I have both good and bad news to report, instead of only bad news.

First, two wonderful friends called to wish me a happy birthday and offer support. It meant the world to me. Thanks Bev and Misty! Bev even reads my blog--now that is love!

Then Misty brought her daughter over to play for awhile. That provided much needed (and appreciated) impetus to shake me out of the funk that I have been in and I began to declutter. It has made a huge difference in my mental state to just feel a little bit in control of my environment. All in all, a much better day for me.

Hubby was finally able to track down our renter while she was packing up and get the missing rent money. We may never be able to prove what happened to the items in the outbuilding, but at least we got something out of it. We're just going to bring everything else out that we need to so that it can't happen again. I will go in tomorrow and see if we need to clean it, etc. before we begin showing it.

On a good note, I spoke with a potential renter who sounds anxious to see the house. Hope it works out for all parties involved.

Unfortunately, hubby locked his keys in his truck in Newnan, an hour drive away. Well, an hour drive when the monsoon hasn't just hit. At home, we had a consistent, heavy drizzle all day, which we desperately needed. On the road and in Newnan, it was a driving, hard rain which was nearly mpossible to drive in. It took 90+ minutes one way to get there and just as long to get back home. But, we're safe and I actually had a truck key that I could take to him.

Even though money is really tight right now, hubby and the boys took me to my favorite Mexican restaurant for a lovely meal. Then, they came home and made me a cake. Such wonderful fellas! I love them so much.

I was so down about everything lately and just expected another bland, dull day. I laid in bed and prayed and prayed last night. Prayers must certainly be answered, because I had a good day. Not a perfect day or a day without any challenges and frustrations, but a day that felt like I could handle it. Who could ask for more?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Is it Christian to bear racial hatred?

No. It is not. There is nothing in the Bible (old or new testaments) that condone such behavior. As a matter of fact, one of the tribes the Jews were allowed to mix and marry with, is a native Ethiopian tribe.

But, it is especially evil and repugnant when it happens at a sporting event at a so called Christian school. I have hesitated to write about this, because it is an issue which strikes very closely to home for me. Dear hubby is bi-racial, hispanic and caucasian. My brother is bi-racial African-American and caucasian. I have watched both be treated with disdain in the deep South. I have heard otherwise well meaning people spout hatred in Jesus' name due to them. And, I can honestly say that I have not, nor will I silently watch that type of behavior.

Christ was color blind, but bigotry is alive and well in the deep South and it flows in all directions. Whites have no monopoly on hatred, nor does any other group. I refuse to see only bigotry that flows in one direction while ignoring it in others. It is all wrong.

Our school had an away football game last weekend at a "Christian" school in Winder (Barrow County), Georgia. Our school and our team are racially mixed and work together as a team.

Now, I will openly admit that I didn't attend this game (and I am grateful that God spared my children being exposed to that situation). However, my parents attended this game (my father works for our school as the computer guru and webmaster, he has no children or grandchildren that participate in our sporting programs in any way) because my father has gotten to know the kids and wants to show his support. This was a long drive, and with gas prices being sky high, was a big show of support! I trust my parents when they report to me what they personally experienced. I also trust what I have learned through the husband of our Athletic Director and from our own Headmaster (who I have worked with and for during the last 5 years).

These are just a very few of the "Christian" things that I am aware of that happened during that game.

1. Parents from the opposing school yelling "nigger" from the stands. Also, the variation of "get the nigger."
2. Parents telling their children not to play with or play near the children who came from our school (including a 2 year old sibling of a player on the team) because we're "nigger-lovers."
3. Referring to said 2 year old child as a "nigger" in front of both him, a white playmate of his, and our Headmaster.
4. Repeatedly grabbing face masks of players on our team and trying to sling them around by the neck (a dangerous and illegal move) while the referees couldn't see it (even when shown by video tape.
5. Singling out kids to gang up on during the game and when they get tacked, keep hitting him, saying "I guess you got what you deserved, nigger!" This, incidentally was caught on video tape.

If this is what constitutes Christian behavior, is it any wonder at all that so many of our youth are opting out? This behavior is apalling at a public school event, but even more repugnant at a school where, by virtue of their religous leanings, are doing all of these things in Jesus' holy name.

Our Headmaster sat and cried from the damage that she saw in the eyes of these players and the other kids who are their friends and would defend them no matter what. When our coach tried to hurry kids to the bus so that violence wouldn't erupt, some of our parents were indignant that we didn't shake the other team's hands--ostensibly because it wasn't Christian behavior. HELLO! The kids safety should be first and foremost. Secondly, the ceremony of shaking hands is a way of saying, "good game, thanks for playing fair with us" which simply did not occur. If I had a kid on that field, I would forbid them from giving the impression that what that other team did was on a standing with fair play and Christ-like behavior.

It breaks my heart to think that if this game had happened last year, that my brother would have been on the cheerleading squad (I guess he'd be a "faggot" too) because he is just not built to play football. If my kids had heard epithets and insults hurled at him, it would have hurt them so deeply. I am grateful that it didn't work out that way.

It's not about keeping up appearances, people. It's about the heart. It's about respect for a Savior who is not a respecter of persons. It's about standing up for what is right. It's about not going along with the crowd.

I guess that's hard to do when folks can't seem to figure out right from wrong. Just a hint: check your Bible. The answers are there is anyone would bother to read it.

One Step Forward...

Ever have one of those days when everything seems to go wrong?

Boy howdy! Did I ever have one of those days.

Since tomorrow is our renter's last day, I made arrangements to meet her this evening to pick up the final (pro-rated) rent payment. Guess who didn't show. Guess who also didn't call. Guess who didn't return hubby's message that we went to meet her and she wasn't there.

It would be different if we didn't need the money to make our monthly obligations. Heck, if we didn't need the money, we could let the church find some needy family and just let them live in it until they get back on their feet. But, no. Apparently, it's okay to lie about whether you will pay and ask for a pro-rated amount when you really owe for the whole month per the lease. It's okay to impact my grocery money for the month, just to avoid inconvenience.

Maybe I would feel differently if we hadn't worked with this renter when she changed jobs and let her make arrangements to catch up so that she wouldn't have to move. Maybe if she hadn't led us to believe that she'd like to purchase the house one day. Maybe if she didn't ask us to renew the lease with new papers that reflected her recent divorce, so that her ex couldn't enter the property. Those things did lead me to believe that she was in it for the long term or at least would show the same respect for us.

Speaking of respectful behavior. I didn't go into the house, but walked around the exterior. The front storm door was off of the hinges, without glass, and the frame propped in the back yard. When it was originally broken by the tenant, we were called and informed that they would replace it at their own expense. The lock off of our outbuilding had been cut and removed and everything gutted out of it, including some metal bed frames and tools, etc. I guess they sold it for scrap metal. I can't wait to see inside, because I wonder if she isn't already moved out and didn't tell us for fear of what we would say.

But, we know which apartment complex called for the reference. We may have to contact them to get an address to direct the appropriate charges to. I know I am angry, but it feels right now like another case of, "no good deed goes unpunished."

So, I came home to watch the Presidential debates and knit awhile to de-stress from today. Well, right when I have gotten my continental knit stitch down and been planning some more Christmas gifts, the cord on my interchangeable knitting needle broke and the whole thing unraveled. I can send it back for replacement under the guarantee, but it is just demoralizing to know that everything I have tried to accomplish today has come apart, literally.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Rental house

Well, just about the time I think we have a good, solid, reliable renter in the house for any length of time, it inevitably happens. They leave with little or no notice and want the deposit back with no questions asked.

Here we go again. We wouldn't have known that this renter was leaving, except that the new landlord called for a reference. So we have less than a week's notice to go in, clean and inspect and try to rent it out quickly in a crappy economy. Oh joy! The best part is that this renter was getting a divorce and wanted a new lease written with just her name and not her ex's name. We hadn't connected with her to get it signed, and now we know why making that connection wasn't a priority.

We never wanted rental property, but we just can't sell this little house. It's adorable, in a quiet location, well built and on an acre of property (with fenced in back yard). It's just so very small and a little off of the beaten path. Everyone wants to live "in town" apparently. I never wanted to, but...

Well, happy birthday to me (in 2 days). I guess I will be cleaning out the rental.

Windfall pears

The pear trees at my parent's home are heavy laden with good, firm pears. I had the boys pick some for me and I will pick more for a colleague at work who understands the frugal thrill of receiving a gift of fresh pears. My mom has decided that she and dad are not "pear people." Well, shoot, I am a pear person and a free food person to boot! Hehehe!

I have misplaced my recipe for cranberry-pear conserve. It is exceptionally good and I would like to make some this year. I will definitely make pear jam and some pear butter with cinnamon and cloves. Yum! If I have the time, I could get some apples and process some lovely apple-pear pie filling for various treats through the winter. Hmmm.

In past years, I used to can lots of goodies and give them away at Christmastime as gifts. I would take cute little baskets and fill them full, sometimes adding hubby's stollen or some homemade candies. They made nice gifts. But, alas, I am not exchanging with many people this year and my Dad is diabetic and I am seriously overweight, so I don't need too much of this kind of stuff hanging around. But, they might make lovely teacher gifts.

I am open to suggestions for pear recipes. I need to recover from this cold and get the kitchen clean so I can get to canning!

Talk about nerve!

Warning: rant coming on! I won't be holding back....

Okay, for those of you who read this that are not of the faint of heart, here is exactly what I think about Christianity (or what passes for it) today.

There are a few things that drive me insane around "christian" folk. Probably the one that bothers me the worst is immodesty. I don't mean that everyone should run around in ankle length skirts in only somber colors, wear a burka, or anything like that, but for goodness sake, do I really need to see you chubby tummy, your butt crack or your boobs???? I think not. And these are the "christian kids" from the good "christian families." I usually find that the parental units of these kids tend to take one of two paths: 1. I had no idea that my kid wore clothes like that (of course the kid can't drive and doesn't have a job--who paid for those clothes? Who purchased them? Who launders them?) or 2. I think it looks fine and my little prince or princess looks cute. Why shouldn't he or she look cute? It's everyone else that is immodest! This roughly translates as: make everyone else cover up so that my child stands out and gets ALL of the attention.

Of course both groups cry loads of tears and are heartbroken when their kids behave in a matter consistent with the look of their clothing instead of with the lessons they learned through home, church, etc.

A case in point is cheerleading uniforms. Some parents make sure that the coverage is ample and appropriate within the needs for movement that the girl has. Others just go for the skimpiest, shortest, tightest thing possible. Our squad has lengths from crotch to just below mid thigh. You can look at the kids and know a lot about the parents who approved of the length. Now, I am not prudish, by any means, but I don't need to see bloomers when the girl is standing still. Even worse, we have been asked by other Christian schools to not bring our cheerleaders back to other functions unless they wore pants under their uniforms.

I try really hard not to be judgemental, but I see it all the time in the community, in church, and at school. I know how hard it is to try and direct a child to adhere to a reasonable (actually pretty lax) dress code only to have the parents take offense that pants have to be pulled up or belly can't be shown. It's even worse when cleavage is shown. It doesn't happen often (and I don't think that it ever happens deliberately) among the adults I know, but when exactly did women begin to believe that their breasts can be even a little bit exposed and that nobody would notice? Teachers lean over desks and help kids, good grief, check your necklines! Or their buttocks? It's embarrasing when you can run into an adult at a grocery store and see two half moons of the person's butt hanging out as they walk away. It's worse when your kids know them and comment after they leave about what they saw (is that why they are called booty shorts, Mom?). Geesh! It's a hard call to discuss modesty without making it appear that you are attacking the fashion victim.

The sad thing is that I know some otherwise beautiful, Godly, women who just don't seem to realize that their clothing send another message. The men aren't much better, but, as a married woman, I don't socialize with very many men, just a few friends of the family. So, I don't have a lot to base an opinion on the character of the "man on the street." I guess you'll have to ask the men you know about that one.

And let's talk about modesty in relation to behavior. Now, I understand at a sporting event, being concerned about a bad call or a good play and expressing approval or disapproval. But, what about the parent who is constantly screaming (not cussing, but very, very derogatory) at the high school kids (his kid included) at a Christian sporting event? I know from experience that it is annoying and embarrasing for the people around this person (just from listening to the comments that I hear around me) and creates a lot of pity toward the kids that are victims of this constant tyrade. Does it help the kids to want to do better? Does it edify or uplift them in any way? No, it doesn't. It demoralizes them and makes them not want to play.

I sat at a volleyball match once where this parent screamed constantly, "you are losing the game for yourselves girls" while the team captain kept telling them, "it's okay, just do your best." I was outraged! A child had to try and calm them while and adult ripped them apart. I wanted so badly to scream, "if you make them cry, then we'll lose for sure!" I didn't yell it, but I sure wanted to. We make a point of praying before and after games and playing fair and playing clean and "playing in Jesus' name." But, when we lose, it's often due to the devil on the sidelines who hides behind cruel words. Yes, we play teams that are just better than we are on that day, but the constant heckling and picking apart of our players doesn't help or inspire them to do better.

But beyond the usual sporting event bad behavior, what do we teach the kids about talking to each other in brash, bold ways? Do we encourage a meek and quiet spirit? No, we encourage kids to "get attention" and "go out and get what they want." Excuse me? What they "want" or what their bodies and hormones prompt them to want will only lead to heartache.

The adults of my generation have messed up so many things for themselves, but they don't counsel their children to avoid their bad behavior--only to do it better so that they don't get the consequences. The devil doesn't work like that and we all ought to know better.

Here's a sad commentary. Each year, new students coming up into high school will ask personal questions of their teachers. Every year someone asks me if I am married. I always tell them that I have been happily married for 21 years (okay, it's 21 this year, I tell them the appropriate time for when they ask) and they invariably ask, "to the same guy?" I always laugh and tell them yes, and that it can be done if you are willing to work really hard at it. Several of our teachers are in the same situation and we chuckle over it, but it is sad.

And then there are the bizarre events we encounter when we go on away games to other Christian schools. I'll write more on that later. That one has me so very angry that I am going to take a break and pray before I dare to broach that subject!

It's Fall Break

After 9 weeks of studying (for the kids) and grading mounds of papers (for me), we have been granted a wonderful fall break for a week. It's lovely and I am going to enjoy every second of it!

We did a lovely outdoor photo shoot for the senior photos for one of my favorite students. We did the shoot at Sprewell Bluff State Park by a lovely river with a rocky shore. Hubby got loads of beautiful natural shots both in the woods and by (and in) the water. Lovely.

However, after walking all over the rocks and sandy areas, my left foot (the one that I have broken twice) is really hurting. Plus, I am battling the beginnings of a cold and am tired and achy and sniffle-y. So, I am taking it easy for the most part today. I have only to run the dishwasher and keep hanging clothes on the line to dry. Anything to save a $ on the power bills these days. Of course, the clothes smell absolutely lovely and they are less wrinkly as I learn better ways to hang things so that I minimize the mess that I make of things. I really don't like to iron, so I am trying to keep from having to!

It's still a little hit or miss to find gasoline around here, much less at a decent price. The pumps are still running very slowly. Hurricane season has really kicked us here, even though we are a good 4 hours from the shore!

My mom and dad are planning to leave on Wednesday morning (my birthday) and go to Orlando to see the baby brother. I think he is pleased that they are coming. If it weren't for the fact that we are really feeling the effects of the economic slowdown lately, I would love to pack up and go, too. But, alas.... At least I know that we will see him at Thanksgiving whether we go down or he comes up. I will just have to wait until then. I do miss the dufus, though :-)