Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Final Fling

I haven't posted for nearly a week because Hubster and I have been having a final fling before I head back to another year of school and he gets even busier finishing up the book he's writing. According to him, the research phase is pretty much finished and now he'll be locking himself up in the bunker (our word for the finished basement which has about 2,000 books - nearly all history books - files, a computer, and a television) and writing for the next two to three months.

In the meantime I'll be herding seventh graders.

Since he had a speaking engagement in one of my favorite places, Washington, Georgia, which included a stay in a very cool bed and breakfast, I tagged along. For most folks, wandering around looking at old buildings, historical sites, and the occasional visit to a museum isn't the height of fun, but for us, it's just about perfect.

We had a delightful time. If you like antebellum buildings, you simply must go to Washington, Georgia. It isn't too far from Atlanta, and is just a bit south of Athens (which is important if you are a Georgia Dawgs fan). It's a delightful town, with wonderful B&B's, museums, and a great walking tour. We are definitely going back.

This is Wisteria Hall, the B&B we stayed at. It is delightful. Parts of the original house date to 1795, and it has had a lot of interesting owners over the years. The rooms are lovely, the beds comfy, and the owners a delight. Stay there.

We also dropped by the Chickamauga Battlefield in Chattanooga, and went to the top of Lookout Mountain since it's been years since we've done that. Unfortunately, we'd just come through a pretty nasty thunderstorm, so the sky isn't clear and you can see the humidity in the air. Still, an amazing view.
Here's another shot from the top of Lookout Mountain. I only wish the weather had been better but these pictures do show some great clouds!

All in all, it was a lot of fun. Now summer is pretty much over for me...I'm back in my room getting it ready, and we start next week. It's been fun.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I got out the canner. Then the jars, the lids, and the bands. Washed them all and put the jars, bands, and lids in simmering water.

Gathered heaps of fresh Roma tomatoes from my garden (not bad for only two Roma plants), fresh basil (also from the garden), onion, and garlic. Chopped, mixed, stirred, and simmered.

The house smelled like an Italian restaurant.

The result? Seven delightful pints of my homemade marinara sauce. Yum!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Time to get out the canning equipment, I do believe.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hey, Honey, I'm home!

I arrived home in My Beloved South on Saturday afternoon after a very pleasant drive from up North where I'd been teaching summer camp, visiting with friends, and drinking way too much beer. I had a blast. How many people get to have a paid vacation? Essentially I head up to the rural community I used to live in, check out what's going on, have reunions with friends, work a bit and get paid for it. Amazing.

Some highlights....

As always, staying with two of my best friends and their kids. And all the neighbor kids. Kids ranging in age from 16 to 3. To say that it is nearly always chaos is to put it mildly. It truly does make me appreciate my quiet little house with my, mostly, quiet little cats. However, it's a lot of fun. The kids are wonderful, and it's always fun with "Aunt Bluebird" arrives for the summer. Every year Mrs. Cardinal threatens to come home with me so she can have some peace and quiet.

Hanging out with Mrs. Cardinal at the pond at the end of the street. Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal live in a rural town of maybe 150 houses. It's really a village. And at the end of their street is a huge pond with a beach, a diving platform, slide, and all sorts of fun things. The people that own the pond pretty much let all the folks in the neighborhood use it, so we would go down there in the evening and hang out while the kids swam and chat and enjoy the evening. And drink beer.

Hanging out at the town tavern with the Cardinals. Drinking beer. Good thing it's a five minute walk from the house. I gained five pounds and I think most of it was beer. I drank more beer in two weeks than I drink the rest of the year all put together.

Going to Junior Cardinal's baseball tournament games which they won. There is nothing like watching a ballgame in a cute little town park in the Midwest in July. Amazingly enough the weather was absolutely perfect. We went to four games and every one was exciting.

Having some great third and fourth graders at camp that were adorable, and a lot of fun, but made me appreciate my 7th graders even more. I ended up teaching the children of some of my former co-workers and that was a lot of fun. I did three classes - Pioneers, All About Water, and Cotton and Plants. We had a ball. It was fun seeing all the other teachers that I see there every year. And getting all the cool gently used supplies (paper, pencils, crayons, markers, etc.) that they can't store over the winter until next year. My kids will reap the benefits.

The reunion of all the girls I went to college with up here. We graduated in 2001 and some are still not working in teaching and are hoping that someday, somehow, some of these teachers will start retiring so they can get a job. It's sad. It's also why we moved and I ended up in My Beloved South. We usually do this at a restaurant but this year opted for a cookout at Mrs. Cardinal's house so everyone can bring their kids and they could run around and play in the yard. It was a brilliant idea.

I went to a wedding of the daughter of two of my best friends. It was gorgeous. The reception was very Ohio State Buckeyes. So Buckeye in fact, that the guests were given little boxes with Buckeye candies in them, along with scarlett and gray M&M's. (The bride and groom met at OSU). For those of you who don't know what a buckeye candy is, it's a ball of peanut butter dipped in chocolate and looks like a real buckeye. Which is a nut off a tree. (I didn't know that either when I moved there years ago).

Eating Mr. Cardinal's cooking. We've often teased him that he should have his own cooking show, most of which is done on a grill and a fryer in the garage. We're talking huge steaks, fried potatoes, sweet corn, beer can chicken, and awesome burgers. No wonder I gained weight.

Sweet corn. Enough said.

Still and all, it was good to be home. I missed Mr. Bluebird. I missed the cats. I missed going to the gym. Mr. Bluebird managed to not kill any plants this year (due to very explicit emails that said, "water the plants today") but he neglected to do a few things.

Like mow the yard.

Sigh. I drove up and there were weeds about a foot tall in some places. I could have baled hay if I wanted to. So, one of the first things I did that Saturday evening was to mow it all because I couldn't stand it. He didn't realize it was that bad. That's what I get for marrying someone who acts more like the absent-minded professor than I'd like. He also didn't do laundry (I'm surprised he still had underwear) and didn't take any of the recyclables down to the garage.

On the plus side, the cats were well fed and happy and Morgan kitty had her medicine every day. Mr. Bluebird didn't starve to death. The mail was nicely stacked on the kitchen table.

It's good to be home.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Heading Out...

Tomorrow I head up North to do my two weeks of summer camp. This is my ninth year at this camp which is a day camp for gifted children. Instead of teaching a bunch of jaded seventh graders, I will be spending two weeks teaching gifted second and third graders.

To say that this is always a huge change is a bit of an understatement.

However, it's always a fun two weeks. I stay with my best friend and her family (four kids, aged from 3 to 17) which is always an experience because her kids grow so darn fast. We'll have a reunion of all of us that went to school together (including the few who still haven't been able to find teaching jobs up North even though we've been out of school since 2001). I'm also going to the wedding of the daughter of another good friend so I'll see a bunch of my teaching friends from when I worked up there as a permanent sub.

However, I'll be homesick. I always miss my kitties and Mr. Bluebird a lot when I'm gone. I've left him an extensive list of things that need to be done - things that I usually do that he has no clue about. Hopefully I won't come home and find all my plants dead and weeds everywhere. I know the kitties will be okay because he spoils them as much as I do.

So, I doubt I'll be updating this until I get back, since I have to share the computer with a couple of teenagers. In the meantime, be good, have fun, and hopefully I'll have some fun stories when I return.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Carnival Time!

It's time for the Education Carnival! Check it out!!!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Where's Draco Malfoy when you need him?

"Are you going to be around next week?" Mrs. Eagle asked me last week while we were out shopping for really, really good shoes.

"I should be. I don't leave for summer camp until after the Fourth. Why?" I asked.

"Well, grandma is coming to visit and I need a place to keep Keiko while she's here. Would you mind snake-sitting?"

You really never know what kind of things Mrs. Eagle is going to say some days.

Keiko is Mrs. Eagle's ball python. She usually lives in her classroom, but The Principal is very adamant that we take all pets (especially snakes) home over the summer. However, Mrs. Eagle's grandma is absolutely terrified of snakes so Keiko needed a place to hang out for a week or so.

"Don't think it would be a problem," I said. "I don't think Mr. Bluebird would even notice she's here." I did, by the way, tell him we'd be snake-sitting. His comment? "Really?"

So, yesterday, Mrs. Eagle and I dropped by the school to drop off a file cabinet I no longer needed at home (and could use in my room), and then we continued on to her house so I could take Keiko home with me.

Keiko is now in my guest room, on a desk, along with her heat lamp. She hasn't budged from under her rock, which is pretty much what she does most of the time anyway. Mrs. Eagle informed me that she's probably shedding right now so she won't be very active.

I'll say.

Duke the cat was very curious about what this thing was that I brought into the house so after a few minutes of looking through the glass, he decided that was boring and took off to get into trouble somewhere else. I am, however, keeping the door shut so that he won't do something dreadful, like knock the aquarium over at three am.

I think we'll just let Keiko molt under her rock in peace.