Saturday, February 28, 2009


So I finally decided to start my own Facebook page. I was always using Alex's and he was tired of that (I don't blame him) and took the plunge a few weeks ago.

I added pictures, and then began the "search" for people I might know. I decided that I was NOT going to add people, just to add them and try to hit 1000 friends or anything like that. In fact, most of my "friends" are relatives. There are a few who are not, but they are people I enjoy talking to.

One of the more interesting friends I have is a guy I was in band with back in high school. He played saxophone and is a year younger than me. He used to have all this thick, dark hair and now has....none. I'm thinking that he might be hair follicle challenged and just shaves his head because it's easier for him. Not only does he look different, he uses a different first name now. I knew him by Julian and now he goes by David. However, I knew it was him from the smile. I sent him a message asking if he was who I thought he was, and he said that it was indeed him. He told me that Julian was the name he always went by in high school, but that was his middle name. David is his first name.

I sort of had him pegged as a possible band director, as he was really into music. I lost track of him after I graduated. I found out he went to college and got a degree in business administration and later on a masters in finance.

He's the CEO of a fabulous organization and has traveled all over the world. There are pictures on his Facebook page of him in Thailand, Spain, Monte Carlo, Cancun, and even a few places in the US. He enjoys the finer things in life, like Opera and gourmet cooking. He lives in Chicago and is obviously pretty well off financially. He told me that he has 7 great nieces and nephews and he has offered to pay for college for ALL OF THEM. So far several have graduated from high school, but only one has taken him off on his offer. One of his great nephews is a high school senior and is coming to visit him for spring break. He plans on trying to talk him into going to college.

What an opportunity!!

I know the numbers we're looking at for Alex for the next four years and YIKES it's a lot of money! If someone offered him four years of college we'd all jump on it!

Anyway, I told Julian that I could not call him David and that he'd always be Julian to me. He told me that was fine, and that his old friends and his family still call him that. He only uses David professionally. It was great to get back in touch with him, and I'm absolutely thrilled that he's so happy in his life right now.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Teachers Are Human

I tend to be an emotional person at times, especially when it comes to tears. It's been worse for the last few years.

Certain movies (The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, The Lion King, etc.) all make me cry. It gets old after a while and I really try to not do it, but it just HAPPENS.

This morning I was doing a literature lesson with a group of second graders. I had to introduce a book to them, read it aloud and discuss it, read it aloud again, then do an activity related to the book.

There are many different adaptations of the book The Velveteen Rabbit, and the one that I used today came with the reading program I'm using.

In the version I read to my group today, a little boy receives a stuffed rabbit as a gift and it becomes his constant companion. The little boy left it outside one evening and during the night, went out to retrieve it. He dried it off and slept with it as usual. Several months later, the little boy got sick and he had a dream that the rabbit would become real. At the end of the book, he took the rabbit into the woods and left it so that it could become real and be friends with other real rabbits.

As I read about the little boy placing his beloved rabbit in the woods, then turning to leave, and trying to be so brave as his rabbit became real... I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes and my voice was quivering. That's when I warned the kids that things like this make me cry. I got a tissue in case the tears spilled over. When I turned the page and read that the little boy would occasionally return to the woods to see his rabbit, that pretty much did me in.

I had a group of four girls and one boy, and none of them cried.

When I finished the book, I told the children that I cry at movies and books (don't EVEN let me get started on Nicholas Sparks' books) but I was fine. I didn't want to scare them. Then I sort of laughed it off as we began to discuss the story. After that, I needed to read it aloud for them again. I told them that this time I might be able to get through it okay.

Hahaha...not quite. Although it wasn't as bad the second time through, there were still tears.

I think that it's good for children to see that their teachers (and other adults in their lives) have emotions. We're not all so "tough" inside that we can't let our feelings show through. Although some may disagree with me, I feel that it's important for these children to see that as adults, we can be vulnerable too.

While they did the activity related to the book, one little girl said, "It's okay Mrs. *******. I cry at lots of things too." That was so sweet of her to say. I thanked her for understanding, then continued to help them with the activity.

If nothing else, it cannot be said that I DON'T follow my lesson plans (even if the lesson makes me cry)!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Old Friends

I'm really trying to become a little more adept in using things for photos on the computer. I have PhotoShop Elements, but pretty much am NOT familiar enough with it to do much of anything except crop photos and make them a little lighter.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking at the Kohl's ad that came in the mail and saw something that was almost too good to be true! It's a small scanner, just for photographs! How convenient is that?? I could just sit here and scan to my heart's content. It just so happened that I was lucky enough to peel the sticker off the front of the ad and get an additional 30% off any purchase, so I decided that I just HAD to have it.

Several days later, after the 30% offer went into effect, I ordered the scanner (as well as a few other things) and sat back and waited. I just love ordering things online. During the month of December, Ted calls our foyer the "warehouse" or "shipping and receiving central" because there are so many boxes piled up in there.

Anyway, the scanner came yesterday and I was too busy (and know how it is once Friday evening rolls around) to open it. About half an hour ago I finally took it out.

All I can say is that I can't BELIEVE it's this simple! It even came with a memory card!

Yes, I read all the directions too.

I plugged it in.

I put the memory card in the back.

I lined up an old photograph and it rolled right on through.

After the light stopped blinking (a matter of about 5 seconds) I took out the memory card.

I put it into the computer.

I uploaded the photos to a file.

I opened up PhotoShop, did an "autofix" and cropped it.

WOW! This is way too easy!

Now I can see that there's a drawback in that it only takes photos up to 4" x 6" but that's okay. I can scan larger ones with my regular scanner if need be.
Ted thought it was great and said he had a photo for me to run through. Then he insisted that I publish it here, and title the blog post "Old Friends."

This photo was taken on December 26, 1973 when our high school band here in Ohio was on our way to Houston, Texas. We'd been invited to play in the Astro Blue Bonnet Bowl (a college bowl game) in the Astrodome. Our band parents and directors made sure that it was a trip that none of us would soon forget. We all worked hard to earn enough money so that a plane could be chartered, and for many of us, it was our first plane ride. There were enough extra seats that some parents were able to go along too. Ted's mom and dad went and took this picture of him and his best friend.

Even though Ted's best friend has moved to Texas, we get to see them once in a while. He and his wife were here a year and a half ago, and plan to visit again this coming summer. We can hardly wait to see them again!

By the way, we were there from December 26 - December 30 and had a fabulous time! The Band Boosters made sure that we did some sightseeing (NASA, San Jacinto Battleground, the USS Texas battleship) in addition to practicing for our performance.

All I need to do is keep Alex from seeing this old picture of his dad...because then he'll say, "See? Dad had long hair too, and his hair was WAY longer than mine!"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just Being a Whiner

Alex is a senior in high school and is not in any way, shape, or form interested in attending a formal dance of any kind.

It breaks my heart.

He would not go to Homecoming as a freshman.

He would not go to Homecoming as a sophomore.

He would not go to Homecoming as a junior.

He would not go to Prom as a junior.

He would not go to Homecoming as a senior.

All that's left is Prom as a senior, and it's not looking good AT ALL.

He looks great when he's all dressed up, and he knows it. He just doesn't want to go. At least that's what he keeps telling me.

We have two sons. This is my last chance at being a parent whose child attends a formal. Joe had absolutely NOTHING to do with it either, but I didn't get on his case about it too much because I knew that we had Alex waiting in the wings.

The high school is doing something different as far as Prom is concerned this year, something I'm not too thrilled about, but something I have no control over. Instead of having Prom at the high school, it has been moved to a hotel ballroom about half an hour away. I'm against this for a variety of reasons, but what does it matter?


Because we have two sons, I'll never be able to go along with a daughter while she picks out a wedding dress either. At the rate Joe and Alex are going, they'll never even get married, so there won't be an opportunity to go along with a future daughter in law either.

Although one niece went through a big wedding, I wasn't involved in the dress process.

I'm still sort of holding out some hope that maybe when our other niece gets married...she just might think about asking her Aunt Cindi to go along. I promise I'll keep my mouth shut, unless I'm asked a question. Really Holly....

I promise!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


When I was a sophomore in high school, the Drama Department was putting on "The Music Man." They had asked our band director if band members could participate in the production, by marching down the aisles of the auditorium at the end, similar to how it was portrayed in the movie version.

I played trumpet in the band and thought it would be fun, so I volunteered for it. We had to play "Seventy Six Trombones" as we marched through the crowd. The audiences loved each time we did it (there were three performances). And every evening when my mom or dad picked me up, I was so excited about what we'd done that I decided right there and then that I would audition for any plays that the Drama Department put on during my junior year.

In late September of my junior year, posters went up around the high school announcing tryouts for the fall production of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown!"

I remembered how I'd felt the spring before and knew that I wanted to audition. I found out what I could about the show, which wasn't an easy task since this was WAY before the internet. I found the album at a record store and purchased it. I played it over and over and became familiar with the music from the show.

There were only six roles in the play. Charlie Brown (of course), Linus, Snoopy, Schroeder, Peppermint Patty, and Lucy. Hmmmm....only two female parts.

This was going to be quite a challenge, as the girl who was president of the drama club had decided that SHE wanted the role of Lucy. That only left Peppermint Patty. I was not Peppermint Patty material. I was Lucy, through and through. Rumor had it that this girl had already memorized the part of Lucy before tryouts!

I was up against tough competition. I knew I had to have my game on. I was auditioning for the role of Lucy.

Lucy listening to Charlie Brown and his woes

Tryouts were conducted on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, after school.

Friday morning, the cast list would be posted. I knew what I was going to do. I wanted to get into school, go to my locker, get my things situated, then go to the bulletin board across the hall from the office, and see who made the cast. I was telling myself to be strong, because the odds of me getting the part I wanted were pretty much slim to none, even though I felt that I had done pretty well during the auditions. My plan was to keep a smile on my face, and congratulate Carol, the drama club president on getting the part of Lucy. NO ONE would be able to say that I was a sore loser.

While the butterflies were churning in my stomach and I was getting my books out of my locker for my morning classes, a guy who had auditioned for the role of Charlie Brown came up to me with a smile on his face. He immediately said, "Congratulations Cindi!" I said, "What are you talking about?" He said, "You got Lucy!" I asked him if he was sure and he said that he was. Then I asked him if he got Charlie Brown. Sadly, he replied that he didn't, and told me who did. I told him I was sorry he didn't get the part, and I truly was. He would have been great to work with.

I got my things and immediately went to the bulletin board to see for myself. People were all around and there were congratulations and from many. However, Carol, was nowhere to be seen.

Linus, Snoopy, and Schroeder playing his piano for Lucy

In between a couple of classes, I ran down to the bandroom and used the phone to call home and tell my mom the news. She was very happy for me.

By the end of the day, many people had talked to me, telling me that they were glad I got the role. However, right after band, last period of the day, one of Carol's best friends said to me, "I hate to say it, but congratulations, and believe me, I hate to say it." I wasn't thrilled to hear that, but that was just the way things were going.

At our first practice the following week, I happened to mention that comment to the director (who also happened to be my English teacher). She said that after the cast list was put up, Carol immediately went to her and that my name was MUD in the conversation. I was determined that our director was not going to regret her decision to give me the part.

Charlie Brown, Patty, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, and Schroeder during a baseball game...Lucy dropped the ball.

I worked like crazy during every rehearsal, memorized my lines as soon as I possibly could, practiced singing the songs constantly, and listened to every single bit of constructive criticism given to me.

It paid off...because I was great, hahaha, even if I do say so myself!

(The pictures came from my old high school yearbook...and it took less than an hour to find it!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Burning Question

Thursday evening, as I was perusing the internet, I came across an article on msn. I read it and just shook my head. How on earth can a woman think that this is attractive??

(But that's not my burning question.)

It would take a case of polish to keep those nails painted, not to mention the amount of time involved. Who has that much extra time??

(But that's not my burning question.)

There's only so much room in a car, truck, or van. How the heck could someone drive with nails that long??

(But that's not my burning question.)

I wonder if she works...what kind of a job could you hold in which those nails didn't get in the way??

(But that's not my burning question.)

Getting rings on and off her fingers must be a challenge. I wonder if she's married or has a significant other to help her with the rings, or fastening a bracelet, earrings or necklace??

(But that's not my burning question.)

Here's my burning question (and you know that you're wondering about it too):

How in the heck did she wipe herself when she went to the bathroom??

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Flag Watch, Day 1

This morning I had some appointments, and I wasn't able to eat or drink anything before I went. Afterwards, I was sort of hungry, so I drove through McDonald's to get chocolate chip cookies. I really wanted an Egg McMuffin, but they stop serving breakfast at 10:30, and by the time I finished up with everything it was almost 11:00.

As I sat in the drive-thru lane, I happened to glance up and saw three flags flying just as you pull in. One was a McDonald's flag (gee, that's a real surprise), another one was an Ohio flag (okay, that's good), and of course the third was an American flag.

Occasionally I can be rather opinionated, and what I saw really irked me. I only wish I would have had my camera with me, but unfortunately, I didn't see a need to take it on my various appointments.

The end of the flag was all tattered and looked really bad. Then as the wind continued to blow I could see that it was ripped, along one stripe, almost all the way to the opposite end!

Now come on...surely I can't be the only person in the community who has noticed this. Why would McDonald's NOT replace this flag?? According to proper flag etiquette, the American flag should be clean and repaired when necessary. And then when a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning it in a dignified manner.

The McDonald's flag and the Ohio flag looked okay, for what it's worth. I just may give them a call and ask them what their plans are for the American flag.

Now, I suppose it's entirely possible that the damage to the flag came from all the wind we had last night (possible, but not likely). Many people around here lost power (we didn't, thank goodness), and my school district had to cancel for the day because half of the buildings were without electricity. That's another day to make up at the end of the year. Oh well, there's nothing we can do about it, so we might as well enjoy our day off.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Leisurely Morning

Yesterday morning Ted and I took a ride out to Amish country. There was a small (and I DO mean small!) meat store out there that does catering. I'd never heard of it until recently and wanted to see what they had. We're trying to plan ahead for Alex's graduation party in May.

I'm trying to get in the habit of taking my camera with me when I go places, so I made sure to grab it on our way out the door. Joe has a Saturday morning class this semester (he really doesn't like that at all, but that's the only time it's offered, so he has to just do it) and Alex was taking the ACT...again. The amount of money that his college of choice will award him is based on his ACT score, so he wanted to try to improve, just one more time.

Anyway, off we was a fairly sunny morning, and it was supposed to really warm up. It actually got up to about 53 yesterday, so a good bit of the snow has melted. Fortunately there was still snow on the ground as we were driving down all kinds of country roads.

As the sun came through the clouds, you could see the rays, and the sun was glistening off the snow in some places.

We passed by a farm that looked so pretty in the sunlight and snow.

After we went to the little store and made a few purchases, I made Ted stop so I could take a picture of this street sign in town. One of my Reading Mastery groups is reading a story about a genie named Ott. I thought that the kids would get a kick out of this. I printed this picture and will take it to school tomorrow. Ted told me to make sure that I tell the kids that he was forced to stop the car so I could get this shot, hahaha!

After leaving that little town, we headed to another small town where they have a great cheese store. We got some cheese, along with a few other things, and then I made Ted pull around to the far side of the store and saw a few interesting things.

I'm not really sure what this building is, but I liked how the stone looked. Imagine how much time and effort went into putting this building together. The buggy and horse were not there for effect...there were several Amish customers in the store while we were in there.

And then we saw this old cemetery. I thought it looked so interesting, just out there in a field, with no fence around it or anything. It was too muddy to get out and go up to get a really good look, so I have no idea if it's an Amish cemetery or an English cemetery. But regardless, I thought it was very serene, on the side of a little slope, with the snow on the ground.

After we got home, we had lunch, then went to the photography studio where Alex had his senior pictures taken. Part of the package that we ordered included graduation announcements. Alex and I went there last Tuesday to select the style and work on the design. Yesterday Ted and I went to go look at the proof. We made a few minor changes, then gave the go-ahead. They'll be ready next week sometime. We were pleased with how they came out.
So, all in all, we had a nice, leisurely time together. Since our sons are getting older, we're doing more and more things without them, so it's nice to find out that we really do still like each other!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

No Offense to the Blondes Out There

I finished up with my reading group a few minutes early. I could have sent them back to their regular classrooms, but opted to keep them and have some fun.

I got out the Brain Quest cards. For those of you who are not familiar with Brain Quest cards, they are leveled by grade and have simple questions in several categories (math, grammar, science, literature, and entertainment). Since my reading group consisted of three 3rd graders and three 4th graders, it was only fitting that I got out the card set for 3rd and 4th grade.

Usually I ask a question and give a child several seconds to answer it. They know that they can always say "I don't know" as their answer, but if they do that, they must endure the wrath of the look. Then I go on to the next child. If answered incorrectly, we continue until everyone in the group has had a chance with that particular question.

After about 5 questions, we came upon a real winner.

Me: Which continent is the largest?

Emily: West Virginia

Me: Emily, West Virginia is a state, not a continent. (Thinking to myself...oh never mind. It just wouldn't be appropriate for me to share that.)

Amber: North America

Me: No, but at least you named a continent!

Jessica: Europe

Me: No, not Europe.

Marie: Africa

Me: Not Africa

Clay: Antarctica

Me: Not Antarctica

Jamie: Saturn

Me: Jamie (trying to hold back my laughter and tears), Saturn is a planet.

Jamie (tipping her head back and shaking her blonde hair, then giggling): oh yeah

Not only is Jamie's hair blonde, but so is her brain. She's a very sweet, kind, loving child, and will look great on her husband's arm someday.

And for the record, Emily is also a blonde, sigh.

By the way, the largest continent is Asia.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Secret

I have been watching "The Bachelor."

I'm hanging my head in shame here...not because I'm watching the show, but because I'm admitting it to all of you. Okay, maybe a little bit because I'm watching it. I should spend my time more productively, hahaha.

Personally I don't think there's a great connection between any of the five remaining girls and Jason. (The show is on right now, so as of this moment there are still five women there.)

There's a severe lack of language skills on this show though.

Amazing girls.

Amazing dates.

Amazing kisses.

Gag me. Can't they come up with different vocabulary??

And another can they even begin to "fall in love" (another gag me thing) when they are doing this show and not living in the real world.

Imagine for a moment, if you will, that Jason and one of the ladies have worked hard all day, and finally arrived home to a home that's cluttered from dinner and the toys, etc. that they were too tired to take care of the night before. Then there's a discussion about who will fix what for dinner, or even where to order pizza from. Toss in a child who's not feeling well (Jason has a three year old son), and one of their cars was making funny noises on the way home from work. Oh yeah, and the cat is throwing up all over the carpet.

That's real life. It's easy to fall in love under romantic circumstances, but when you take away all the "fluff" it's much more realistic.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox now.

Don't tell anyone that I watch this show. I wouldn't want it to get out.