Back To School With The Hodgepodge…

Summer is officially over, and it’s back to school time everywhere.  I’ve been on a bit of a ‘blog break’, but now it’s time to get back to business!  What better way to do it than with another edition of ‘The Hodgepodge’?!  Thanks to Joyce for hosting.

Here are today’s questions, along with my answers:

1. What’s something you wanted to do this summer that you never got around to actually doing?

Right off the top of my head, I really can’t think of anything.  I guess that’s a good thing, huh?

2. Share a favorite memory of your own back -to-school days as a child.

I remember looking forward to getting a few new clothes, a new pair of shoes, and some new school supplies each new school year, but I also remember dreading the start of every new school year.  I didn’t adapt to change very easily (still don’t), so I worried about having a new teacher and having to make new friends.

3. What’s one chore or daily task you prefer doing ‘old-school’ ?

Cleaning the kitchen and bathroom floors. I like to sit down on the floor, with a bucket of cleaning solution and a cloth, so I can reach all the nooks and crannies!  I’m going to hate it when I can no longer do this, one day…

4. Share something you’ve learned in life through the ‘school of hard knocks’.

Life isn’t always fair.  Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and the good guy doesn’t always win.

5. As a child, did you mostly bring or buy your lunch for school? What was your favorite thing to find in your lunchbox?

I ate in the school cafeteria until I became a teenager, with the exception of the fourth grade when we lived across the street from the school.  I went home for lunch that year.  Once I became a teen, I’d either pack my own lunch or sometimes go without eating until after school.  My favorite thing in the lunch box was iced tea–because I hated drinking milk!  Actually, I don’t even remember having a lunch box.  I think I used a brown paper bag and a thermos most of the time.

6. Football season is upon us which has me wondering… how big of a sports fan are you (not just football) ? On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being ‘I scream at the players through my television screen’ and 1 being ‘is knitting a sport?’ where do you fall in fandom?

I don’t care much for sports (of any kind), so I’d have to say I’m about a 2.

7. Share a favorite quote you think might inspire students of all ages at the start of a new school year.

I found this one, and liked it:

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 Random:

I celebrated a milestone birthday, this past weekend, when I turned 60.  My family went ‘all out’ to make sure I had a good and memorable birthday, and I did!  My birthday celebration lasted for two days!  It included a dozen roses, gifts, lots of good food, family, and even some time spent under my favorite oak tree at St. Simon’s Island, so you know I was happy!  Here are a couple of photos from the weekend:

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Three generations under the oak tree at SSI

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The pink sign behind me says, “Life’s a beach at 60”  Ha!  I guess I’m about to find out!

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Published in: on September 3, 2014 at 8:03 am  Comments (7)  
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Meandering Through Another Monday…

Here I sit, at 6:30 in the morning, blogging! Ten years ago, if anyone would have told me I’d be doing this, I’d have said, “You’re crazy!” Who even knew what a blog was, ten years ago? Did blogs even exist back then? They didn’t as far as I was concerned! I barely knew how to turn the computer on and off, but I sure knew how to shop on eBay! 🙂

As expected, Ed and I spent a rainy weekend indoors. We did a little shopping, and two of our three children came over for visits, along with their families. Saturday evening found us all gathered around the kitchen table, each with their own plate of take-out food! Needless to say, not much cooking went on in my kitchen over the weekend! People came and went, and it continued to rain. By Sunday, our yard looked like this–again…

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Lake Gooseneck?

Ed’s been doing pretty good with the shingles. He hasn’t had any pain, so far, just intermittent itching. Ed is now second guessing the doctor’s diagnosis and wondering if he actually has the shingles at all. The rash is still present, on one side of his back, but now Ed wonders if he may have picked up “something” from the ground while he was laying under the house installing the tv antenna or later when he was working on the lawnmower. He may get a second opinion today. In the meantime, he continues to take his anti-viral medication. Ed doesn’t make a good patient, and he grumbles with each pill he has to take!  As far as we know, his cataract surgery is “still on” for this Thursday.  Hey, who wouldn’t want to have their eye cut on while they’re miserable with an itchy back?!

Somehow, in between rain showers, Ed managed to plant a few seeds in our container garden.  It gave him a good excuse to get out of the house!  He planted some squash, cucumbers, and carrots, and I already have a few lettuce and cabbage plants started in trays. This is not what we had planned for our fall garden, but it will have to do. Our large, regular garden plot is currently still underwater!

I’m friends with some of my former first-grade students on Facebook.  By now, some have graduated from high school, while others are currently juniors or seniors.  I’ve enjoyed watching them grow up, and keeping up with them through the magic of Facebook.  One particular student has soared some-what above the rest. She’s a lovely young lady, who comes from a wonderful family. (Her mom is a former co-worker of mine.)  She’s won numerous scholastic awards, is an honor student and a pageant queen.  However, she’s not pretentious, she’s actually very sweet and kind of shy.  This weekend, she also became the mom to a beautiful baby boy.  My heart aches a bit for her, as I’m sure this is not quite how she planned to begin her “senior year” of high school.  I’ll be praying for her and her family, as they welcome the new baby home, and navigate the new challenges which lie ahead of them all.

Speaking of school, I mentioned, on Friday, that our granddaughter, Madison, was about to begin her first year of home-school.  Friday was Madison’s actual first day.  This year’s lessons are being taught by a teacher via dvd’s.  Madison’s school day begins at 8:30 and is over around 1:00.  Madison reports that she had a good first day of school, and she rushed over to show, “E” and me, her cursive “e”!  I’m so pleased that she’s learning to write in cursive, since our public schools no longer feel the need teach this!

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As usual, I’m, also, joining the “Monday Quiz”.  Here are today’s questions:

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1. Apparently today is International Homeless Animal Day.  Have you ever adopted an animal friend for your household?
Oh my goodness, yes!  Over the years, (one year in particular!) we’ve adopted countless cats, dogs, rabbits, parakeets, hamsters, hermit crabs, and fish.  I’m an animal-lover, who spent a year volunteering at our local animal shelter.  Need I say more???

2. How do you adjust to changes in your daily routine?
I don’t usually adjust to changes in my daily routine very well.  I’m a creature of habit, so when life throws changes my way, I usually end up dealing with a headache or a stomachache, in addition to the change!

3. Which social media platform do you like best?  Which one do you like least?
I like Facebook the best, Twitter the least.  Speaking of Twitter, I’ll be glad when the ‘craze’ passes!  Is anyone else annoyed by those annoying tweets being posted while you’re trying to watch a television show?  Who cares what other people are thinking?!

4. How do you decide, ‘what’s for dinner?’
I take inventory of the freezer, refrigerator, and pantry, and see what items  need to used first, or if I’m not feeling energetic, I’ll choose whatever meal is easiest.
 
My question for you:
 
Do the schools in your area still teach cursive writing?  If not, how do you feel about it?
 
Thanks to Heather @ Acting Balanced for hosting this fun meme.  Have a great Monday, everyone!

Published in: on August 19, 2013 at 9:08 am  Comments (5)  
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Just Me On Monday…

Acting Balanced

I’ve been MIA after taking a few days off for some rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation,  but I’m back now to begin the week  anew.  Wow, the last four days sure went by in a hurry, but of course the good days always do, don’t they?

Ed and I  had reservations for a weekend beach get-away, this past weekend, but after several days of dealing with being sick and trying to gain some  perspective on life, I just couldn’t find the energy or enthusiasm to pack and make arrangements for a trip.  After much thought, we decided it was much less of a headache to just stay at home and relax.  However…

We took another day trip back to St. Simon’s Island on Friday, and we both agreed it was one of our best ones yet.  This was our third “day trip” this summer, and we’ve got the routine down pat now.  We began our day early, by throwing two umbrellas, two chairs, a cooler, and a beach bag into the car.  We spent the day just enjoying our surroundings and each other’s company.  It was  definitely a day to remember.

The rest of our long weekend was spent just doing things that needed to be done.  Some shopping, a little cleaning, and a lot of relaxing…We’d planned to take a second day trip to the beach over the course of our long weekend, but found ourselves just too tired, and decided to post-pone!

Now  that the weekend is history, what better way to begin a new week, than with a little Monday meme?  This fun meme is hosted by Heather from Acting Balanced.

1. What are your favorite pizza toppings?
Pepperoni is my favorite, but I love all pizza toppings except peppers.
 
2. What is the strangest name you’ve ever heard for a child?
I worked in education for fifteen years, and believe me, I’ve heard some strange names!   One of our most memorable students was named “Sharkeena”.  She was memorable not only because of her name, but also because her mother once sent me an ugly and”threatening” note because I refused to give “her child” a sticker for returning her report card. Sharkeena’s report card was a mess (all chewed up) when she finally brought it back so I chose to withhold the sticker I’m normally  a quiet and passive person, but this particular note hit me the wrong way!  It just so happened, after school that day, I ran into Sharkeena in the dollar store.  I asked Sharkeena to take me to her mother, who was waiting in her car.  Then I went out and confronted the mother about that nasty note!  Sharkeena’s mother is known for being “crazy”, and weighs well-over 250 pounds, but I was a woman on a mission!  Thankfully, nothing bad happened, and I felt better after confronting her.
 
3. What is the best vacation you’ve ever gone on?
My favorite trip was when Ed and I accompanied our youngest son, Brad, and his teacher, to Nashville, Tennessee, for a National FBLA competition.  While there, we stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, went to see the Grand Ole’ Opry, went to Memphis to see “Graceland”, went to the “Country Music Hall of Fame, visited the Ryman Auditorium, and took a tour of several country music star’s homes–including Alan Jackson’s.
 
4. What is your favorite quick summer meal?
Hamburgers or hot dogs cooked by Ed on the grill.
Here’s my question for you:
 
When, where, and how did your husband propose to you?
Ed proposed to me in his car, while sitting in front of my parents’ house, on the evening of August 15, 1970.  We’d picked out, and purchased the ring earlier in the day, so he quietly pulled the box out of his pocket, and said “I guess you’ll marry me?”  I remember it as if it were yesterday.  By the way, those are our wedding rings on my blog button…
Published in: on July 23, 2012 at 10:31 am  Comments (8)  
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Memorable Back-To-School Moments…

The back-to-school departments of our local stores have been ransacked.  It’s quiet and peaceful to shop around town once again.  These things signal only one thing–school is back in session! 

In honor of this time of year, this post will contain some memories forever engrained in my brain…from my fourteen years of being a school employee during back-to-school time.

Pre-planningThose first crazy days of coming back to work after having a leisurely summer!  We used to have five days of pre-planning–and spent at least three of them sitting in meetings!  Due to budget cuts, teachers now get only two or three days of pre-planning.  Which leaves very little time to plan!  The classrooms are in disarray from their summer cleaning, supplies have to be put away, bulletin boards and walls need to decorated, classroom lists made, etc…and the teachers sit in endless meetings!  Which means…we all end up working after hours–for no pay.

Fist day of schoolOh my word!  So many crying children.  Children dropped off,  who don’t have a clue how they are getting home at the end of the day.  The relentless heat of August in the south.  Keeping twenty-plus small children interested, and participating in class.  And explaining rules, rules, and more rules.

School suppliesWhat to do with all of those supplies that parents have packed in their children’s book bags???  Where do you store 20-plus boxes of kleenex?  How about 20-plus boxes of zip lock bags?  Why does little Johnny have 54 pencils and a box of 64 crayons in his book bag?  Liquid glue?  Oh no, liquid glue is a disaster waiting to happen!

The lunchroom…Oh my!  The smell of that lunchroom food…It’s not always a good thing!  The noise level!  You can’t even imagine…  Waiting in line forever while each child punches in their “lunch number” into the computer–when some children haven’t even learned what a number is yet!  It takes so long to go through the line, there’s no time left to eat!  Put those trays up, finished or not!  Wait, little Susie just dropped her entire tray in the floor…No!  Tell me little Johnny isn’t throwing up in his tray!!!  Yes, he did.  Once little Johnny even threw up in the substitute teacher’s lap!  Sometimes little Johnny makes it just outside the lunchroom door before he loses his lunch in the school lobby–on the carpet.

The playgroundIt’s 110 degrees outside in the shade.  Which means every little boy and girl coming back in from the playground will smell exactly like Fido’s butt!  Really, is there anything more smelly than a hot, sweaty child?  I think not!  Try spending the rest of the day closed up in a classroom with twenty-plus smelly children!

Then of course,  somebody eventually ends up getting hurt, despite everyone’s best efforts to keep it from happening.  Little Suzie  quietly sitting on the Eagles Nest, when little Johnny falls on her from above, and breaks her leg!… then Johnny trips while walking in line–on his untied shoelace–and falls, suffering a concussion from the fall.  Yes, it happens.

Sick children…How do you determine who is sick and who is just sick of school?  So many headaches or tummy aches, especially the first few weeks of school.  A fever or throwing up is a certain ticket home–if the nurse can find a parent willing to come and pick the child up.  It’s amazing how many people do not have transportation to pick up their sick children!  Really?

Irate parentsNever mind that little Susie wasn’t paying attention to the lesson because she was playing with her headband.  How dare I take your child’s headband away from her?  Never mind that your child’s report card looked like the dog ate it when she returned it–I didn’t give her a sticker for bringing it back!  How dare I “diss” your child!  Yes, sadly, these are the types of issues which seem important to some parents.

School pictures…Nothing like 50 plus kids, waiting in line to get a photo made.  Trying to comb each head of hair–with a new comb–then throwing all of those combs away in an effort to prevent the spread head lice!  Fixing this one’s belt or that one’s sash, straighten those shirt collars…No recess or snack until after pictures!  Sorry kids, the photographer is running behind.  So much effort goes into those crazy school pictures, even if the end result doesn’t always show it!

Wow, I’m getting tired just remembering!  That’s not all, only the beginning, but I’m going to stop.  All of these things actually happen–year after year–and more!  Things never change.  Only the faces do.  Some years may be better than others, while some years may be worse, but for the most part, they are the same.

Best wishes to anyone who’s experiencing a new school year–as a student,  parent, or a school employee…and kudos to all of the dedicated people who put their hearts and souls into educating and taking care of our children.  There must be a special place in heaven for people like you!

Published in: on August 18, 2011 at 8:31 am  Comments (7)  
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More About Those School Days…

While Brandy’s first years of school were up and down, both of my boys had quite the opposite experience.  Neither boy was shy, they always had great teachers, and excelled scholastically.

Brad was reading quite well in kindergarten.  I really don’t know how he picked it up so fast and easy, it was like he always knew how to read.  Brad was given the gifted test in first grade and passed.  Brett scored 100% on his math and reading CRCT in the first grade, but failed to pass the “gifted” test.  When he scored 100% on the ITBS in the 2nd  grade, he was automatically placed in the gifted class.    

When Brad got to the second grade the school day consisted of a lot of “center time” which is another word for “play time”.  I compared his school work with the work that his older brother did in the second grade, and I wasn’t happy.  I knew that he shoud be doing more work, less play.   

In the  meantime, Brett, the older son, was doing great in his classes, but I was getting concerned about his social life.  It seems that 1982 must’ve been the year more girls were born than boys.  There just were not that many boys in that grade, and the ones that Brett liked to  hang around with, were not my friends of choice for him.

Brandy was in the eighth grade and would be going to the high school the following year.  Our county had just consolidated and built one large high school in the middle of the county that year.  There was some rivalry going on between the students from different towns, plus the high school was much larger than what we were used to in the past.  I just wasn’t sure how Brandy would fare in a larger school, with larger classes.

All of these factors played a part in our family’s decision to move our children out of the public school system and into a private christian school.  I can honestly say, that was one of the toughest decisions that we’ve ever had to make, but when we weighed our options, it seemed like the best thing to do for our children.  It was a sacrifice, to say the least.  It required almost my entire salary to pay monthly tuition/bus fee for three children.  Looking back, I know that we did the best thing for Brandy, and probably for Brett, too.  He would’ve done fine academically, anywhere, but he would’ve never had the experience of playing basketball on a team that was runner-up for the State Championship in our public high school–he did at PCA. 

Brandy's class her first year at PCA(she's marked with a sticker)

Brandy's class her first year at PCA(she's marked with a sticker)

We transferred the children for the 93/94 school year.  Brandy was in the 9th grade, Brett was in the 6th grade, and Brad was in the 3rd grade.  It was a whole new world for them.  I know that it was toughest for Brandy.  High school is tough for anyone, but to leave behind everyone that you know makes it ten times worse.  Brandy became friends with a couple of other new girls, but they moved after that first year.  She was devastated.  She and her long-time boyfriend, also broke up that year.  Tenth grade was awful, she cried off and on most of the year.  Finally, by the eleventh grade, things were looking up and the last two years were a whole lot better than the first two!  All’s well that ends well???  I know that we did the right thing for Brandy, educationally, even though it was tough emotionally.

The thing about private schools is they eat, sleep, and breathe sports…Brandy doesn’t have an athletic bone in her body, so sports didn’t interest her.  Brett only liked basketball, but he worked hard and eventually excelled at it.  Brad was sort of like Brandy, but he did try basketball a little while, but lost interest.  One out of  our three liked sports–but only one sport!  We became a traveling, basketball-watching  family.  The games were held all over the state of Georgia!

Brett's class the first year at PCA (he's marked with a sticker)

Brett's class the first year at PCA (he's marked with a sticker)

Brandy and Brett graduated from private school.  After they graduated, Brad just wasn’t  happy anymore.  He begged to transfer to the public high school in the ninth grade.  We refused.  It was a rough year, he wasn’t happy and didn’t apply himself.  Finally, we made another tough decision to let him transfer to public school for the tenth grade.

Brad's class the first year at PCA (he's marked with a sticker)

Brad's class the first year at PCA (he's marked with a sticker)

We were very unsure of our decision, but it turned out to be the best decision that we could make for Brad.  He got reinstated in the gifted/galaxy program.  Because of that, he was eligible for an internship– take classes part of the day/work in a local bank part of the day.  He did that for over 2 years, and retained his job at the bank after high school.  He also was eligible to take a college english course in high school to “jump start” his college education.  None of those opportunities were available at the private school. 

I’m very proud of all three of my children and of the education that they have received.  Both boys were honor graduates.  All three children,  qualified for our state’s HOPE scholarship(B or better) for college upon graduation from high school.  Brett received a full scholarship for his first year of college.  Both boys earned college degrees.  Brad earned his 4 year accounting degree while holding down a full-time job.  Brandy attended college for a while, but decided that college wasn’t for her.  She’s had several interesting jobs in hospital-related work,  but is currently working at her most challenging job yet,  being a stay-at-home mom.

Published in: on September 23, 2009 at 9:59 am  Comments (2)  
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I Don’t Want To Go To School….

Brandy's first day of preschool in'82

Brandy's first day of preschool in'82

After the birth of my second child, I decided to enroll our daughter, Brandy, in a half day preschool program.  I based the decision to do this on the fact that Brandy had no playmates and school was a good place to find some.  I was also looking forward to having three hours a day to spend alone with the new baby.  It’s not always easy to divide yourself into two different directions…

Brandy started to school and it was the best thing that we ever did for her.    She learned a lot that year and seemed to enjoy herself.  Since she  missed the cutoff date for kindergarten enrollment the following year, we re-enrolled her for preschool with the same teacher.

The second year of school progressed fine until the last six weeks of school, when something happened at church that ultimately affected Brandy at school.

The children of the church were putting on a program for the church.  Brandy had a little part in the program.  She messed up on her part.  I think she walked the wrong way or something like that.  The church laughed as people sometimes do.  Brandy got embarrassed and cried on stage.  It was after that experience that things went downhill…

We had no idea that the church program had affected Brandy so deeply and thought nothing of it.  The following Monday Brandy began to cry and tell us that she didn’t want to go to school.  She couldn’t give us a reason why.  She’d always enjoyed school before.  At first we thought that she just didn’t feel well.

The next day was the same scenario, and the next.  Neither the teacher nor I had any idea what the problem was.  The situation grew worse.  Brandy would start crying in the evenings as the sun would start to set.  She would start worrying about having to go to school the next day, crying, and saying “I don’t want to go to school.”    Sometimes she made herself so upset that she would throw up.  I was a very worried and frustrated mom.  Many times I took Brandy to school, walked her to the door, left her crying,  and went back to the car and cried myself.  Eventually, during this awful time, my husband and I put two and two together and decided that the embarrassing experience at the church had affected Brandy deeply  and made her want to retreat and stay home– in her “safe place”.  Nothing helped, we talked with her daily, and sometimes I lost my patience.  Eventually school got out for the summer and that solved the problem.  I’ve never been so glad to see summer in my life!

My husband and I spent the whole summer worrying about school in the fall, but by then, whatever Brandy had been going through was over–Praise the Lord!  She had a fabulous kindergarten year…except for P.E., but that’s a story for another time!

Published in: on July 17, 2009 at 4:33 am  Comments (2)  
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