Friday, December 31, 2010

Thank You...and Happy 2011

In March of 2011, I'll celebrate my 3rd Blog-iversary.  I started blogging as a way to channel my angst as Lorelai graduated from high school and Legare graduated from college.  I didn't know that I'd do much with it afterwards. Well...look at us now.  Hundreds of posts and 431 friends (that I know about) later, I'm still plugging along.

2010 was a wild year with the new job and I didn't get to post as often as I wanted.  Thank you for not forsaking my blog during the lulls. I'm going to do better.  If you're a blogger, you know what I mean when I say that the act of chronicling the collective life of our family is SUCH a joyful activity. On the occasions when everything is decidedly NOT joyful, it is a cathartic activity.  Win Win all the way.

I have some great stories and photos to share, but for now...

Thank you for your friendship via the blog...and HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Easing Back Into Reality

  1. Christmas Day is always a big old hullabaloo with mother and Ned, and Hank's mother and difficult half brother.  Every year we hope it will be different but for the last five or so years, it hasn't. We hope. We pray. We survive.
  2. On a positive note, I began my strategic maneuvers to move Christmas Day to our house next year. Hosting the family here would in and of itself, I believe, decrease the hullabaloo factor tremendously. I'm not entirely sure, but I think I made progress and may have an ally in my cousin Elizabeth, who 'bout died doing everything by herself this year. I don't see that changing for her and even if we could alternate years, I would be so happy!  When I spoke to her on the phone Christmas night, I said, We enjoyed today, you really did work hard.  She replied...Yes, I DID.  I countered with, You know I'm ready to take over Christmas anytime you say the word.  She came back with, We'll talk.  Her mother, my aunt, was standing beside her or we might have sealed the deal right then.  What do you think...should I be hopeful??
  3. December 26 was a big old fairy tale day. It snowed all day long.  Even though the snow didn't stick, it was beautiful to watch as Legare and I sat around by the fire drinking coffee and hot chocolate while reading and watching movies.  Lorelai, who finds it nearly impossible to just sit around, went out and about in the snow with our next door neighbors.  Hank rolled out toward Hometown about 8 AM and got back about 5 PM. Everybody did just what they wanted to do and that does NOT happen often around here.
  4. Today, we're trying to do a little straightening up and putting away. I have to go back to work tomorrow and Wednesday from 8 AM to 1 PM. We have a friend (or two) of Legare's coming in on Wednesday through the New Year. They'll head down to the Beaufort house sometime around New Years Day to round out their holiday.  Hank and I will stay home, watch a bowl game or two and put away the Christmas decorations. I will feel compelled to fix collard greens and hoppin' john even if it's just the two of us. Never can be too careful.
  5. We, Hank, Legare, Lorelai, and I, all agree without hesitation that we are tired of eating.  Isn't that sinful to say when there are so many hungry people in the world...and right here in our own community? I put two pound cake gifts and a few other sweets in the freezer this very morning. (They're delicious...we tasted them even thought we're tired of eating.) Another sin and shame is that sometime next fall, I'll notice them still sitting there in the freezer and we'll end up throwing them out.
  6. I leave you with a photograph.  Rarely, are photos of me taken because I'm always the photographer. Hank snapped this of Legare and me as we left on Christmas morning (because we always have take two cars due to anticipated hullabaloo...)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day 2010

There are many good things about children growing up.  One is that Santa can start coming on Christmas Eve.  No more early mornings up at the crack of dawn.  Legare was always pretty easy, as a matter of fact we had to wake him up to open his presents.  Lorelai was another story all together.  We tried telling her that Santa's rule was that you couldn't get up before the baby Jesus, i.e. the sun had to be up.  She was willing to take the risk and could often be found standing by our bed staring us well before daylight.

Last year, at the ripe old age of 19, we finally talked her into opening gifts on Christmas Eve.  The minute Santa got the good word he started out for the lowcountry and SUDDENLY, gifts appeared under our tree about dark.  It was nice...we weren't rushed and nobody was half asleep or cranky.  It wasn't a hard sell to get her to agree again this year, and glory hallelujah, a new tradition is born!

Most of the photos will speak for themselves...Santa found a really good deal on the BumpIt and couldn't resist it as a gag gift.  Oh...and the fancy wrapped gift from Legare...pottery by Ben Owen, III, one of North Carolina's greatest.  Lor is in her pajamas because she came home from work and promptly got into bed for a long winter's nap.  We had to wake her up to eat supper.

You can have a bag like this

Merry Christmas to All...and to All a Good Night!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yes indeed...I believe in Santa Claus.

I am loving the time off from work.  Legare got home last night and he and I spent the day in Charleston picking up a few last minute things.  In the past year or so, he's taken a shine to cooking and really enjoys himself when he's home and we're paying for the groceries.  Hank and I enjoy the fact the Legare enjoys cooking. During the work week, we lead a dull existence from a culinary perspective. the spirit of everybody enjoying the holidays in their own way, we wrapped up our afternoon at Whole Foods.  As I sit here nursing a tibble of Maker's Mark, Legare is making a Beef Bourguignon for dinner.  The house smells divine...and on a Tuesday night!!!  Amazing.

Tomorrow morning, I'm meeting my friend Ted at Starbucks then he and I are going out for lunch.  Since Ted and I don't work in the same office anymore, we have loads to catch up on.  Who said what to whom when and all manner of "he/she did WHAT??" will be the gist of the conversation.  I'll spend tomorrow afternoon getting "santa" ready for mother and Ned. 

Mother is obsessed with "does Ned really believe in Santa Claus?"  He's never said the words, "Santa is not real," so nobody is going to burst his bubble on my watch...including mother, I do hope and pray.  A year ago, she never would have entertained the thought but these days, who in the world knows what she might say.  I'll tell you this much...while Legare and Lorelai know what's what, both of them will tell you in a heartbeat that they believe. 

When Legare hit the age of questioning, Lorelai was still little.  Our response to him was this..."as long as you believe, you get toys and gifts from Santa.  When you say you don't believe, Santa will stop coming and you'll just get a present from mommy and daddy."  He never mentioned it again.  When Lorelai posed the question a few years later, Legare was quick to tell her exactly what we'd told him, almost word for word.

All these years later, we still have so much fun...letters to Santa and the whole nine yards.  It makes me smile.

What's making you smile??

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas with Mother and Ned

Oh, you know Ned...he goes along with just about anything as long as he's got plenty to eat and doesn't have to deal with dogs and cats.  Mother.....HA!   hahahahahahahahahahhahhahahahaha
(in case you are wondering...that is hysterical laughter)

Mother called early this morning from Green Grove...Hank is out of town...she woke me up.  Before you go judging, the following is the basic framework of a conversation that she and I have had three times in the past week (minus the waking up part).  She and Hank have had the same conversation three times.  We'll have the same conversation probably ten more times before Christmas Day.

M: Are you awake?
B:  No ma'am.
M: Why's time to go to church.

At this point, I sat straight up in the bed and looked at the clock.  Trust me...NOT time to go to church in these parts unless you are a monk (and yes...we do have a monastery in our community for real.)

B:  It is not time to go to church.
M: What time is it?  (She apparently looks at her watch.) Goodness, why am I up and dressed so early?
B:  No idea...I promise...NO idea.
M: What are we doing on Christmas Day?

Here we go...

B:  We will come by for you and Ned and go to Mary Elizabeth's. (her sister...until I was eight, Christmas Day was at my grandmother's. When my grandmother moved from the farm to live next door to ME in town, she began to host the family.)
M: Are you sure?  I don't think I've been invited.
B: You're invited.
M: How do you know?
B:  OK...maybe you're not invited. ( I do this...I get sarcastic.  Not proud of it, but it does usually knock her into reality for a bit.)
M: Of COURSE I'm invited.  What else would I do on Christmas Day?  What do I need to do?  Have you bought all of the presents?  (By this, she means the presents that SHE is giving to people.  I have purchased, wrapped, and delivered all of her Christmas presents for the last ten years, including what she gives to us.)
B:  I will by Friday.
M: Why are you waiting until the last minute?
B:  Because I work very long days and have not had time to shop.  I have this entire week off.  I'll bring everything over to you no later than Thursday afternoon.
M: Why in the world would you have to work long days.  You work in a school for heaven's sake.  The children go home at 3:00.  (I let that one go...)  Why don't you all come and stay here at Green Grove for the holidays?  (Hmmmm this is new...not a part of the previous conversations.)
B:  Who?  Me?
M:  All of you.  They have rooms with cots.

I couldn't help it...I started to giggle. I couldn't help it.  I started to giggle and tears started streaming down my face.

M:  What are you laughing about?
B:  Nothing
M:  Stop laughing! I'm going to hitch hike to your house. 

The hitch hiking idea is a new twist too.

B:  Feel free.
M:  Good...Now... I called to find out where we're going for Christmas...Did you just get up?  It's time for church...

I'm tired now...will save the conversation about whether or not Ned believes in Santa for another day.

OH...and if you see a little old lady hitch hiking down I-26 between Orangeburg and Charleston, please drop her off at Exit 194.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

I've not been able to find my usual holiday Peppermint Dish Soap...not from Williams Sonoma nor Mrs. Meyers Clean Day.  Ran across Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap/Peppermint the other day in Target and decided to give it a try.  It smells heavenly...not sure about using it full strength or diluting it.

Does anybody have any experience with Dr. Bronner's?

I Survived...and I've got to get a few things off of my chest so I can enjoy my vacation!

After this post, I promise nothing but Holly Jolly and Fa La La La La for the rest of the holiday season!!

FAIR WARNING...this is a preachy post...if you aren't in the mood, I completely understand.  Just move along without reading...

I've made it to the halfway point of my first year as principal.  On Thursday afternoon, I hosted a staff Christmas drop-in here at home. I am priviledged to lead an amazing group of kind and caring educators!  Hank joined us for a bit and I think that he started to develop a better understanding of what I do and why it's difficult to leave work AT work.  He constantly tries to "one up" me as to whose job is more stressful.  Shoot, everybody's job is stressful these days but the difference between what he does and what I do is the emotion factor. 

Hank deals with business people all day and while there are difficult business people (what say you, all you business people out there?), in a school system if you're an educator with a heart, that heart breaks several times a day because of the unbelievable burdens many students carry.  We want to "fix" everything, but a lot of the hurt has been happening a long time and is too deep.  We can try to make them better and help them learn to be more resilient but...

I had to deal with my first truly irrational parent on Thursday afternoon. Irrational in the sense that I wasn't entirely sure that I wouldn't have to call campus security for assistance. It didn't take half a minute before I realized exactly why the child is the way the child is.  The child has tremendous academic potential but it may never be realized because I cannot FIX what goes on at home when I only have access to that child six hours a day for 180 days.  (Although that doesn't mean I'll stop trying...) The parent was more calm by the end of the meeting and I don't imagine we will meet again, at least not on the same issue.  The incident did; however, make me realize that I probably need to take my blood pressure medicine in the mornings, rather than at night.

For people out there who think that they know what a school principal does...unless you've BEEN one, you have absolutely positively no idea the magnitude of the responsibility that falls on our shoulders. There...I said it!!! Teachers don't know...central office people don't know...state department people don't know. Nobody knows unless they've walked in those shoes.
OK...if you made it this far, I appreciate your support. Your reward is that you don't have to read the just deleted four paragraphs of ranting and raving about know-it-alls and people who'd rather complain than go out and help make things better in the world. Writing and deleting can be cathartic in and of itself.

I'm better now...thanks for listening.  A Holly Jolly post...coming your way SOON!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This and That

1.  Hank is on his way over to the farm.  Some idiot or idiots got past the camera system AND the alarm system...broke in a window and stole the central heat/air unit.  I may be more annoyed at the camera and alarm companies than I am the thieves.  Hard to say just this minute...(Edit @ 10:32 PM...once Hank got there, he found that they'd also taken the refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer, microwave, and his hunting clothes. They opened every closet and drawer and left everything all over the floor....AARRRGGGHHHH!!!)

2.  Is anybody else out there in a funk?  I sent Lorelai with Hank to a wedding last I'd been looking forward to attending...because I just couldn't get myself together.  I made a nest on the sofa and watched "Eclipse." Felt better this morning but now the funk has returned. I believe the source of the funk to be an interaction on Friday afternoon which left me feeling that I'd been insulted ever so slightly from a professional perspective.  The rational side of me keeps saying "it was nothing," and it WAS nothing in the big scheme of things but I just cannot let it go...I'm not proud of this...I'm just saying...

3.  I need to take a chocolate chess pie. out of the oven.  I am home alone.  Hmmmmm


Friday, December 10, 2010

My Buddy Dook

Dook is a senior in our high school.  He's a character...a good old boy with a big old heart.  He's a hard worker if you hand him a set of tools, but NOT so much when it comes to academic endeavors.  Dook and I have an interesting relationship.  Most mornings, if I'm out and about when he walks in, he throws his arm around my shoulder and says, Good morning, Mrs. Southern...I love ya.   Sometimes he growls at me like a bear.  I growl back.

Since Dook is 18, he can sign himself in and out of school.  For the first few weeks, he played fast and loose with the coming and going and got behind in his work.  At that point, I started laying down the law and giving him a hard time.  We had a few rocky weeks.  Finally one morning I was OVER it...worn slap out.  Dook loves coming to the office and that particular day he stuck his head in my door about 9 a.m. and declared, Mrs. S...I'm signing out at 1:30.  It was time for some tough love, so I turned in my chair and replied, You know what Dook, why don't you go on and sign out now.  If you don't care, I just GIVE UP.  You're not a child.  You're practically a grown man and if you don't WANT to do what it takes to graduate in May, I apparently can't make you. 

He went back to class.

Two days later, my door was closed, so he went to my secretary and said, Will you please go tell Mrs. S. that I'm signing out at 1:00?  She came around the back way to tell me and I replied, Go back and tell him that I said "whatEVer."  I heard a growling sound through the door, but he went back to class and we had four really good weeks.

Around noon today, Dook was at my door.  He started with, Mrs. know I've been working really hard on my school work and I haven't signed out a single time lately.  I'm going to leave now.

Dook, I said, I know you've been working hard and I am VERY proud of you, but it's Friday and school is out at 3:00.  What in the world do you have to do between now and 3:00 that is so important?

Well, he countered pointing to his lower left jaw, these teeth have been bothering me when I eat anything hot or cold so I'm going to the dentist.

(Dook is not a good actor...)

Belle:  What time is your appointment?

Dook:  Well (pause) I don't exactly have an appointment.  I need to call.

Belle:  Come on over here and use my phone.  I don't think you're going to get a last minute appointment on a Friday afternoon but if you CAN get one, I won't give you any grief about leaving.  I wouldn't want you to suffer with a toothache all weekend.  That would be TERRIBLE!!! I'd worry about you ALL weekend long.

(I, on the other hand CAN act...)

Dook:  Well (pause) I don't have the's at home.

Belle (getting tired of the "wells"):  For pete's sake Dook, what's the dentist's name...I'll look up the number for you.

Dook (putting his hand on the jaw again):  Mrs. S...I know it's hard to believe (he looks up at the ceiling) but I can't remember the name of the dentist.  Besides, I need to make sure it's OK with my mama if I go.

ME:  Come on and call her.  She'll know the name of the dentist.  Get the good word from her and we'll call for that appointment.

Dook:  MRS. S....OK...PLEEEZE let me leave early because I've REALLY BEEN WORKING HARD!!!

Belle (all shocked like):  Dook, are you telling me that you do NOT have a toothache????

Dook (looking at the floor):  No ma'am. 

ME:  You almost had me there, pal.  Tell you what...let's split the difference.  You can sign out at 1:30.

He growled.

I growled back, but I was really smiling inside.  Apparently, Dook has forgotten that I can't MAKE him stay if he really takes a mind to leave. 

At 1:30, I was standing in the hall as he blazed by on his way out of the door.

Dook:  Love ya, Mrs. S

ME:  Right back atcha, Dook. 

That boy is going to get a high school diploma on May 31, and I'm going to be the one handing it to him, probably through tears.  The only person in that room who'll be more proud will be his mama.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Student Quote of the Week

Two of my more rambunctious lads at school REALLY disappointed me one day this week.  I quite often take such offenders into the office and sit quietly and give them "the look."   The look...especially when combined with the silent treatment can be a tremendously effective disciplinary tool. It only takes a few minutes and they start confessing and saying their sorry.  Lots of times girls will start crying.  Getting mad just makes the troublemakers defensive.  "The look" makes them feel ashamed.

Student Quote of the Week:  "Mrs. Southern!!!!   PULEEEEEZE stop looking at me with those EYES!"

Lordy, you'd a thought I was this guy...

...or maybe this one...

In short order, the two boys apologized to the young lady whose feelings they'd hurt AND to the teacher whose class they'd disrupted.

Dang....I'm GOOD!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 in Asheville and a MOST Unfortunate Football Game Ever

We took a few days over Thanksgiving and headed to the Biltmore Inn in Asheville.  We collected Lorelai along the way and Legare motored in from Chapel Hill.  Delicious food...quality time with our children...a little shopping...a massage and facial at the Inn spa. On Saturday, we headed to Clemson for the state rivalry game, USC vs. Clemson. 

Tailgating =  FUN

And that is all I'm going to say about that...

How about some fun photos?  Yes, I thought you'd like that.  Hope that your holiday was the best ever.  Two of Asheville and the second of the tailgate...

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Another Thanksgiving, another year of blessings.  The family is happy and healthy.  Legare, upon his graduation from law school next May will be gainfully employed in a VERY fine law firm.  Lorelai is still loving life and doing beautifully in college.  Hank is great.  I'm loving my new job.  Ned and all of the little old ladies are doing well.  Our dear friend Will came through his bypass surgery with flying colors.

THANKS be to God for all of His mercies and miracles.

I can't let Thanksgiving go by without two of my favorite video clips of all time.

Enjoy...Taking a few days off for rest and relaxation.  Hope that you're able to do the same with the ones you love.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Belle in a Bank

Left my wallet on the desk at home this morning.  Had to go to the local branch of W Bank to withdraw a little bit of money for mother from a certificate of deposit.  Naturally, I'd put it off to the last minute.  Didn't realize I'd left the wallet at home until I got to the bank.

A very personable new fellow was helping me and when I realized I had no ID (although I recited all social security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, etc.) he asked if I by chance knew an employee in the bank who could verify that I was who I said I was. That didn't upset me...I like that the bank won't just dole out cash out to any Tom, Dick or Harry who might be up to no good.  Not too many people working there looked familiar...last time I was in, I knew three or four employees. Sure enough though, there was one lovely lady still standing whose son had been in high school with Legare.  We chatted about the boys for a minute then returned to the business at hand.  Nice guy typed and printed and I signed. 

When he went to cut the check, the bank manager somehow became involved and after five minutes, I looked over the cubicle wall and inquired as to whether or not they needed me to join them.  He led her back over to the cubicle and as she rounded the corner she gave me a look that I could not possibly describe and asked in the MOST unprofessional manner you could imagine, "So, you're driving withOUT a license??"

My stars woman, I wanted to say...Do you moonlight for the
highway patrol??  Goodness knows that my nerves were a bit frayed after keeping high school students focused on the last school day before Thanksgiving, but I kept calm and carried on...

I stood up and said..."So...I'm going to run home real fast...ten minutes there and ten minutes back...and get my driver's licence."  She smiled smugly as I continued, "While I'm shred those documents I just signed to withdraw X dollars.  Let's just close the account.  Thank you SO much. Be back in a jiffy."

Now the account didn't have a gajillion dollars in it but it wasn't chump change either.  As I walked out, Ms. Manager wasn't smiling.  Smug gone bye bye.  Some advice, when you're a new person working in a bank in a small town, you ought not tick off people who have lived in said small town for 25 years and have really good relationships with people who work in other banks in town.

When I returned with the proper credentials the manager was nowhere to be seen and the young man was waiting on me with the paperwork I'd requested.  I signed...he got a check...all was right with the world.

I didn't want him to think that things had gone south because of him.  He was very professional and polite.  It was the manager. Had she walked around the corner and said, "I'm so sorry but I know you understand that we really need to see the ID", I would have still been slightly perturbed (even though a rule is a rule); however, it was the tone and implication that she was distracting me with small talk while they ran my picture through the FBI database to prove that I was a criminal mastermind set to defraud the entire national banking system that made me go "twink."

Tomorrow morning, I'll be depositing mother's money from W Bank in the hometown bank down the street. The one where you can walk in on Monday morning wearing sweats and not one bit of makeup and where they'll laugh about your not having your driver's license while you wait 10 minutes for them to write you a check for a $25,000 personal loan to cover the check you wrote on Saturday when you bought a boat.

There are benefits to small town life...but apparently NOT at W Bank.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Is it just me??

What a week.  Meetings in Columbia for two entire days.  Too far to drive back and forth but too close to spend the night.  The time alone in the car did give me opportunity to think and reflect.  Good thing too...returning to the office on Friday was wild.  Two days of work piled up, absent secretary, guidance counselors day at another school, one BIG meeting, DNR presentation to students, ordering of class rings and senior supplies, senior luncheon, second quarter progress reports, and the ten other things that I'm not at liberty to discuss.  At least that's what I'm able to remember...

And people wonder why I act the way I do...

Lorelai is in Clemson.  Legare is going to the Clemson-Wake game.  Hank is hunting.

I finally got my 2010 Christmas with Southern Living.  I'm going to read it cover to cover and make my Christmas list.  This is the first time in 15 years that I haven't had my shopping done by the week before Thanksgiving.  Gosh, I wonder why?

On a different topic...Facebook...I may have offended some people this morning but don't really care.  Lorelai is taking a belly dancing class.  Yes, this is why we pay the big money to Clemson.  Anyhow, she wrote, "Going to belly dancing class...need to get this routine down for my final."  First of all, why she feels the need to let everybody in the world know where she is going all the time is BEYOND me.  Second of all...three women who live in our area commented, "post a video for us to see" or something along that line.

SERIOUSLY??  I don't think so!  I could resist and commented myself..."her mother does NOT want a video posted online."  

Now I ask you...would you want a video of your daughter belly dancing posted on FB, no matter how innocent it might be considered by others?  Even if it's just her 1,279 "good" FB friends?

Nope...not me.  (Oh goody, now I'm annoyed...)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Student Quotes of the Week

"I like it here because I can work at my own paste."

Student to teacher after principal (me) makes a stern announcement regarding students who are behind in their work..."Is Mrs. Southern bi-polar?"    Teacher response:  "Could be...her job will do that to people."


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Football Weekends...Hamburger Helper...and ByPass Surgery

1.  Big crazy football game against NC State last Saturday.  Hank and I got thoroughly disgusted and left about one minute too early.  Just as we got out of the stadium we heard a loud roar.  A minute later as we walked into the parking lot we heard my favorite football song..."we will, we will ROCK YOU!"  Clemson won the game but I surely don't know how.  It was one blunder after another until the last few minutes. 

2.  One of the best events of the season...Military Appreciation Day at Clemson...happened at the game.  I cried about three times (and NOT because they played so badly).  Slideshow below...

2.  I'm eating Hamburger Helper for supper.  It's one of my guilty pleasures when nobody is home for supper but me.  DON'T JUDGE ME.  Judge Mother instead.  She wasn't that great a cook and when daddy was away, which was fairly often, she was prone to taking out a box of potatoes stroganoff.  The southern belle good cook gene passed her by. Nothing like reconstituted potatoes and powdered sauce to bring back warm fuzzy memories.  (Seriously...I really like the stuff...a lot...good thing I'm not on my own for supper very often.)

3.  Keep our friend Will (of Meg and Will "rowdy girls" fame) in your prayers.  Just as we were leaving Clemson on Saturday evening, the phone rang and it was Meg telling us that she had taken Will to the hospital with chest pains. He is scheduled for double (at least) bypass surgery on Thursday. We stopped by on our way through Columbia on Sunday and his spirits are good.  No more Hamburger Helper for him.

4.  Legare took the first part of the Bar Exam last Saturday.  How is it that my baby boy is about to graduate from law school?? 

So...onward we go.  Have a good week...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fall Break

Yep...said I'd post on Monday and here it is Thursday.  At least give me some credit for blogging at 4:32 AM!

I was a SLUG on Saturday and most of Sunday.  It was glorious....absolutely positively glorious.  Lorelai caught up on some sleep and on Monday we shopped the day away.  We started out at our favorite store, Gwynn's of Mt. Pleasant, and stayed there for two and a half hours.  They treat Lor like a little princess at Gwynn's.  She tried on some gorgeous things and we brought most of them home with us. Here are several ensembles she will be sporting...

About the time we were dead on our feet, she connected with her pals Phillip and Alex and we all met for an early supper.  Those guys are two of her best buds.  Wish I could clone them to replace some of the dumb boys she keeps coming across. 

On a less happy note, Clemson played TERRIBLE football last Saturday against Boston College.  BC had lost five in a row until we came to town.  On another less happy note, the elections in SC did NOT go my way...hardly a one at the state level. 

Mother and Ned are fine.  There's been a little upheaval at Ned's house.  As I mentioned before, the latest resident to move in has some behaviors which are not compatible with the other three boys.  Apparently, there was some sort of altercation last week between the boy and the only male caregiver...the one who takes the boys fishing and to the gym.  The only male role model.  We don't know what happened and they won't tell us.  All we know is that he was let go.  I'm angry that we had to find this out from the parents of one of the other boys.  I feel that we should have been notified if something happened that warranted an employee being dismissed. Did the boy attack him?  Could Ned or the other boys be in danger??  Probably not, but when people won't tell me what's going on, I tend to start making things up. I understand privacy laws and all that, but still...

Any thoughts?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

For Your Halloween Reading Pleasure

This was first posted a couple of years ago just before Lor left for college...a nice little ghost story for your Halloween enjoyment...

Lorelai is trying to fit lots of activity into her last week before heading to Clemson. The other night, she and her best friends stayed out at Molly's house which happens to be located on the property of Mulberry Plantation. To people who don't live in our area, "plantation life" might sound like something out of Gone With The Wind but in our area, which is so rich from historical and natural resource perspectives, well, it's not unusual to know any number of people who live and/or work on plantations that date back to the 17th and 18th centuries.

As an's important to note that lowcountry kids (note also that "lowcountry kid" is a term like "southern belle"....just because you live here doesn't mean that you ARE one and vice versa) grow up in a beautiful world. They are well-mannered, well-educated, and know how to entertain, but they also know their way around a deer stand, a dove shoot, how to call a turkey, ride a four-wheeler or tractor, throw a shrimp net, catch and clean a crab, etc. Not just the boys girly girls put on our wellies and join right in. The lowcountry of SC is a great place to live.

Well...I birdwalked a bit there. Mulberry, there is a ghost...a little girl whose name, I believe, is Robin. She comes and goes and the way you know she's been around is a very strong smell of perfume. Lor and her pals were hunkered down in one of the cabins...several were watching TV....Lor and Ashley were in the bedroom talking. They walked out to see what the others were doing for about five minutes and when they went back into the bedroom the smell of perfume was overpowering...all around the bed the Lor had been sitting on...and her eye glasscase was gone. Clearly, the little one wanted that bed for her own so Lor QUICKLY moved her pillow and all of her things OUT of the way. When our girls went back in an hour or so later her glasscase was back on the bed. We're thinking Robin felt bad about scaring them. More likely than not, the little ghost girl just wanted to join in the fun, bless her heart.

I know what you're wondering...does Belle REALLY believe in ghosts or was some prankster just playing a practical joke? The answer is both!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fall Break and Joy in My Heart

I don't know how to express how joyful my heart feels just now.  Lorelai is home for fall break and since my high school runs somewhat on the college schedule, I also have vacation until next Wednesday.  It didn't get here a moment too soon.  I had to deal with a situation at work on Friday that made my heart very very sad and I'm bone weary...but again, my heart is JOYFUL to the max that I have four days to rest and renew. I just tucked the warm comforter up around Lor's chin before I came downstairs. If that doesn't make a mama feel all warm and fuzzy, I don't know what will.

Lorelai got home about 6 pm yesterday and immediately showered and headed out to her high school alma mater football game.  I was out like a light by 9:30 and Hank made a good attempt at "staying up" until Lor got home, but I'm sure I heard snoring.  Today and tomorrow we are hibernating and on Monday morning, we'll be on King Street the minute the stores open. I'll have lots of photos on Monday night.  The fair is in town, but even though we talk about going to eat fair food, we haven't gone in something like seven years...maybe longer.  Probably won't make it this year either.

Clemson is at Boston College today...kickoff at noon.  LET'S DO IT, TIGERS!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where to begin...

Since I'm quickly becoming a once a week blogger...(do you wait with bated breath?????)...

I had my first evaluation conference with the superintendent this week. It's hard to believe that the first quarter of the school year was over last Tuesday. He came to our faculty meeting then stayed and talked with me. It went better than I EVER could have imagined.  I won't bore you with the details but he was very complimentary and helpful and shared a lot with all of us about his dreams for the future of our new school.  I came away feeling inspired and with the sense that I'm doing what he wants done.  Oddly though, I'm having a (hopefully short) "spell" worrying about every single little thing about work.  I am a big believer in being appropriately concerned but this transcends that...I'm fretting and obsessing. For about 24 hours after the meeting I was floating on a cloud...then this.  Any ideas??

In a good solid attempt to forget about work, Hank and I headed to Clemson for the weekend.  BOY OH BOY did the Tigers show up and play some good football against the Ramblin' Wrecks from Georgia Tech.  Bless their hearts, the were indeed a wreck. They reminded me of our boys the three consecutive weeks before the Maryland game.  We enjoyed a great tailgate and one of my favorite things to do...singing We Will We Will ROCK YOU with 80,000 of my friends in Death Valley on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Legare was in Greenville for the Furman Homecoming and inauguration of Rodney Alan Smolla as its eleventh President. He's an impressive man to be sure and we won't hold that law degree from Duke against him.  I guess he couldn't get in at Chapel Hill...ANYHOW, we had a lovely breakfast on Saturday morning with Legare his pal Richard before they headed to their game and we headed to ours. It was a good day (and then I went to bed and dreamed all night about work...AARRGGHH!)

Lorelai is coming home next weekend for Fall Break and I know what she has on her mind.  Shopping!  Luckily, I get my own little fall break on November 1 and 2, while she's here.  Can't beat that!  We may have a little at home tailgate party on Saturday while we watch the Tigers play at Boston College.  That sounds like a good little project for me this week.

Hang in there month from tomorrow (Monday) is Thanksgiving Day and two months from tomorrow is CHRISTMAS Day! 


I leave you with a photograph of Clemson's "new" CJ Spiller, hometown football hero Andre' Ellington as he slips by GT for a 55 yard touchdown run.  He makes us proud down here in Berkeley County.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I've got nothing but random thoughts...

I was a wild woman on a mission this week.  Lots to get done at school and the superintendent is coming to our faculty meeting on Tuesday afternoon and is staying after to talk with me about my evaluation.  Yikes!

We didn't go up to Clemson this weekend but watched the game this afternoon on TV.  Thank goodness they finally got some momentum going and won the game against Maryland.  Next week is Florida State and no offense to my Seminole friends out there, but that war chant drives me nuts, although I suppose that's the point, isn't it?

Hank is making shrimp and grits for supper tonight...YUM.  I'm the luckiest girl in the world.  His bruised ribs are feeling quite a bit better and he's outside right now working away.  He's like a child...I have to yell for him to come inside when it starts getting dark.  (I've been working a little bit while he's not looking...shhhh, don't tell...). I think we might watch Crazy Heart with Jeff Bridges tonight.  Heard it was good.  Have you seen it?

Here's a good question...Have you started your Christmas shopping?  I'm usually on it by now but this year....WHEW!  Everybody might get money if I don't get organized soon.  As usual, Mother and Ned will be my biggest challenges.  I am; however, already planning Christmas Day.  I refuse...REFUSE, I leave my house on Christmas Day.  I'll cook for anybody who wants to come and it will be MARVELOUS but I'm not going ANYWHERE. 


Sunday, October 10, 2010

I feel like I'm back in the land of the blogging...

I hesitate to say that things are calming down because as soon as I do, all H.E.double toothpicks will break loose. We stayed home for the weekend...that was a tremendous help.  And being the fair weather fans that we are, Hank and I have decided to boycott the Clemson game next weekend and let Lorelai have our parking pass and tickets to give away.  I asked a friend last night, "So, is it the players or the coaches?" and he replied, "Yes."  Sad, sad, sad...

So, going with a "we aren't as young as we used to be" theme.  On Friday afternoon, Hank had to lie down on his belly and reach down into the pool to grab the vacuum thingy that had come loose. To make a long story short, he was uncomfortable Friday night and after going to the farm on Saturday and lifting 50 lb bags of deer corn, he came home early in a fair amount of pain.  I gave him a Lortab left over from my root canal but he hurt all night long.  This morning he went to the local doc in a box.  Thank goodness nothing was broken or cracked, but his ribs are bruised and the muscles inflamed.  Trying to keep him still is practically impossible. Not that I'm the best nurse in the world.  I woke up around 2 AM with a headache and asked him if he wanted another Lortab while I was getting advil...he did.  When I walked back upstairs with the medicine and water, I realized that I'd knocked back the Lortab and only had the advil in my hand.  The bright side is that we both slept really well for several hours.

I haven't had much time to get out the Halloween decorations but wanted you to see the one thing I have put out.  I saw this on another blog last year and just had to order one for myself.   These are "The Strange Belongings of Permilia Sickfrits" purchased online from Hootin Annies. If you're a do it yourselfer, you can purchase a kit.  Me?  I went for the already done version.  Jump over for a visit...she has really cute things.

Aren't the "strange belongings" just magically delicious???

Facebook cracks me up sometime...

I don't do much on FB...mostly stalk my children and their friends.  Lots of chatter this morning about USC taking down Alabama and how utterly embarrassed we Clemson fans are just now with a three game losing streak.  That aside, I came across this...

"Let's remember those who have passed. Press Like if you've lost a loved one."

Seriously????   Press LIKE if you've lost a loved one?????

That's just WRONG...

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Randomly speaking...

Hank is hunting.  Legare and Lorelai are at the Clemson UNC game in Chapel Hill, which is, here at half-time, being dominated by UNC 13-3.  I can't pick sides for this match up.  I love being a winner no matter feels GOOD!  My friend Ted and I went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast this morning.  I love Cracker Barrel and not another livin' soul in my family ever wants to go there to eat.  Not even Ned...he's a Shoney's kind of guy.  Sometimes I can talk Mother into it because she likes the gift shop, but not very often. Ted and I used to see each other every day and have lunch most days.  Now that I'm school-based again, I don't get to go out to lunch.  Good for the budget and waistline but I miss the social time.

School is interesting as all get out.  I absolutely made the right move in pursuing my new position.  I so often have to bite my lip to keep from smiling at the students, even when I'm giving one of them what for.  One day last week, I walked into a classroom to find a student who'd apparently gone temporarily insane.  As I walked to the back of the room, I heard one young lady say to another, "See, you can tell she's mad because she's breathing heavy."

On Friday morning, a student came in all dissheveled and I invited him into the office to see what the matter was.  By the time I joined him, he'd hitched up his britches and tucked in his shirt and was sitting at the conference table waiting.  His eyes were bloodshot and he smelled to high heaven...not like any one thing in particular though.  After a short conversation, I was satisfied that he was sober, but asked, "Larry, what in the world is going smell like a pool hall."  His reply...not at all sarcastic...just honest, "That's because I've BEEN in a pool hall...but I didn't drink because I was the driver."  So, I went into my mama speech about what is appropriate and what is not and how he needs to go to bed before three in the morning and wear clean clothes, blah blah blah.  To his credit, he kept nodding and saying "Yes ma'am, I'll do better."  As I sent him on his way, he turned and said, "But Mrs.'ll really be proud of me...I WON $275 playing pool."  God bless Larry!

Sunday, October 3, 2010's my birthday...

...or rather it WAS yesterday.  Today is Ned's birthday.  We're seven years and one day apart.

This was one of the best birthdays ever.  It was Clemson football homecoming and even though they played an AWFUL game, there was tailgating, dinner out, cake and much singing of Happy Birthday to ME!  Lorelai even pulled a fast one...she got an extra game ticket and Legare drove all the way from Chapel Hill to see me.

Poor's hard for him to keep a secret but he did a good job UNTIL we're sitting in traffic on our way to the game.  I looked over in the other lane and saw a familiar car...I said, "Gosh, that looks just like Legare's car."  Hank didn't say anything.  Then I said, "And you has a North Carolina license plate..."  Hank said, "Oh "*@(*&^%$*$#."  I felt kind of sorry for him...

Now I ask you...what were the chances that with 82,000 plus people headed to that game, we would be in the lane of traffic beside the big surprise?

Unfortunately, my camera battery was dead so I didn't get photos, but Lorelai did and as soon as she sends them to me I'll share.  It was a noon game so we had bagels with assorted cream cheeses, fresh fruit, donuts, and mimosas.  Yum!  When we visited with our friends at their tailgate after the game, I was greeted by my next door neighbor with a Clemson themed birthday cake.  It was a good day and I felt incredibly special.  I like feeling special.

We stopped by Ned's on our way home this afternoon and had another round of cake and singing. 

I usually do a giveaway around my birthday but this year, well, you know how busy things are at school.  It has been almost two weeks since I posted.  I'm a bad blogger.

BUT...forgive me this time and humor me (for my birthday present from the blog world) with a De-Lurker day.  Let me know you're out there and haven't forgotten about me.  It's the least you can do for a OLD woman like me!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What the future may hold...

While we were sitting on the beach late Saturday afternoon with Meg and Will, an elderly man and woman, in black bathing suits and straw hats, walked along the edge of the surf holding hands.  I leaned over to Hank and said, "Well, there we are in in about 30 years."  A minute later, another woman joined them and I added, "Look...there's Meg."  Will remarked, "Yep, you'll have to take care of her because I'll be dead by then..."  We all assured Will that we CERTAINLY did hope that he would NOT be dead by then. 

We got quiet for a bit as we continued to watch the trio and it seemed like I should be taking photos...don't know why just did.  When they all three held hands and started to walk into the was just the sweetest thing.  Hope you enjoy the photos...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

It must have been a full moon...

...but it wasn't.  Lord HAVE MERCY, last week was a humdinger at school.  When Friday afternoon got here, we were packing our bags to head down to Folly Beach to join Will and Meg, who had been on a glorious week of vacation at a friend's condo.  I'll let the pictures tell the story...boating, the calming goodness of pluff mud and salt water, good food, good fellowship, riding around on the golf cart, sitting on the beach watching the people. 

I read a book once (actually, I've read books many times) which talked about "thin places" where we feel the closest to God.  I'm pretty sure that He created salt water and pluff mud just for me.  That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.  I hope that you enjoy it too. 

Where are your thin places??

Enjoy the photos...

Lunch at TACO margaritas...yummy!

Folly Beach is an eclectic see ALL kinds of people and all kinds of sights...