Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To Do, To Do.

The boy's taken up karate twice a week after school just so it's too long to hang around at school so we go home to run back. Essays and quizzes need to be graded. It's testing season so half of the kids are missing from class and I have to give, go over and grade make up work. Freshmen, who have had three weeks to work on an essay which is due on Thursday are just coming to approve their thesis and get irritated when I won't tell them what exactly to write. Parents are irritated that the county has scheduled graduation for Memorial Day and are telling me to change it - as if I have a say in the matter. Graduation invitations just went to print last week since the BOE just gave me the date and parents are upset they don't have them yet. Blogs need to be read. I have garden and HARVEST (whoohoo!) pictures to upload with no time or energy. It's been storming regularly at night and the dog paces and paces all night long - he's a Great Dane and his pacing is more like dinosaur stomping while he consistantly licks his chops like Mr. Ed and then sticks his head on the bed and stares at us so the rest of us get no sleep. The kitchen....we're not going to talk about the kitchen. But you know what they say in the South. When the going gets tough, the tough take down the curtains and make a new dress. Please, please tell me y'all get the allusion. The morning will come early, but it shouldn't storm so the night should be peaceful. Sweet gardening dreams.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Pattern to My Reading?

I may have beat this thread like a dead horse, but I must say I read a lot. A LOT. I've always loved to read and every school vacation found me at the library with the children in tow where I'd usually have books for me on hold so I didn't worry about them running crazy and tearing down the shelves while I perused the stacks as I am wont to do. Now, I've got my NookColor and Kindle and my life is set. Reading is not only at my fingertips, but most of it is free and I can get the library on my Nook as well. I gobble no less than three books a week - maybe more depending on what my weekend looks like and yes, I keep a spreadsheet. This last, however, is a recent habit since I found myself grabbing books at the library in a hurry only to realize I had already read them. I posted a few weeks ago about having read and been affected deeply by The Things They Carried. I still maintain this book as well as Heart of Darkness which I read in college will be two of the few books I'll carry with me throughout my life. When I finished The Things They Carried, my team teacher recommended a book that another of our colleagues recommended to him.

The full title is Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.

The writing wasn't as moving or as literary as The Things They Carried. The language was blunt, dry and lacking in symbolism, extended metaphors and other generically accepted literary elements, but it wasn't supposed to embody those devices. This is an autobiography and not fiction as the former is billed.

What it does is give you an unparalelled account of the training of a Navy SEAL and then the amazing parallel of how that training is called to action in the wilds of Afghanistan - a combat situation I'd never considered for Navy SEALs.

Whereas The Things They Carried was heart-wrenching and desperate to define and give meaning to a marginally forgotten war, Lone Survivor garnered some of my ire for the depreicating language used towards the enemy, but overwhelmingly inspired me to comprehend and acknowledge that failure is not an option, regarldess of circumstance, in a war that's of the here and now.

I've entered into a reading pattern that's far and away from my previous regiment of drivel with the occasional classic thrown in. I'm better for it.

Any recommendations?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Phew! Crisis Averted

Apparently late last night there was a crazy storm. I should have known about it. I'm a very light sleeper when it comes to rain and wind. The slightest noise outside will wake me up. I should have noticed the wind whipping, I should have noticed the torrents of rain, I should have noticed that Big, our Great Dane, came upstairs and paced all night long as he is want to do in rainy weather, but I didn't.

I was too busy having nightmares about the graduation ceremony. I'm in charge of planning and executing our school's senior activities and the graduation ceremony and the nightmares have already started. I dreamed I forgot to order flowers and we gave the girls weeds, that I forgot to go on the floor of the arena and when I remembered, the ceremony was over and the curtain opened to a grocery store's check out line with all of the parents cheering but no graduates and many, many other horrible things. It's only March!!!!

When I got to school my classroom's neighbor told me her power was out which I scoffed at. Another told me they had trouble getting to school because of a tree down. and I brushed it off. I went out to meet the bus in the afternoon and the wind was whipping. My thoughts immediately turned to the cell packs I had on the deck railing and how I would sort out the multitude of tomato seedling types if they were all scattered on the ground. Oh the humanity!!

I knew for sure they were toast I couldn't wait to get home and when I did, it was grateful I was that everything was still in place and nothing had tumbled to the ground. See. The storm wasn't so bad after all. ;)

Side note, our school's soccer team is sponsoring a military support night so I made some keychains for them to do with as they please. I hope they enjoy them!

The morning comes early, and the dreams have only just started. Sweet dreams!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Soccer Adoption and Happy Birthday, Boy!

At school, some of the lesser sports that don't have the fan base they deserve count on the teachers to support the team. This year, my team teacher and I participated in the Adopt-a-Player program for the soccer team. All it entails is for us to give snacks and small gifts to the player on game days and come to a few of the games to cheer him on.

Friday was sponsor night where we went on the field with our player and shockingly enough, our student presented my team teacher with a hat and me with a lovely bunch of flowers. We were very touched that he would think to have done this as it wasn't the norm for the rest of the team. He's a very quiet, reserved kid who holds himself with a dignity beyond his years. One of those kids whose integrity you wish would rub off on your kids. The flowers are just lovely, aren't they.
Although the boy's birthday party was last week, today is his actual birthday. Happy 7th birthday, Boy! He's such a good kid. He was perfectly content and just down right giddy over presents of clothes, books and Lego gift cards. He's been at his desk all day working on his do it yourself Wimpy Kid book. We had the agreement that once he finished the series we'd get him that book. Sure enough, he's on the last one so he got it and the movie book today. Note the Wimpy Kid shirt he got at his party from his cousin. He's an addict for sure.
The girl, on the other hand, got tired of waiting for the boy to finish and play and crashed herself. You just can't compete with the Wimpy Kid, I'm afraid.
That's all there is about what it is. I broke down and transplanted the squash, zucchini and zephyr squash into the garden yesterday. Forecast is looking good, so I figured I'd gamble. I've just got to beat those SVB or else!
The morning comes early. Sweet birthday-gardening dreams.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's Good To Be The King

Man, oh man, oh man have I missed going to fetch random dinner items from the garden. I honestly got so complacent with winter that I forgot how wonderful it is to need something and then walk outside. Especially herbs and the like that I'd never buy fresh at the store for having the knowledge that I'd never finish the bunch before it went bad.

Last week, my girlfriend for whom I helped fill her boxes came over and made me her fantastic Indian style chicken dish. It's beautiful isn't it?
I always joke with her that I don't like it. I don't. I don't like half of the things in it and I most certainly despise cilantro, but for some reason it all works well in the dish. I try to explain to her that I don't particularly like it, but I crave it and can't stop eating it. It's rather bizarre.

The fun garden end of it is that we needed an onion and I popped out back and grabbed one. Way too awesome. Then, tonight the kids wanted breakfast for dinner. It was on the tip of my tongue to say no just by reflex and then thought why not!? Waffle House and IHOP serve breakfast for dinner every day of the year. Why can't I? So I made them their breakfast and then went to the garden for myself and got some garlic, basil and onion and made an awesome omelet.
And forgot to take a picture of it until I was done. There's no way I would have gone to the store to buy the basil or the onion or the garlic just to make one omelet, but boy was it ever nice just to run outside and grab it.
It's surely good to be gardening again. The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Harvest Monday of a Sort...

It's been a long time since I've pulled anything out of the garden to eat. A few days ago I did pull an onion, but that's not much. This weekend, while the weather was beautiful, I decided to cut back the rosemary tree that was growing in the zucchini box and got over a grocery bag full of rosemary cuttings.
I really let that bush get out of hand. I put the entire bag in the mailroom and sent out a come and get it email. Some of it was gone by the end of the day, but not much. I have more rosemary than I can use in a lifetime, that's for sure. Sadly, I didn't keep it and it went to waste, but we've got so much rosemary growing still AND...there's that thing I did in the other corner yard which I'll get to in a moment, but rosemary here doesn't die in the winter, so I now am really going to be drowning in rosemary.

The squash, zucchini and the new zephyr that I'm trying this year are growing nicely and basking in the warm weather we've had.
The tomatoes have finally decided to sprout. I don't baby these. I plant them in the cell packs outside and just sit them out there. When they sprout, they sprout and then if the weather turns south I bring them in for the night, but this way I don't have to worry about hardening off which I'm too durn impatient to do. It was about time as well. I was getting crazed that there would be no Cherokee Purple plants this year. Oh no. That would certainly not do. Yesterday, 14 cells had germinated. Today, 24 have so I'm feeling a lot better. Some, however, seem to be growing upside down which is rather odd, but I remember happening last year as well. Should I flip them or just let them go?
Now, my friends, here it is. The proof of my weakness. I planted the herb garden. I haven't been able to do much with this other corner yard because it doesn't get a lot of sun, so I figured an herb garden would work well, but the problem there is that we don't use many herbs....so I put in the ones we'll use. I put in rosemary, oregano and two kinds of basil. I could really plant the whole thing in basil and freeze pesto for the rest of my life, but the one rosemary plant I have in the corner yard is amazing and now I have three! It's overkill, but hopefully I can do something with it, or if nothing else, put it on the corner to give to neighbors.
It looks pretty now and there's plenty of room for the plants to grow and for me to add more basil from cuttings of these. Hopefully my gamble will pay off. If not, I tried. It just feels good to see green again! I'm thinking those squash will go in before you know it. I've just got to beat the first SVB invasion like I did last year.

The morning comes early. Especially now with the time change which, in my opinion, is totally un-American. Sweet herb gardening dreams.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I'm weak.

That's all I have to say.


But it looks good out there. For now, at least it does.

Pictures coming soon.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Somebody Stop Me!

The weather is just beautiful and herbs, tomatoes and such summer plants are calling my name. The lows for the long range forecast are far above frost levels and I'm chomping at the bit to get the plants in the ground,


technically our last frost free date isn't until April. The rest of March looks good. Could I weather 15 days of April? I did last year and got such a wonderful head start. Dare I try again?

Friday, March 11, 2011


Never mind the subject line here. I'm so glad I sat down just now and looked through my pictures to see if there was something I could post about because it reminded me that there is a freeze warning out fo the area tonight. I need to go out there and pull in my seedlings that have been basking in the cool, yet welcomed sun.

We've had four days of good, hard rain in the last week which makes me a bit nervous for the potatoes getting squishy, but yesterday I noticed at least a few of the girl's purple potatoes were looking grand.
Then, I'd like to introduce you to the SLOWEST growing anything in this world. I honestly think I've seen the powers that be mandate the world's atomic clock get shifted faster than this celery grows.
Granted not all cells ever sprouted, but the package said about 70% germination, so I suppose I'll be okay.
Today we had both the boy and the girl's birthday party at Moneky Joe's - a bounce house place in the area. You may remember that last year I threatened to drown myself in the soda fountain at our neighbor's Chuck-E-Cheese party and I swore I'd never do a party like this, but it was very stress free. I think a lot of the problem I had with CEC was the amount of sensory overload with the flashing lights, music and games. Half of the students in my high school work (okay about 15 kids) at the Monkey Joe's. Literally, four students in my third period alone. I always swore to them it would be a cold day in Hell if I ever had a party there, but the kids had a blast. They each invited four of their friends and since I knew all of the employees and they knew me, the dude in the monkey suit stayed in there the entire time with the kids and gave them the extra attention that even the boy and girl noticed not having seen at other parties we've been to there. They, with the innocence of children, thought the world was on their plates, squished next to the pizza and Scooby Doo cupcakes (which I can't believe they agreed upon).

So, I'm sure you've noticed the pictures, or lack there of, of the party. That's what a good mother I am. I left the camera at home. The man took some film, so we'll see how that turns out and if I can post it or not. Of course, as all birthdays go, the girl came home and wanted to sleep with one of her presents so the boy was honor bound to champion the same cause. Do you know what he wanted to sleep with? The fifth Diary of a Wimpy Kid book that his cousin gave him. Shut your mouth! A book beat out a Lego set!?!? Yup.

Reading comprehension is the key to life, whether it's math problems, an automotive repair manual, a recipe, legal brief or medical journal. Does it hurt my feelings he finds a book "the top present of the night?" Not one bit.

The morning comes early, and I know it will because they're under the impression that the earlier they wake up the sooner they get to play with their presents and they just HAD to have a sleep over with each other tonight so one is bound to wake up the other at 0-dark-thirty. Sweet gardening dreams. Dang! I just remembered again to go down there and take those plants in.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What's Happenin' Hot Stuff?

The horseradish has sprouted!!! I'm so excited about growing horseradish. I've heard that it takes two years before you can harvest the roots, but conflicting information on if I can leave it all in the ground in my zone or if I have to dig up the roots and store them during the winter. I've also read up on how invasive it is which is why I have it in its own 3x3 box. It can spread as far and wide as it would like.
The lettuce is looking very good....but do you see in the center where one lettuce bunch was torn out by that rotten feral cat? Look closer. See the gift he left me?
I swear I'll kill that cat when I get my hands on him.
I've been lax with garden blogging, and for that I apologize, but what's kept me busy is well worthwhile. Keychains for a Cause, my side venture to raise money for our school's Relay for Life team, has gotten its first outside of school contract with the Nancy Jo Tennis Tournament. Proceeds from the sales of our new tennis themed keychains (and any other with the tournament name in the instructions to seller) go to their efforts to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

In the three days I've partnered with them, we've sold 19 keychains. Not bad!
The morning comes early. Sweet hot and spicy dreams! *wink, wink*
What? I was referring to the horseradish. Really.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Bean's Cabbage - Part 1

Yesterday we spent a wonderful evening over at my sister-in-law's house. Her daughter's class did a lesson on the parts of a plant and from what I understand, each child came home with a plant - a cabbage in her case. I told her I'd put it in the side yard where it would get the most sun and then document for her how it grew. It's one of those mondo cabbages. I don't know if we can let it grow to maturity, but she'll still have quite a head of cabbage when it's done.

Here we go! This is week 1. It's a bit leggy, so I planted it deep, hoping it would root along the stem.

Can't wait to watch it grow, Bean! Thanks for letting me share the experience with you.

Keychains for a Cause is expanding yet again to help us reach our goal of 300 keychains sold by Relay. We've added tennis themed ribbon to our selections. There's a keychain to meet every need. Go check them out!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Life, Revealed

Three inches of rain has done a lot to dampen the gardening spirit, but things are still plodding along. You can tell the garlic and onions are putting on weight and the seeds I planted last week are quietly sending down roots. My fear now is for the potatoes to rot in the ground, but as it dries out, hopefully I'll find them healthy and hale.

On a non garden note, last week I began and finished Tim O'Brien's The Things they Carried. I had earlier posted that it was a recommendation from a student and one of the first tenants of teaching a literature course is never turn down a child when they ask you to read.

The book caught me off guard. It's something they teach in AP classes here, so I didn't expect it to be raw, exposed and visceral, but it was. I didn't want to go to bed with it having been the last thing I had read, but then realized that now, this was how I was supposed to go to bed, with it weighing as heavily on my mind as it did. It's not a fast or a skimming read like I'm used to. Each word pulls you in a different direction and demands the merit its author intended. I am wiser and humbled by the experience. The symbolism was mild, yet jarring and the thematic strands enduring, yet too often looked over by other works. I'll most likely go purchase a paper copy in addition to my electronic one so I can write in it and trace the elements as I read through it a second, third and fourth time.

If you haven't read it, I highly suggest it. Your experiences with the novel may be vastly different from mine as you may be closer and with more personal connections to the events of the text than I have - NOT that I'm saying any readers venturing upon this are old and I'm the springest chicken in the world, but for me, the Vietnam War has always been one of those mythical wars in a far off place that warrants less than 30 minutes of class lecture at the end of a crammed semester of World History, and even then I struggled in distancing myself from the insufferable authentickty the book injected upon my psyche. It brought a crushing realism to an era swept under parlor rugs, bed skirts and dust jackets. A time that begs to be forgotten by the populace, yet rages in the indispensible truths of the participants.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Randomly Random

Titles eluded me for this post of random thoughts. Whereas I'd love that the world revolved around my garden, life sometimes gets in the way. For example:

The boy came home last week sad that his team lost a recess play-yard soccer game. Apparently he was the goalie and they lost 2-0 and he felt responsible. I asked who the goalie for the other team was.

They didn't have one.

Poor kid.

That, and the girl is on a three week long campaign for a "wiener." She has gotten to the point of asking Santa to bring her one. She likes the way they pee. Her main point of persuasion is that they are funny looking and make her giggle. My mother and I are of the same opinion and have thus assured her that this is the natural female reaction, however it didn't stop her from asking her prim and proper southern belle daycare ladies to aide her in the endeavor to procure one.

At least that's marginally better than when the boy went there and he wiped his snotty nose on one of their skirts.

Tell me why they keep letting me send my kids there?
On a more hopeful note, I had a student recommend me read The Things They Carried. When a student recommends a book for you to read you drop everything and read it, especially when it's a student like this one that you wouldn't think would pick up a book for love or money. I haven't put it down. We discussed it during class and in the hallway between classes when he came out of his way and risked a tardy to talk about a point and he gave me a goal to read to for tonight so I didn't get ahead of him. Kid's got a better opinion of my self control than I do.

As for that garden, seeds are still on the porch soaking up the sun and I'm still waiting to see which ones of them sprout. Potatoes still haven't broken the surface yet, either, but I remember that being a long process. The waiting is the hardest part.

The morning comes early, and I'll likely be spending it wide awake in bed talking myself out of reading farther. Sweet gardening dreams.