Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Just one more 7x7 blog award and Beautiful Blogger Award

I thought my last post would be my LAST post before the end of the year, but then I was reminded by a friend of mine on her blog that I had some awards I haven't had time to acknowledge. I want to take care of that before next year or I'll lose all my blogger buddies and all their cool awards they pass out!

This first award is from @AMsupinger at Inner Owlet. She's one of my bestest buddies on Twitter and the best looking 98 year old I've ever She reads my stuff and I read hers and we always give each other our first impressions, which is the most important thing, I think. I value her opinion and I trust her implicitely. She writes short stories on her blog which are always enjoyable, so you definitely need to go check out her blog. Remember that name. You'll see it on the binding of a book someday...just remember who told you first. :) Thanks for my 'One Lovely Blog' award Mrs. A.M! Love you girl!

So this next one is also from one of my bestest buddies on Twitter and facebook and in my writing/blogging life. @writercherie  of 'Ready.Write.Go' is a great writer, mom and friend. You can check out her blog and see that for yourself. Her talent as a writer goes on and on and I'm sure she will be published several times over because she is so creative. She could illustrate too if she wanted. She's that good of an artist. Love this girl as well! :) She bestowed the 7x7 award on me and I haven't had a chance to do anything about it until now. Thank you Cher-Bear for my award! :)

So the rules are: Go through all your posts on your blog and figure out which of them fit the 7 categories in the award. I know why it's taken me so long to acknowledge this award. This will take some time to do, and I knew it would. That time hasn't been available to me until now, so here goes....

1. Most Beautiful Post: I'm already weirded out by this because I don't think any of my posts qualify as 'beautiful' I'll have to go back and look at some of your comments to see what you readers who are smarter than me said.
After looking through some of my posts, I had more than one person tell me that this post was beautifully done. So I guess this one counts as the 'most beautiful'. It was my 'Memories of Sept. 11' post. I'd never written down my memories of that day and it had been 10 years this year, so I thought I needed to have some sort of record of it. 

2. Most Popular Post:  This one will be easy. I'll just check on highest traffic on which ever post..this might be kinda fun..:)
    That would be my 'Summer of Bloggerly Love' post where I swapped with the lovely and talented Michelle Simpkins at Greenwoman. I posted on her blog about love and she posted on mine. Her post was supposed to be about how much she loved going camping and it turned into the camping trip from hell. If you didn't get a chance to read it, here it is. She is such a hoot! Love her!

3. Most Controversial:  Well...I'm not sure any of my posts qualify as controversial. I'm not really a 'controversial' kinda girl, but I'll look anyway. After looking, I found the 'Meme's gone wild' post which involved the 'Evil Panty Meme' that Michelle started and evolved into the hazing ritual for the So here's that's pretty funny, I have to say.'Meme's gone wild. These Twitter people I hang out with.'

4. Most Helpful: Hopefully I have one that's somewhat helpful. I like to help people any way I can, so hopefully there will be at least one post on here that would qualify. I think this one was helpful to a few people as far as considering their teenaged audience. I'd been reading some YA novels while living with a 17 year old and felt like there were a few discrepancies. Teenagers was the name of that post.

5. Most Surprisingly Successful: It surprises me any time I look on here that people from all over the world have read this blog. It's sort of mind boggling that somebody in Lithuania or Germany would actually read something that I wrote. Especially someone I don't know. So I'll look, but to me, every post I have fits in this category. I think the Teenagers post also had the most comments. I felt privileged that an actual teenager (@rileyredgate of In the Jungle) yes, she has a blog, commented. Made me feel good about that one. :)

6. Most Underrated Post: Hm. Not sure about this one either...I'll have to check. I think one of my first posts called, "A Beautiful Day", is so descriptive.  I thought I did a pretty good job of going out in my back yard and taking everything in and then going back and writing it all down. It needs paragraphs, but the content is pretty good, I think. A Beautiful Day...see what you think.

7. The post I am most Proud of: My first instinct is to just say my first post. Because blogging wasn't something I'd ever done before and to jump into this new world was scary, but I did it anyway. I'll have to check. There may be one I'm forgetting about that I really liked.
Now that I've been looking at these, I think this is the one I'm most proud of. It was my very first short story that I wrote for Michelle's blog for her feature, "First Sunday Short Fiction" I'd never written a short story, but I looked at this picture on her blog for a contest and went for it. She had to poke and prod me a little, but with some encouragement from her, AMSupinger and WriterCherie, I did it. Then I posted it for all the world to see...which was WAY unnerving to me. The coolest thing was I got two compliments on my writing from complete strangers, which validated me even more than hearing it from my friends. Deep down you think...they're just saying that because I'm their But these other people...didn't know them at all, so that made this post really special. :)

Hope you've enjoyed this last blog post of case something pressing comes up...I'll see you after New Year's.
Have a good one!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just a few days before Christmas

Well, here I am.

I guess you guys thought I'd drown in the sea of Christmas programs and preparations, but I did survive it all. The two weeks before we got out for Christmas were grueling though. They always are. And as I get older, it seems like the drain on my body gets worse, but I just have to say no to a few things in order to survive it.
This year it was writing. I had to put all of that on the back burner for two weeks because I couldn't get up at my normal 4:00 am to write in the quiet house. I was just too tired. I tried to write at night...but once again...couldn't hardly finagle (is that really a word?) a complete thought out of my spent body to get anything written down. I decided it would be best to just rest and then hit it hard as soon as school was out.
So that's what I've done. And it's worked.
I feel more energized and the words and scenes in my head are flowing much better now that the stress of three Christmas programs is  over. To me, I don't really get stressed out for the actual Christmas day. I guess because I have to spend so much physical energy in performing with my kids, that everything else feels easy.

So, with that said, I hope all you guys have a great Christmas , Hanukkah and Kwanzaa season and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. It always surprises me that the end of the year is upon us during the Christmas season. It's just so hard to believe the year is almost over. Overall, It's been a good one for me. I can't complain because I'm alive, walking and talking, with no major health issues for me or my family.All of that counts as a good year.

I don't really like making resolutions, but I do like to set goals.
I've been thinking about my writing goals for the coming year. I hope to get my first novel out there in the e-publishing world. I may try to query it, just to see what happens, but I think I'd just rather publish it myself. That way, all the people that have said, "I want to read your book, when can I get it?" Will be able to read it. Those people have supported me for a long time. I feel like I owe them that at least.
Anyway, thought I'd post a little Christmas cheer on here to liven things up a little. I like pictures and color on this a good way to fill that need of mine.
Here are some Christmas-y pics from around our house.

 This is our house after a day of putting up lights. And having to buy more since some of them had gone out.

My new blingy old one was stained and had seen better days.

Cassidy's pink Christmas tree in her room that her aide from elementary school gave her. It matches her pink walls! ;)

Everybody got new stockings this year. Shannon loves her pink zebra one!

So have a good one and I'll see all of you in the New Year!
Happy happy to you and yours.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bowling Braces and Family Recipes

The title of this post came from a conversation I had with some writer friends on Twitter last night. We were all talking about how we all suffer from one form or another of carpal tunnel syndrome from typing all the time. The tendons in my hand hurt all the way up to my shoulder. It's probably a combination tendonitis and carpal tunnel. So we were brainstorming as to things that could help us. Being writers, our imaginations run rampant and these kind of conversations can be both informing and hysterical all at the same time.

Having said that, my first thing I'm grateful for on today's post is my writer community friends I have met on Twitter. The list is long and diverse as far as who they are, what they write and where they live, but we all have things in common, we love to write. We talk about plot twists and turns, problems we're having, or successes. It's just a great community to be a part of.

Don't get me wrong, I love being a music teacher and going to music teacher meetings is great. But this group...they're global and they're always around to give advice, opinions, support or just participate in a conversation that distracts from frustrations. If I started naming them, it would take the rest of the page and I would probably forget somebody. They know who they are and they all have my admiration. :)
And by the way...I do have on my bowling brace and it is helping..but I wasn't brave enough to try the whiskey while I was typing. I will name the names of the ones in the convo last night, because they are so funny. I'll ID them by their twitter handles: @calistataylor @robertklewis @jemifraser and @Lit_Gal  Great people for sure. :) If you find them on Twitter, check out their blogs. They're awesome.

The second thing I'm thankful for is my immediate family. I am lucky enough to still have both my parents, in great health, both my siblings are still in their first marriage, as am I, which now a days is a huge feat. We also enjoy each others company, which is not always the case in some families. Lucky for us, there's not really any major family drama that goes on, and I, being the middle 'peacemaker' child, thrives in that. 

I'm also grateful for passed down recipes. Namely, Mom's dressing. I love it. It's the best thing ever. I could just eat that and not worry about the turkey or chicken. I'm also grateful that my sister-in-law has learned to make it. She's been making it for several years now and has gotten it down to as perfect as my mom makes it. So, at some point, I'll have to bug her about giving me 'dressing lessons'. :)  I've perfected another of my mom's recipes, her chocolate chess pie. This pie is so good, my oldest daughter asked for it one year instead of a birthday cake. That's how much she loves it. Must've inherited that from me. ;)

I'm leaving now to start my day of preparations for tomorrow's Thanksgiving feast at my mom's house. I hope all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving, or just a great Thursday if you're not in the U.S.



Sunday, November 20, 2011

Good Grief

I almost didn't want to post anything because it's been so long, but then I feel like I need to. If for no other reason than to break the 'perfection' cycle that I have in my brain. It tells me, 'Well, you're not doing that perfectly, so you just need to stop doing it all together.
So for my first Grateful shout out, It's going to Marla Cilley. The Flylady.

I don't know how many of you have heard of her, but she has helped me a lot. I discovered her website years ago. Now, I wish I could tell you I have all my routines down and my house is spotless all the time, but I can't say that. But I can say, she's made me aware of my streak of perfectionism I didn't even know was in there.

It's that wee small voice that tells you not to do something because it might not be perfect. I hadn't posted on here because I didn't have time for a few days and then the perfectionism monster reared it's ugly head. So here it is, Nov. 20th. I allowed that dang monster to control me and not post on here for 10 days because I'd gotten a few days behind. It's an insidious creature, perfectionism. I thought it didn't exist in me at all and that's why my house was always a wreck, but she explains on her website, that isn't the case at all. We put things off because we can't do them perfectly. That was when it hit me that she was talking to me. Huge revelation. So now, the routines I do have established are helping me keep some amount of peace in my house. I'm doing the 'Before bed routine' which basically means do as much as you can do the night before for the next day. I never go to bed without laying out clothes for the next day and locating everything, including shoes for me and my daughter, the autistic one. Backpack is by the door and anything else I need to walk out the door with. I have to say, mornings are spent eating and reading before I leave in the morning after we're done brushing teeth and hair.Hardly any running around trying to find this or that before the bus comes. It's pretty dang peaceful. :)

Now that it's close to Christmas, she has Holiday Cruising Missions to Cruise through the holidays. It's great to help you do a little at a time so the holidays aren't so stressful. I haven't done every mission, but I've done a lot of them and have my lists of what I've needed to buy ahead of time for Thanksgiving and Christmas as far as baking goes. So now that I've bought a little here and there, I won't go broke trying to buy it all at once.
Here's her website. If you've never heard of it, and you have trouble keeping a clean house, you need her.

Another grateful shout out goes to my friend Calista Taylor. She's been a friend of mine on Twitter for a while and I also met her on Agent Query Connect a few years ago, when I first was learning the in's and out's of writing. She has been an invaluable source of support and a friend I can bounce ideas off of. She's been writing longer than I have so she's already been down a few of the roads I'm traveling down now. She helped me with a problem that's been plaguing me for about a year now in my MS. The solution was so simple, but I hadn't thought of it or anyone else I'd talked to about it. It resulted in my having to rewrite most of it, but I really feel like this is what will work and work well. I sent her my newest first page and she gave it a thumbs up. Coming from her, somebody that really knows, I took that as a huge step in the right direction.
I'm happy to report that as of this afternoon, I finished the first chapter in the newest revision with 17 pages worth of MS. I also started with a different main character and I think that helps it tremendously. So cheers Cali! I'm SO grateful for you! You can follow her steampunk romance blog at She's written a series called, "Viridis" of which I've read the first one and the second 'Devil on a Sparrow's wing" I'm almost halfway through with. They're ebooks, so you need to download them asap. If you like steamy romances with a mystery twisting around, you'll like this. :) This is NOT a YA book. It's an Women's fiction book, just to make sure you understand...steamy.

I'm going to stop at two grateful shout-outs so my arm won't hurt so bad from typing.
I'll try to get back on here and shout out more things and people I'm grateful for. :) Hope you have a great week and a Happy Thanksgiving if you're in the U.S.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Man...I'm getting behind

I may have to stop doing the gratitude journal on here. It's getting closer to the time of our evaluation. So I'm having to spend more time on that and less time on writing on my blog. I still may use Facebook for my 'attitude of gratitude', but I'm falling behind on here and it's bugging me. I'm trying not to stress about our evals too much. As it is, we're set up not to be able to score too high because this is supposed to be for a 90-minute block of time and we only have 35 minutes. That's the first problem. The 2nd problem is this evaluation is tailored to a classroom teacher and we teach music, so  a lot of the criteria don't even apply to us.
So there's that....
Makes for a pretty disheartening attempt at having a good score. I'm to the point that I just don't want to lose my job because this new evaluation is beyond flawed. It needs some major tweaking. Some of it is good and in theory and on looks really good. In reality, I can't actually hit every subpoint in all twelve points in a 35 minute lesson...I don't care how good I am...and dad gum it...I'm a good music teacher. I go into a losing battle, I'll do the best I can. Get a half way decent score, which doesn't really reflect my ability...and just deal with it for now...
Makes me want to look for employment in another line of work, but in these times, I need to stay where I'm at a little longer. I wish the 'writer' thing would work out and then I wouldn't have to worry about it.
I guess we'll just wait and see.

As far as being grateful, I am definitely grateful for a job that I love. I love my kids, I love the people I work with, who I've given shout-outs to on here before. I have the kind of job where I marvel at the fact that they pay me to do it. It is one of the best jobs in the world. I'm not saying it's's one of the hardest jobs too, but I do love it.

I'm grateful that my health is at a point where I can still eat or drink what ever I want. I didn't say there weren't gaining weight, but I don't have to worry about a diabetic coma when I drink this Sundrop I'm about to drink. This is GOOD stuff. Been a long time since I drank any.

I'm grateful for Shannon's cheer coach. She is motivating to the girls and expects them to work hard. She also loves them and would do anything for them. Her bar is set high and she constantly preaches character to them, which I think is a great lesson they need to learn in high school. Parents can tell kids things, but sometimes it sticks better when it's a coach that tells them.

This was taken after they'd gotten done with camp. They were all crying because the seniors were crying and because their coach had bragged on them and told them they were the best group in 13 years she's ever coached. We love her. :)

I'm also grateful for Shannon's friends. I believe high school can make or break you, depending on who you end up hanging around with. When Shannon made the cheerleading squad with 6 of her other friends from her middle school, I knew she would have a great high school career. Her friends are everything you could ask for in a group. Her first year of high school, she was in a group of 11. These kiddos have been through 16th birthday parties, getting their licenses, and all kinds of fun high school memories. They are sweet, good kids who I love like my own. I will really miss her friends when she graduates high school. They're an awesome bunch.

Great bunch of girls right here. :) Love these kiddos! 
They're holding their fingers to show a 1 and 3.. because they'll graduate in 2013. Aren't they smart? Came up with that all on their own. :)
And of course Shannon's oldest friend, Kaitlyn
I'll have to have a whole other post on Kaitlyn...she's such a great kid. She calls me her second mommy and if we needed to take her in, we would in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gratitude Journal Nov. 7th.

1..I am grateful for today's weather. It was just...glorious. By 9:00 am, I didn't even need a jacket. The sun was warm, the breeze was cool, the clouds were puffy and all different interesting shapes and the sky was azure like the Caribbean ocean. All day long. Just perfect. I always imagine what Heaven looks like and I know the sky looks like that. I wish I'd taken a picture of the sky today. We even had a blimp fly over our school. I was flying really low, which I'd never seen before. It must've taken off from the Smyrna Airport, which isn't too far away from our school.

2.  I am grateful for my flag. I learned how to twirl a really big, heavy metal flagpole in the spring of 1982. My arm has been bothering me lately from all the typing I'm doing during the day and at night. So today, I got the bright idea to go grab my trusty flagpole from my high school and college days and see if it would strengthen my arm a little. I went out in the dark, which makes it much harder to toss...I still can, by the way..;) My waver friends Kris and Bo would be proud of me for still being able to whip it around a little. ;) It did help some, but I need to do it for an hour...I'll try 8 & 8's Bo. I'll see if that

I've been doing really well with posting 5 things to be grateful for, but exhaustion is kicking in tonight more than usual, and my arm is giving me fits, so I'm going to cut it off today and hopefully write more tomorrow.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gratitude Journal-Weekend edition Nov.4,5,6th

Ok...I got home from the Riverdale ballgame, which they WON (Whoo hoo), late and I didn't feel like sitting at the computer after sitting out in the cold for several hours so I broke my routine. I'd done really well about posting every night until Friday.Then Sat. I just So here I am on Sunday night at 7:24, trying to type and not fall asleep. The time change will take a few days to get used to. I vote we just leave it alone, that way we would never have to adjust and readjust our body clocks every spring and fall.
 So...things that I am thankful for...I thought since I'm several days behind, I would still only do five, but then I decided if I had one or two more to add them. Maybe I'll get on a never know with me. Once I get going it's hard to stop me. :)

1.  On Friday night, I was grateful for my neighbor of 19 years, Brenda. She and her daughters, Janice and Melissa have been a part of our family since we had Shannon. When she was born, Janice was 15, so she babysat for us the first time we went anywhere. Greg and I went to see the Lion King when it came out in the theaters the FIRST time, in the summer of 1994 after Shannon was born in May. After that, a friendship turned into gaining members of the family. Janice or Melissa would babysit for us and Shannon LOVED them. Still does to this day. Brenda sat in the cold with me on Friday night to watch Shannon cheer and because Riverdale was playing Coffee County, which is where Janice's kids go after they leave her elementary school.  This is Janice, Shannon and her son, Jaden.

2.  And I'm grateful for Brenda, one of my bestest buddies.

She and I have been best friends for I can't even tell you how many years. She's one of those people I don't have to talk to every day, but I know if I ever need her, I can pick up the phone and she's right there for whatever. Sometimes I just call her because I haven't talked to her in a while and she'll do the same thing with me. Sometimes we do it on the same day after we haven't talked to each other in a week or two. We do that a LOT. It's so funny. I think our brains run on the same wavelength or something. She's been a major support system for me with my writing endeavors and everything else. She reads what I write and tells me what she likes or what's not clear. I completely trust her because I know she'll tell me the truth, like she always has. Your true friends will tell you what you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear. That's her. I love her and am so glad she's been a part of my adult life and my kid's lives.

3. I am grateful for Saturday being the perfect Fall day. Full sunny sky, the air was cool, but warm enough not to need a jacket. I'm grateful for the leaves falling off the trees so Cass can rake them. She had a blast playing in them too.

This is all that's left of the leaves on the maple tree in the front yard.  The rest are on the ground.

4.  I'm also grateful for Cassidy. Obviously, God sends you challenges in your life to learn from them and I must've been in sore need of major amounts of patience. She's taught me patience, negotiating skills, and to appreciate every little thing. When she stopped talking, and the Autism took her words, she used to beat her head against the floor or against the wall and cry because she was so frustrated. I wanted to cry too because it was like we were starting all over again. In a way, we were. She had to learn how to talk all over again. I can remember saying to other moms in the waiting room at Special Kids, "I wish she would just talk."
And they all said, "Just'll get your wish and then she won't shut up." And they'd laugh. They were  SO right. It's that whole 'Be careful what you wish for' thing.  She talks quite a bit now. Sometimes it's a good thing and sometimes it's maddening. Like, drive you crazy, pull your hair out maddening. She 'self-talks' most of the time, but when you can get her attention, you can carry on a conversation with her. For her to even get to that point took a lot of speech therapy.
Being in middle school has been hard on both of us the past two years. Last year was ok,but this year has been much worse. Luckily, she's a likeable kid whose happy the majority of the time. She's upstairs right now working a 1000 piece puzzle because she likes to do it. If you tell her she did a good job with something she'll say, "Yeah...I know." I wish I had her self esteem. :) When I finally do begin to publish my stories, I hope to make a little extra money to put back for her.

5.  I'm grateful for this gift God has given me called writing. I absolutely love it. So much that sometimes I can sit at the laptop for hours and then when my hand and arm start hurting I realize I've been sitting here with my characters talking and I'm typing away writing down everything they're saying and I'm seeing. I usually go back at least 3 or 4 times and change things or make the sentence tighter.  I love it. I hope I'll always be able to do it. It gives me another outlet to be creative. I just hope my brain doesn't give out with Alzheimer's. I forget things so often, that's a really big fear of mine. I'm hoping writing and teaching music will keep my brain active enough to ward off anything like that.

So...that was my weekend list. What things are you grateful for? Little or doesn't matter. If you're grateful for someone in your life, you should tell them. You never know how many moments you have left with them.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cold Rainy Days-Gratitude Journal Nov. 3rd

Today has just kinda sucked.
I don't have too many days that I can say that, but today just did. It rained and was cold all day. :P My daughter has not been doing well at school lately. Her behavior is getting out of hand. I don't know if it's hormones, (7th grade) or the fact that emotionally, she's more like a 7 year old and they don't do well with middle school kids. So there's that...
As I sit here bummed about those things, there are other things that I am grateful for.

1. I'm grateful for my partner teacher, Amanda. We get a long so well, it's almost ridiculous. ;) She's WAY younger than 20 year difference. I could be this girl's We both have very different brains which is why we do so well together. She's SUPER organized and I'm not, which keeps me on the straight and narrow. Since I'm more laid back, if something changes, I can usually go with it and completely change what I'm doing if I have to, she's not good with change. It kinda freaks her out, so I'm there to talk her down and keep her sane. Like I's the best partnership ever. I could've written a list of character traits and sent it up to Heaven requesting a partner teacher I could actually teach with and still wouldn't have gotten anybody as good as she is. She's the one the

2.  While I'm being grateful for people at school, I'll go ahead and say I'm grateful for my friend in the middle, Maribeth. We've taught together at our school for years and years. She's gotten me into Bunco groups and turned me into a Twi-hard, yep...I totally blame her! ;) She's that friend that will do whatever you need, whenever you need it. She's given me rides to school when my car was dead and I've picked up her mail when she's been out of town. Just an all-around fun person to know. Went to my first midnight premiere when Breaking Dawn came out at Barnes and Noble with her and now going to see the movie with her! It's just two weeks away and yes, we already have our tickets. Don't's just fun! :) This picture was taken at the midnight premiere of Eclipse! 1st midnight movie premiere I'd ever been too because it was in the summer.

3.  While I'm being grateful for people at work, I'll go ahead and give a shout out to my buddy Melissa.
 She's our next door neighbor art teacher. She's also in a leaky, falling down portable and loves it as much as we do because it keeps her off a cart. A natural talent in art for sure, if we ask her to make us a sign or something, she's always whipping something up that looks absolutely wonderful. She and I trade music likes back and forth and always enlighten each other on our newest favorite tunes. She introduced me to Pandora and has recently turned me onto the Civil Wars. We both share a love for 'The Ellen Show' and we talk about everything, which is cool. It's nice to have somebody to talk to and know they won't judge you and they keep your secrets. That's a pretty good friend to have.  She also has a Breaking Dawn ticket..;)
She's in her twenties too. I'm surrounded by

4.  I'm grateful for my warm house. On this nasty cold, rainy day, my house is warm. Can't get much better than knowing your family is safe and sound in a warm house. This is the only house we've ever lived in. Not too many people our age can say that. Usually, by now people have moved to a bigger house, but when we bought it, the upstairs wasn't finished, so we've just grown into it. I wish I could say it was paid off, but we've finished the upstairs and added a covered patio in the back, so that's taken about three refinances to get that done.

5.  I'm grateful for my warm cup of coffee I just drank and the warm chili I'm eating. We have more than enough food of which I am grateful for. In this day of everybody losing their job and not knowing where their next meal is coming from, I'm definitely grateful to have the money to buy what we need to eat.

6. This is a bonus since it was such a sucky day. I'm grateful for the sunrise I saw this morning. It was clouds of red and purple streaking over the horizon before the bus came to pick up Cass. Simply beautiful. And before the clouds rolled in, the sun shined on the fall leaves and it was a gorgeous sight. I guess because the storm clouds weren't too far off in the West making it a little darker than normal did the sun seem a little brighter when it came up. And today, instead of being in my portable, I was on the road going to an inservice, so I got to enjoy it.
Hope your day has been a good one and that you can think of some things or people in your life to be grateful for.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Kindle, Twitter friends, Cancer and Hugs-Nov. 2

I'm not sure I can keep up this pace every night by writing 5 things I'm grateful for, but then, in theory, we should be able to write an endless list.

So here's my list for today.

1.  I'm grateful for my Kindle. This thing, while not a fancy touch screen Kindle, has given me the opportunity to download books and not clutter up my house, which I desperately needed. My house is cluttered enough and bringing more books into it, would just make it worse.

2. I'm grateful for my writer friends I've made this summer on Twitter. The reason I even have this blog is because they told me I needed one. I'd started this back in 2009 and then just lost interest in it. Didn't really feel like I had anything to say that anyone would care about reading, so I just let it fall by the wayside. Then this summer, I started following writers and agents and have made some really great friends. They've encouraged me to the point where I guest posted on their blogs and even wrote three short stories this summer that I wouldn't have ever tried to write other wise without them pushing me to do it. So I'm thankful for my goat posse friends, but especially Cherie, A.M., Michelle, Anita, Jennifer and Jean They've encouraged me when I SO didn't think I had enough talent to hang with them at all. I linked their names to their awesome blogs so you can see just what I'm talking about.

3. I'm grateful that when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, the chemo pills worked and she didn't suffer with too many side effects and it hasn't come back. We just watched a documentary on this lady that was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a pretty rough go of it, but she survived. Her friend that she met during her treatment didn't. She was an African-American lady that didn't have insurance, so she was diagnosed too late.

4. I'm also grateful that my dad, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer this past year has had his treatment work as well, with little side effects, other than him being a little more tired than normal. I've got cancer on both sides of my family...maybe I should be paranoid.

5. I'm grateful for my husband's hugs. He's been sick and I've had to keep my distance, but today he felt good enough that he wanted to hold me for a minute. You don't realize how much you crave physical attention until it goes away. Even just for a few days, he was craving it by the time he got home from work today. Poor guy...he's felt like crap for about 4 days now. Hugs are good for your well-being I think. So I was glad he felt good enough to give me one.

I also realized in the car, that I haven't been to the gyno doc in a long time...I think it's been a year...going on two now..oops. I need to get on that and have a mammogram too.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gratitude Journal-Nov. 1

I wasn't sure what else to call these posts, so until I come up with something else, I guess that will do for now.'s list:

1.  I'm grateful for my once a week trip to Barnes and Noble's cafe to meet my dear friend, Annie.

This is she and her son. Annie and I have a lot in common. I taught both of her kids at my school. Her oldest and my oldest are the same age. Her youngest and my youngest both have Autism. In this picture, he has on a CAPE shirt, which is the special needs sports league that both of our kids play in.  We started meeting at B&N during the summer for frappachinos and just to hang out because we had time. Now we make it a priority to meet once a week, just to talk. We talk about everything going on in our lives. She works in an elementary school like I do, so we have a lot in common there too. I think it's like a mini therapy session for both of us. We get to enjoy each other's company, bounce ideas off each other and we have a passion for Pumpkin Spiced Lattes! :)

2.  I'm grateful for the return of an old friend and the making of a new one. My friend, the PE teacher, has been out for 12 weeks. She just had a baby the day school started back and even though we saw her at school with the baby and bringing her oldest daughter to school, it wasn't the same as having her there every day. I've missed her. I'm so glad she's back. And the brand new teacher that did her interim while she was gone was also fabulous. We adopted her quickly and she became a part of our school family in the blink of an eye. But with the return of the old teacher, the new teacher had to leave us. We kept trying to figure out ways to keep them both, but no such luck. But we have made a permanent friend, where ever she goes, we were her first real teaching job and she won't ever forget us. I know we won't forget her.

3.  I'm grateful for hope. Sometimes that's all we have. My youngest had a hard day at school today. I got a phone call today from her resource teacher telling me she was disruptive in all her classes today. When I got home, I asked my daughter about it. When she's not in the heat of the moment, she can talk about what's bothering her, but when she's upset or frustrated, it's like her brain locks up and she doesn't have the words to say what's wrong. She told me her brain 'freezes'. That makes sense if you think about it. A kid that had a language delay most of their little life is likely to have that problem when they're older. So I told her to write down what's wrong if she can't say the words. I hope it helps. That's all I've got right now.

4.  I'm grateful for my job. Being an elementary music teacher is probably one of the most fun jobs ever...besides being the P.E. teachers. They have as much fun as we do. I walk up the wood wheelchair ramp that leads up to the music and art portables every day and I never dread it. I can't imagine having to work at a job that you hate. That would have to be one of the worst feelings in the world. My first class of the day this year is 1st grade. I love how they get so excited about EVERYTHING. Helps keep my perspective on what's important.

5. I'm grateful for one of my 5th grade students today. I'm not going to name him because this is the internet and it can be a scary place. But I have to say, this kid has made a turn around this year that I'm so proud of. I've been his music teacher since he was in Kindergarten, so I've watched him grow up. Until this year, he has been a bit of a .....what's a good word? ....'Stinker'  seems to fit. One of those kids that you correct when you see them doing something and they either flat out deny it, (even when you saw them) , they try to blame somebody else or they or they try to argue with you and justify it.
That drives me bananas when kids do that. This year, he's acting so different. I don't know why and it doesn't really matter...I just think it's great. I've told him too, but I think I need to tell him again before the week is over. He's playing a part on an instrument that's a little bit hard and he's really gotten it, so I've bragged on him for that too. I love to see kids improve and have a sense of pride about them. I hope it continues for him.
That's all for tonight. Hopefully, I'll have more tomorrow. :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Gratitude warm-up part 2

Well, here it is, Halloween and I actually am done taking the kiddo trick-or-treating and still have time to post my gratitude list for the day.

1.  As my husband coughs and hacks in the other room, I have to say I'm grateful for my health. Being in my middle 40's, I have quite a few friends that have already had to deal with major health issues. Some have been diagnosed with diabetes, cancer,  high cholesterol or high blood pressure. They've had to alter their lifestyle completely and take meds for the rest of their life. While I am a lucky duck and still don't have to take anything on a regular basis. I am definitely grateful for that.

2.  My husband is watching American Chopper which is always kind of sad to me because here is a father that screams and yells at his kids all the time when they make him mad and then seems surprised when they yell and scream back. They're all adults and you'd think they'd figure out a different way to communicate. I'm grateful that, while my family is no where near perfect, we all get along. I think that's pretty unusual for a family anywhere, so I feel very grateful for that.

3.  I'm grateful for my daughter's physical abilities. She does have autism, so her mental capabilities are delayed, probably always will be. She's 12 and still likes to watch Nick Jr. and preschool shows sometimes. But when I see some of the kiddos at my school that will forever be wheelchair bound and probably not live a long life due to their illnesses, it makes me grateful she can walk, talk and run. Watching the joy in her as she ran from house to house tonight to get candy while she trick-or-treated was as much fun for me as it was for her.

4.  I'm grateful for my oldest daughter. She's grown into a fine young lady and I'm proud of everything she's accomplished. She made the cheerleading squad her freshman year when tons of girls tried out and only the best eleven made it. Then she moved up to varsity which she's on a squad of 27 this year. Being a junior on the squad, she's become a leader being at functions and working when she's not required to be there because it helps the squad. She's learned to work hard at everything she does. She missed making straight A's on her report card by 1 point this first grading period and I never have to nag her about getting anything done. She is WAY self-motivated. I love that about her. She will go far in her life because she can't stand to wait till the last minute to do things.

   I tried unsuccessfully to move these pictures next to each other...still need to work on that. Obviously..... In the top pic of cheerleader daughter, she's standing in three other girls' hands that are bouncing her up and down while she 'chops'. We're the Warriors....and we chop. ;) The bottom pic you can see all the arms holding onto her one leg. This move, while cool, freaks me out just a little.

So I guess I'll post number 5 right here and if I need to post another picture, it'll be at the bottom of the post.

5.  I think I'm going to save number 5 on every list for a person that I'm grateful for. I could make lists and lists of those...I guess that would kinda be like cheating, so I'll just do one a day. So the first person in my life I'm grateful for is the one who gave me life. My mom. I know everybody's mom doesn't do the best job raising them. I married one of those people, which makes me even more grateful for her. I'm grateful that she's ingrained that family should be a priority and that you should spend time together when ever you can. She still cooks Sunday lunch for us at least twice a month and we all get together and just talk around the table. It's wonderful. We feel connected because of her because she makes us a priority. What a great role model she's been. Loving, patient, and solid. I have to say....I'm grateful for my mom. :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gratitude project warm-up

My Twitter Buddy Jennifer Lopez, yes....that really is her, posted an event on Facebook that I feel like I need to participate in. The challenge is every day for the whole month of November to post five things you are thankful or grateful for. Everyone needs to do this, especially if they're feeling down or stressed out in their lives. It would do my 17-year-old well to do this. They're so narrow minded in their teens, they usually can't see past their nose and right this minute.
So, I thought I needed to do this. Hopefully it will do two things. First, it will give me something to write about on my blog, because I don't feel like I have a whole lot of interesting things to say ALL the time.
I want to keep my followers, so I thought this might be a good thing. :) Second, it will make me think about little things to be grateful for. It's easy if you just stop and think about it for a minute.

I'm not supposed to start until November 1st, but I thought I'd start today.  Just as a know...
I'm a musician..we warm up before we perform...that's just how we roll.

So...5 things I'm grateful

1.  I'm grateful for Fall. For the beauty of the falling leaves and the cool air that has no humidity in it like our air in the summer does. The colors around here are gorgeous. 

2.  I'm grateful for my daughter's sense of humor. She has autism, so things that she says usually strike us as funny because she's so literal. She likes to make jokes and even memorized some jokes out of a joke book when she was in 5th grade and did a stand up routine. I couldn't believe she did it, but she did and she was funny. Everybody loved it and laughed a lot. I felt kinda bad for the typical kid that came out a few acts later. He wasn't very funny at all and when it was over, everybody congratulated Cassidy on what a good job she did. She would say, "Yeah...I know," when they'd compliment her.

3.  I know this is probably not something I should be grateful for, but I'm grateful for chocolate.

I'm just being honest here. I'm sitting at my laptop with a pile of about 5 mini Hershey bar wrappers next to it.  Yes. I ate them all. Publix was having buy 1 get 1 free sale on some of their bags of candy for Halloween. Of course, I grabbed it with the pretense I would take it to school, but as long as it's in my house....why not have a few....I bought two bags....;)

4.  I'm grateful for my cat, Darcy.

He's such a great cat. He's a really big cat, at only a year and a half old, he's about 3 feet long when he stretches all the way out. This is the cat that fetches hair ties and wants me to snuggle him on my shoulder when I get home from school. He loves getting inside anything he thinks he can fit into. He's laying on the other side of my laptop right now because it's warm, but also because he likes to be where I am. He's smart too. He knows who feeds him. ;).

He's brought me and my family a lot of joy after we lost our cat of 17 years, Dagney
It took me over a year before I consented to get another family cat. Losing her was so hard on all of us, I didn't want to get so attached to another animal, but I decided that all the years that he would be happy in our family would be worth it when we finally have to say goodbye to him.

5.  And last for today...I'm grateful for my friend Jennifer, who decided to post this on her Facebook wall. She's been a great writer friend and is full of funny things to say. She's also a very talented writer. I've had the privilege of reading some of her short stories and she does a great job. Her blog is Jello World. You need to go check her out if you haven't before. 

Make sure to be grateful for something every day. You don't want to waste the short time we have on this earth being angry or having a bad attitude about things.You've got to make the best of every day....or try to at least. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weather Geek

Ok..I have to admit something. I didn't realize when I started to blog that this would become the 'true confessions' of Suzanne Payne. Well, there's something about myself that I think might be a little weird.
I'm a total weather geek.
I said it.
I think I have a problem.
How many of you WANT to watch the radar when there are severe thunderstorms coming across your state? *I'm raising my hand*
How many of you WANT to chase a real tornado? *raising hand again*
How many of you actually get secretly excited when the Weather Channel puts your area in a 'severe weather threat' red zone? *me again.*
What in the hell is wrong with me??
Am I not smart enough to be scared? I think if it came right down to it, and a tornado was bearing down on me...I think I'd be scared, but if it's not coming right at me...yeah..I want to watch it.. take pictures or video of it and stare at it's crazy, magnificent power. What is that anyway, a death wish?
Murfreesboro, TN April 10, 2009 The 'Good Friday' Tornado

The tornado in this picture is the one that chased my best friend into her house, and took out two of our teachers' houses at school and  our assistant principal's house too. I'd never known so many people effected by one tornado before. It stayed on the ground a long time and destroyed a lot of houses and businesses. It was an EF-4.

I've had more than one close encounter with tornadoes. The city that I live in has had more than one direct hit from tornadoes since I've lived here in 1984, when I started college here. I looked it up and I was surprised to find that 4 of the top 10 most costly tornadoes have been since  we've lived in our house. So I'm not just paranoid.
We've had direct hits in 1997, 2001,2002,2003, 2009, 2010 and just had another one in May of this year. I'm glad I'm not going crazy...I was beginning to wonder.
TN has  been moved into a secondary tornado alley, so to speak. It'll get really warm here and then a cold front will sweep in out of Canada and WHAM! Tornadoes, hail and thunderstorms.

Started out warm and sunny...partly cloudy...low humidity, light breeze...sheer perfection as far as weather goes. Then during the day, clouds get darker, wind picks up and by the time we're out of school, we've got hail the size of golf-balls breaking my daughter's driver's side mirror on her SUV...really??? I had to drive straight through it, but lucky me, I missed the hail core.