Tuesday, June 26, 2007

For your enjoyment....

To lighten your spirits...."Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

And of course, my favorite opera....."Phantom"

Antonio is no Michael Crawford, but he is gorgeous!

And now...Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happy Summer!

Happy 1st "Official" Day of Summer! (In Florida, summer is year-round so I've been enjoying summer for awhile--not to rub it in or anything.)

Today is also the wrap-up day for the Spring Read Thing. Would you believe it? I actually finished EVERY BOOK on my list and then some! I really didn't think I was going to finish, but I had an unexpected couple of days off from pH-Farms, and managed to finish. It feels great!

I honestly didn't think I was going to finish and was rather disappointed at that prospect. I knew I would be able to read the books, but actually making it a goal to finish them within the time-period given, put a lot of pressure on me and I didn't like it. (Maybe I'm more performance driven than I thought. My friend April, calls me an "Overachiever" and mentioned something about Hermoine Granger in the Harry Potter series. Yes, I am a bit of a perfectionist, but I have been learning to let go--albeit very slowly.)

I think one of the reasons I didn't like the pressure is because I've had friends, students, and family members handing me books right and left with the wording..."You have GOT to read this..." and then asking me every few days.."Did you read it yet?" Plus, I won several books during this time period, but had to put them off because they weren't on my list, and I really wanted to take the time to read through and enjoy them, rather than race through so I could mark them off as having been read. Although I have the best intentions ofreading books in a certain order, if something more exciting comes along, I want to be able to pick it up and read that book instead. (I know, it is just a silly list and I had the freedom to do that at any time, but it felt weird to be reading books that I said I would read and review...) Of course I only had to put down five books that I would like to read during that time period, so maybe I am a bit of an "overachiever" as April says...

All in all, it's been a great experience. I've been in touch with other people through their blogs, and feel almost like I'm part of a community because we all enjoy reading. Reading reviews that were posted on other blogs had me starting a list of books that I want to read. It grew from a few loose post-its to a whole notebook full of novels waiting to be discovered! (If only thee were more hours in the day that we could set aside just for reading....)

I decided not to answer the questions that were posted on Katrina's site--mainly because I think I've rambled enough about my experience. ;)

Since all of my reviews are in different postings, or haven't been posted yet (yikes!), I think I'll re-post them again in case you missed them:

Missing Abby by Lee Weatherly
I must admit, I knew the ending of the book before I started reading it thanks to my library aide last year. (I was hoping that I'd forget so that I could enjoy the book without trying to hurry through it to see if she was right, but it didn't happen.) Nevertheless, Abby is missing and her former best-friend Emma was the last one to see her alive! Now Emma must re-live their friendship to try and find Abby. Will it work? You'll have to read it and find out! Overall it was a good book-despite the D&D fantasy theme. It reminds teenagers that friendships are important and to treat others kindly--you never know when you might come across that person again and need his/her help.

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

Talk about hilarious! Lizzie Nichols might be my twin! (Although I've never been to Europe, and traveled to France through the Chunnel, and unloaded my life's story on a handsome stranger, but we both do tend to ramble.) Lizzie graduates from college (sort of) and decides to follow her boyfriend back to England for the summer. Soon she realizes that he's not for her and runs to her friends who are staying in a villa in France--helping with weddings that are scheduled there. Talk about drama! I love this book! In fact, my neighbors were probably wondering what "that crazy girl upstairs/next door" was laughing so hard about--especially since they know it's just Madison and I up here. Great read--let me know what you think about it when you're through.

Welcome to Wahoo by Dennis and Elise Carr

Victoria Van Wyck is forced to flee her privileged life in Europe when "the mob" threatens to kill her family. Being escorted by family friend/employee Adam York (aka "Uncle Bob"), Victoria (aka Amanda Jones) must face life in the middle of "no-where" Nebraska, aka Wahoo. While adjusting to changes--(having to get a job, making friends (?), and having to (egads!) clean up after herself)--Victoria/Amanda must also complete her Junior year of high school and "keep her nose clean" and stay out of the limelight so that those pesky mobsters do not find and kill her. Will she manage to pull it off? Will she survive "the mob" and be reunited with her family? You'll have to read the book to find out!

I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started reading the book--some of the characters were not as rounded as I thought they should have been--given their status in the book. The saving graces are that Victoria starts working at her local library, learns to LOVE reading, competes with her new-found friend for the best grade in History, and isn't concerned about the typical teenage "what will they think of me" syndrome. It's a really cute story and most girls will enjoy reading the book.

I've actually spoken to Mr. Carr and was in negotiations to bring him to our school--especially since he seemed to really care about instilling the love of reading to the students--unfortunately/fortunately, he was arrested for "allegedly" having drugs in his camper. Click here to read the article. Needless to say, they WILL NOT be making an appearance at our school.

Why the cows? That's what I think of when someone mentions the "middle of nowhere." (The setting of the book.) I'm sure wheat fields would be more appropriate, but Abilene is a small town (although a bit bigger than Wahoo) and that's how I related to the book. After all, I had to readjust to "small-town" life after having lived in the "big city" for a gazillion years too.

I finished another book on my Spring Read Thing list. It was a bit long, but worth the effort.

Bamboo and Lace by Lori Wick

Lily Walsh lives with her father in the country of Kashien, while her brother Jeff, lives in Hawaii (having stayed after attending college). Jeff is writing to his father and asking permission for Lily to come visit for six months so that he can teach her new things. (Kind of weird, but once you understand the Kashien culture, it makes sense.) Owen (the father) grants Lily to go visit Jeff for three months instead of six--a disappointment to both siblings, but it was better than nothing.

Flash forward to Lily arriving in Hawaii--eyes downcast and not understanding our culture. (She wasn't familiar with the items we take for granted each day--indoor plumbing, hot water, plastic wrap...you get the picture.) Jeff then has to leave for two and a half months for a work emergency on the mainland, so rather than send Lily home to their father, he asks his close friend Gabe (and Gabe's immediate family) if Lily could stay with them, and if they would continue to teach her all the things he had planned. Being a true friend--Gabe takes over for Jeff.

Lily learns new things and a romance blossoms. Will Jeff make it home before Lily has to return to Kashien? Will she be able to extend her visit if Jeff doesn't make it? What will happen to Lily's new romance? You'll have to read the book to find out what happens.

I was intrigued by Lily's situation at the beginning of the book. I became completely engrossed in Lily's "education" that I forgot there was going to be a romance. The characters became like my best friends, and I couldn't wait to find out what happens with Lily and the interactions with her family. It's a fabulous book--one that brings hope and invites inspiration.

Pretense by Lori Wick
While this book is over 700 pages, it is definitely worth your while! Have a box of tissues ready because the storyline follows the Bishop family through their trials and tribulations throughout their lives. Will they ever find God-whom they're seeking desperately? Will the characters overcome the hardships they suffer, or will they be overwhelmed and completely turn away from God forever? Captivating from page one, you will be wrapped up in the lives of each Bishop family member and feel like they are each your best friend. What a great book!

SAHM I Am by Meredith Efken

Written in the form of email postings from each of the listserv members, readers will get to know and understand the various SAHMs in this Godly group of women. Not being married, nor a mother, I didn't know what SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) meant at first. (Thankfully it wasn't too hard to figure out since the "mommies" discussed their misunderstood role with one another.) It was also a little hard for me to relate to some of the characters since I've never been in their situation--trying to raise a family in a Godly home. However, as a single person, I could relate to the "well-meaning" antics of crazy family members, as well as the frustrations of trying to run a home on their own. This book had me laughing and crying, and I was really excited to find out that there was a sequel....

@ Home for the Holidays by Meredith Efken

The sequel to SAHM I AM, the postings from the SAHM group members continue. Readers become witnesses to the day-to-day hassles that affect SAHMs and their families. This book was a little more in-depth with the relationships between certain members of the group, which was nice since things were left "hanging" in the first book. It was refreshing to see that even the best laid plans sometimes falter, but with God's strength and faithfulness, we can pull through--which is what the message seemed to be for me. Both books are very quick reads, and I know you'll grow to love the honesty of the characters as much as I did.

If the Shoe Fits by Marilynn Griffith

I didn't realize that this book was part of a series (The Sassy Sistahood)when I started it, but no worries--I still understood what was happening with the plot and the characters. (If you want to start with the first book in the series, it's called Made of Honor.) I'm still in a state of longing after having read this book...without giving too much away, Rochelle owns her own shoe store in which she designs and creates high-end shoes for most of her customers. After being single for 18 (?) years, she is provoked into joining a local Christian dating service called A Match Made in Seven. After going on several group-dates, "Chelle" is being pursued by several handsome and available men. However, her life starts to get crazy and "complicated" (don't we all know how that goes) and now she's second-guessing her decisions.

Now for my longing part--I've only been single for seven years and it feels like forever. I feel sad that she had to wait so long before she found men who were interested in her. I wonder if I'll have to wait that long? (If so, my momma can kiss those biological grandchildren from my side goodbye! :) I keep telling her that Madison is her grandchild, but she hasn't accepted that fact yet.) It seems that as soon as I decide I'm okay being single, I read a great book like this one that has me praying for more...I know--it's all in God's timing and I obviously have some major issues to work through before the timing becomes right. Keep praying....I know I will be. :)

Married to the Mob by Ginny Aiken

Book three in the series,it follows the life of mob-widow Carlie as she's on the run from the mobsters trying to cash in on her life. Special Agent Dan Maddox is her escort in trying to keep Carlie alive until she can testify in the big mobster trial. Unfortunately, he didn't factor in her live-wire spirit and joy of life since she became a Christian. He also didn't factor on falling in love with her.

If you've read the other two books in the series, this book is written exactly the same plot-wise. Thankfully there's a little bit of humor thrown in, but it does tend to get in the way of the dialogue sometimes--causing frustration in this reader. I do have to say, I knew who the mole was in book one, but had to wait until this book to find out that I was right. (Ha! Ha!) It's a great book for a quick read.

Enemy Mine by Kay Hooper

Rivals in stealing rare antiquities, Tyler St. James and Kane Pendleton, are caught in the Colombian wilderness being shot at by the same person. Joining forces as they hunt for a rare golden chalice, Tyler and Kane soon find that the attraction they have felt over the years of their rivalry is growing stronger. Will they find the chalice and its companion before they both get killed?

I'm definitely a Kay Hooper fan. While this is nothing like her other suspense books, it still has a lot of action that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I finished this book in one day--it's a great read. Just make sure you don't have anything else scheduled because you won't want to put it down.

The NaNny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Nan is the main character and this book is about her adventures in being a nanny(babysitting) for the rich people in New York. At what started out as a part-time job, Nan soon realizes that her whole life is consumed by the plans that Mrs. X makes and expects Nan to comply with-despite her school schedule and own life. Nan also learns that the lifestyles of the rich are not always what they are cracked up to be--whether it's drugs, affairs, bankruptcy, etc.

I picked up this book because I had seem previews for the movie and it looked pretty good. I usually always try to read the book before I see the movie because the book is always better! Overall, guess it's a realistic story of the life of a nanny, but I really feel sorry for the poor kids who have no parents to depend on and are looked at as social status objects rather than as part of the family. The book does get rather boring and bland--as I assume the life as a nanny, always catering to the pesky parents would be.

Less Than Frank by Lynn Bulock

Frank, the dubious contractor, is murdered while working on his latest project. Grace Lee Harris, the tenant in the apartment that he was working on just happened to find him. (Unfortunately, she also found her husband dead not too long ago too.) So, once again she is questioned by the same Detective (Ray) Fernandez
that investigated the earlier death in her life, and her son becomes one of the main suspects. Determined to clear her son's name, Gracie tries to "help out" the investigation and uncovers more than she expected.

This book is the second book in a series, although you don't have to read the first one to understand what was happening in this book. While I'm definitely a murder-mystery fan, this book was lacking a bit. Everything seemed to be a bit glamorized and while the characters could be real-to-life, the actions that were taken by the characters were not. The book was a bit fluffy in my opinion, but it wasn't too bad of a read.

Freefall by Kristen Heitzmann

"Jade" stumbles into the backyard of Monica Pierce after dredging her way through the Hawaiian mountainside and waterfalls. She cannot remember how she got there or why she was out in the dangerous mountains, so 'Nica calls her cynical brother Cameron to help--especially since she feels that malice is all around Jade. After antagonistic run-ins with Cameron, Jade slowly remembers that someone was with her when she fell down the dangerous waterfall and rushes back out to find him. Cameron goes with her to search and they find where she fell over the falls, but no one else is within sight. Cameron decides to dive under the falls to make sure there are no hidden caves, when he eyes a lava tube that leads to a cavern...with an injured man inside. Calling paramedics, the injured man is rescued and taken to the hospital where they try to save his life.

While Cameron and Jade were in the forest, the pictures of Jade come back and she is identified as Gentry Fox, a very famous movie star. STill unable to remember who she is or what happened, Jade and Cameron delve into the reasons why she cannot remember, uncovering a sinister plot to kill her uncle and possibly even Gentry, as money is to gain.

Cameron and Gentry try to uncover the clues as her memory slowly returns and they return to their busy lives state-side--where slowly a romance develops between both of them.

Will her memory ever completely return? Will she be able to identify her possible killer? Will the injured man live? Will Cameron and Gentry be able to love each other despite their faults?

No, I'm not lolo. I promise this book is wonderful! I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. I was disappointed when I had to set down the book to go to work, but eagerly picked it back up when I was finished for the day. Ms. Heitzmann writes spectacular novels that make me wish I could live in one of her books.

The Sisterhood of the Queen Mamas by Annie Jones

Maxine and Odessa are very lively characters in this book--despite the fact they're a little older than most--they get along just fine. One of their favorite places in their town is the Five Mile Flea Market with Fabulous Finds--where they first met. It's also the place where they make new friends and help capture a crook! Yes, Maxine and Odessa are quite the busybodies as they try to set the new pastor up with one of the young girls in the church. They also try to find out why one of the other church members is trying to close down the flea market and stumble upon God's revelations throughout the way.

Odessa and Maxine's ramblings drove me crazy at first--too much chatter--but as I read further into the book, I was able to accept their ramblings as part of their characters. (After all, I tend to ramble too.) Their one-lined comments and pure hearts prove them to be great characters despite the fluffy story-line. Overall, it's a good book.

The Crystal Cavern by Hannah Alexander

Dr. Sable Chamberlin's grandfather was buried only a few days earlier when she receives a desperate phone call from his best friend, begging her to drive to his house immediately. The package was sent for her from her grandfather before he died, and included lists of people he thought were "dirty" in the town--including one of his business partners and the local sheriff. Sable rushes immediately to the house, only to find her grandfather's friend murdered and the murderer still inside! Fleeing from the murderer, she runs into fellow co-worker Paul Murphy (Murph) and urges him to run-away before it's too late. Running for their lives, police sirens close in on them, so they make it to her car and drive away as fast as they can. A few minutes later, someone runs them off of the road into the canal and leaves them for dead.

Sable and Murph manage to save themselves from the frozen water and flee to her hometown in the Ozarks by bus. Unforunately, there's a lot of ice on the road and the bus is unable to continue to its destination after coming close to Sable's homestead on the side of a cave. Sable invites the six other bus riders into her home to wait out the ice storm and more murders take place. Weary of the unusual events, Sable and Murph try to discover who is trying to murder them as well as find out what secret her grandfather was hiding before he died.

Will they find the answers in the Crystal Cavern before it's too late? How many murders will take place before the murderer is caught? Will they be able to escape before the murderer strikes again?

Great mystery story with a hint of romance. I was concerned for the characters and their safety--praying alongside them that they would get our of there before they were killed. The wrap-up at the end was a bit trite for the situation, but didn't harm the overall story. I went to the author website and found that the book has been re-written and will be re-released under another name, so maybe the ending will be cleared up a bit. Overall a great book!

Wicked by Shannon Drake

Camille Montgomery works for the Egyptian Antiquites Deaprtment at the museum. A long hard-fought position that she was determined to keep-despite the fact that she was a commoner AND a woman. Unfortunately, one day after work, her guardian's friend Ralph runs to Camille to let her know that Tristan (her guardian) was hurt trying to steal from the Earl of Carlyle and was taken into the castle by the Earl's men! Scared for Tristan and her own job security, Camille rushes to the Carlyle Castle to try and rescue him from the beast of a man known as Lord Stirling, the Earl of Carlyle. Beating on the gates of the castle, Camille is finally granted entrance and a meeting with the mysterious and beastly Earl.

The Earl (Brain) was known as a beast because of both appearance and attitude. His parents were killed by asps (cobras) a year earlier in an expedition in Egypt when they uncovered a tomb of a great ruler and sorcerer. Many said that he was cursed and that was what had killed his parents, but Brian knew in his heart that the rumors were untrue--someone close to him and his parents murdered them. He learned of the news during a vicious battle in which his face was sliced open and scarred which explained why he wore the mask in public--a place he seldom went.

When Camille demanded to know what was to become of Tristan, the Earl decided that she would make a great bartering tool in the deadly race to find his parents' killer. Unhappy with being blackmailed to help the Earl, Camille tries to find answers on her own, putting herself into more danger than she realized. As a week passes, Camille and the Earl have daily meetings/arguments and eventually fall in love. Unfortunately the killer is aware of their growing romance and decides to plot more murders.

Do they find the killer before it's too late? Will Camille and Brian's new romance blossom, or is their relationship a result of being thrown together in pressure-filled situations? Read the book to find out who is evil and Wicked.

I originally picked up this novel because I thought it was one of the books in her Vampire novels, but none of the characters were familiar so I was a little disappointed. Thankfully, the characters in this novel were just as enticing and I was soon entranced by the plot-line. I wanted to help unravel the mystery before it was too late for our characters. Excellent book!

Other books I read during this challenge:

Seaside by Terri Blackstock
Sleeping with Beauty by Donna Kauffman
The Glass Cafe OR, The Stripper and the State; How My Mother Started a War with the System That Made Us Kind Of Rich and a Little Bit Famous by Gary Paulsen
Only In Your Dreams by Cecily von Ziegesar
Would I Lie To You by Cecily von Ziegesar
The Haunting by Hope Tarr
A Woman with Secrets by Inglath Cooper
Last Part First by Angela Johnson
Shooter by Walter Dean Myers
Maximum Ride 3: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to both of my Dads!

Here is my "real" father, who lives in Abilene, Texas. Dad and I have grown closer over the last few years--forging a father-daughter relationship now that we have both "grown-up" a bit. He's currently in Indiana, getting ready to present at some Technology conference there. I just got off the phone with him a few minutes ago, wishing him a Happy Father's Day! :)

Here is my other Dad. (Yes, I have two dads.) If you want to get technical, Ken is really my "step-dad," but he's been there for me through most of my life trials, so I call him Dad too. (My Mom took this picture, so you'll have to excuse our picture...she's still learning how to use a digital camera.) Thank you for everything Ken! I hope you had a great Father's Day!

My family decided to go out to eat at Outback Steakhouse in a growing town close to my grandparents. We were supposed to meet at 11:30 am, but I ended up getting there a little earlier. I went ahead and snagged us a table (good thing too, because they were packed) and tried to wait patiently for everyone else to arrive. (Thankfully I always carry a book with me, so it wasn't too bad.)

My parents arrived at 11:30, but the rest of the family didn't arrive until noon. While we were waiting for everyone else to get there, we decided to order the new Spinach-Artichoke Dip. While the bread dippers could have been a bit crisper, the dip was very cheese and hot, so we didn't mind. It was yummy!

Our server, Dax, was excellent. He made sure our orders were perfect, and despite a little mix-up between tables, everything went really well. (My grandparents didn't even complain, and they complain about almost everything!)

We even ordered dessert....It was as yummy as it looks!

I had a chance to tell Dax that I should get the bill so that we didn't have to have our normal scuffle about who gets the bill...although my grandpa threatened to take off his belt and whip me...I seriously thought he was going to chase me around the restaurant...that would have been funny....but I ran to an empty booth and pulled out the cash before he could catch me. ;)

Overall, I think it was a great Father's day. It's always nice to get out and enjoy spending some time with family--especially when you get to eat good food!

Mom's Birthday Update:
I couldn't say much the other day because I think my Mom pops on here every once in a while and I didn't want to give away her surprise party. Ok, so the term "party" should be used loosely--it was only my aunt, dad, mom, and I, but it was still cheerful. My Dad took my Mom out to eat while my Aunt and I drove over to their house and brought out the cake and presents. Ken called us as they were leaving the restaurant in order to talk with me about "work" on Saturday. As soon as we heard their yard alarm chirp we lit the candles, grabbed the camera and turned off the lights...

Mom was surprised...she thought my aunt was there to get boxes for her move, and that I might have been there to spend the night since I had to be there bright and early the next day...Yippee! It worked! The best part is that my dad planned the whole thing....

OOoooooohhhh! I have a new neighbor!

(I wonder if this qualifies as stalking?)

Hope you have a great week! I'll be back at pH-Farms tomorrow...fertilizing and getting stuff ready for a new zone of trees. Pictures to come soon!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!

No..she'd kill me if I were to put her age--even if I don't think she looks that old. Oh well--Happy Birthday Mom! (Sorry you had to work today...where's the guy that makes the schedule? I'll take care of him for you!)

Update: I did hear back from my interviewer and she was EXTREMELY nice! She even mentioned that after I get my 18 graduate credits that I should give her a call. WOW!

I checked my AOL email and this is one of the links I found on AOL's main page. I thought it was pretty cute--even if it's not completely on the up and up...I'll have to ask our History Department Head.

Powered by AOL Video

Here are a few more results from the quizzes I have taken recently:

How Do Men See Me?

Men See You As Choosy

Men notice you light years before you notice them
You take a selective approach to dating, and you can afford to be picky
You aren't looking for a quick flirt - but a memorable encounter
It may take men a while to ask you out, but it's worth the wait

Unfortunately, the men never get to the asking out stage. However, if the guy from M. J. BarleyHopper's today--with the awesome glasses,the crystal blue eyes, and the laptop--reads this...I'd definitely like to meet with you again. (Although you may have to put up with me staring, or maybe even drooling, or maybe a little of both....) ;)

What Holiday Food Am I?
You Are a Gingerbread House

A little spicy and a little sweet, anyone would like to be lost in the woods with you.

Seriously...I'm starting to see a theme...No one in our house likes gingerbread...YUCK!

What Art Movement Am I?

You Are Surrealism

Dreamy and idealistic, you've created a world that is all your own.
It's very likely that you've either dabbled in drugs or are naturally trippy.
You are always trying to push beyond the boundaries of your culture and society.
You believe that art, love, and freedom can change the world.

Pretty funny since Salvador Dali is one of my favorite artists. The Dali Museum is just across the bridge in St. Petersburg, FL.

I'd better get off the computer and get ready for...oops! I'll have to fill you in later...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

i just couldn't keep away....

while i do not agree with some of his language and..ahem..gestures...it's a great video as to why teachers teach....

this one is hilarious...especially for english teachers....

something beautiful....

ok...i'm done for today. really....i am this time....

The Voices In My Head....

yes, that is plural--voices....i've been hearing voices in my head over the past few days, which is why i haven't slept much....maybe i am really going crazy (this is where my family and friends jump in with--"you're just now figuring this out"?) in any case, they've calmed down for the moment and are no longer screaming.

to catch you up on the drama that is my life, i went to my niece's end of the year program friday night. i could tell that she was nervous because she wasn't as animated as she usually is, but all went well. despite the fact that she had been on the principal's honor roll each grading period, she did not get an academic award. instead, she received something i think is so much "more better" as she would say...she received the christian servant's heart award for her first grade class! she is very loving and truly cares about what people think and want....a trait that many of us lose as we become jaded through life. hopefully her heart will continue to care despite the evil in life. after her awards program--it ended at 9:30 pm (hello--past everyone's bedtime!)--we drove back to my apartment for our "girl's night out." it wasn't much of a party since we were both zonked, but we did try to watch the little mermaid before we both travelled to dream land for the evening.

the next day we were scheduled to meet my mom at innisbrook so that we could all go swimming in their cool pool called the loch ness. that trip was an adventure in itself. i used google to get directions--although the directions are for the soon to be opened roads--so it took us roughly 2 hours to get there from where i live. (I could have gone to disney and back during that time.) we finally arrived around 2 pm, at which time we promptly changed and drove to the loch ness pool. it was very hot, and very crowded. thankfully these really nice girls gave up their chairs for us to use, otherwise i would have had to sit on the concrete--not cool--especially since i hate the outdoors. in any case, my mom and i tag-teamed my niece in the pool until my dad called and said that his conference was over for the day and that we were going to a bbq on sunset beach. we rushed back to the room, showered and were ready to go in the time it took my dad to get back to their room. of course, things are never easy, and being the typical man, he didn't really get directions, so we went to howard park instead of sunset beach since that was where he was told to go. basically, we took the scenic route and finally arrived at sunset beach after several phone calls to guide us. the food was great and i met a lot of the people that my dad talks about with work. we even stayed to catch the sunset...

..after the beautiful sunset we high-tailed it out of there and went to wendy's for chocolate frosties and then back to the room. despite the fact i was supposed to "return" my niece to my sister, we decided to stay the night since we were zonked--again. early the next morning, we hit the pools one last time and then flew to her house so that i could get back to mine in time to go shopping for "interview" clothes.

if you know anything about me, you know that i absolutely HATE shopping for clothes. i'm the ideal candidate for what not to wear because i can usually be found in jeans, a t-shirt, and my birks....yep, even at work. so, i begged my friend april to take me shopping since she actually has a clue and looks fabulous always. i didn't realize that shopping was actually a sport...she could have warned me, but i think she was afraid i'd run for it. we managed to find some fabulous outfits and 5 HOURS LATER left for home--in time for me to clean my apt., type up my resume, groom my toes for the cute shoes we found, and get my apt. ready for the floors to be cleaned the next day.

april and i discussed my job interview at length while shopping and i came to the realization--after much praying that now isn't really the time for me to try college-that i have my fingers and toes in too many pots and i have nothing left to stir with--hence that "still, small voice" that i had been trying to ignore. it was sunday evening, and a little late to try and cancel my interview, so i decided that i would go in and use it as a fact-finding mission.

scary music should be playing at this point.....after praying the 37 miles/45 minutes to the college, i asked the Lord that if it was not His will for me to have this job, to let me know within the first 5 minutes--something to the effect--"you're not qualified for this job." believe it or not, within 5 minutes, those words were actually uttered. at this point i should be heading towards the door and making a graceful exit, right? well, i decided to continue listening to the interviewer--i hate to disappoint people-- and managed to ask to teach one class even with all of the exceptions that would have to be made (mainly that i would have to get 18 credit hours in english graduate credits....i have a master's degree and none of my credits were in english, so i wasn't qualified)--me and my BIG mouth. the interviewer agreed to go to the dean of the school and ask for special permission for me to teach some classes in the evenings until i can get my graduate hours completed, or maybe just for the fall semester--depending on how things work out. that's when the small voice became a loud booming voice that kept multiplying and has been driving me crazy ever since.

so i finally get out of the interview and head back to my friend's office on campus to recap and go to lunch. as it turns out, we end up going to lunch the secretary of the person i just interviewed with--what a small world--because they're friends. i absolutely adore this new friend and hope we can keep in contact. so, we eat lunch at this great little tea shop in dade city and i finally leave to go home. (ok--i made a quick stop at my grandma's house and then i went home.)

after re-hashing the interview story many times, i am still struggling with how to crawl out of the mountain that had been created. i tried to sleep monday night, but it was pretty fitful because of the voice that was yelling about how i never listen. on tuesday, i finally worked up enough courage to tell her that the timing is just not right and i find out that she's in a meeting with the dean. (talk about quicksand.) i wasn't able to get through to her by phone, so i finally decided this morning (after another fitful night) that since she probably wouldn't be in today that maybe i should email her instead--maybe that would be faster since i can't get ahold of her by phone...right? well, i haven't received a response yet, but i imagine it's gonna be ugly--especially since she went to bat for me with the dean. my name will by mud forever with her--all because i didn't listen to the voices in my head.

i must admit though, even though i'm not sure if she received the email or not, i do feel better just by having sent the email. i'm at peace with this decision, and the voices have quieted down as well. i may not be great at listening to and following God's voice, but i am getting a little bit better...i think.

it reminds me a bit of the song something beautiful by the newsboys. check out their myspace page to listen to their song and you'll know what i mean....

Friday, June 8, 2007

Just Another Bump In the Road....

I know it probably feels like I've dropped off the face of the earth, but I really haven't--I've been working. "Working? I thought it was summer"? you ask. Yes, it is summer break, but the break part is really a misnomer. Anyone who is a teacher knows that we work more during the summer than we do during the school year--especially since we aren't getting paid during the summer months. I've been working at pH-Farms--putting in part of the irrigation system for two new zones of trees. Working outside with "the guys" is hard enough, but during summer--it's excruciating. Let's just say that even with 50 SPF I have a great farmer's tan started. I usually leave my house around 6:15 am -6:30 am and get home around 8 pm-9pm. Talk about long hours! By the time I've scrubbed the grime off of me and washed my work clothes for the next day, it's about 10:30pm and I'm back in bed to try and get a few hours of sleep before I do it all again the next day.

I know--your next question is WHY? That part is a little more complicated...maybe, not really...BILLS. I was addicted to my credit card and now I need to pay it off. I get paid well for working outside, and I don't have to worry about some one's parents calling me, or making sure I have the correct qualifications (degree) for the job. I work hard, and I get paid. It's as simple as that. No, the outdoors and I are NOT friends--I'm pretty much allergic to everything outside (THANK YOU LORD for drugs!), but I enjoy working and seeing the fruits of my labor. I know that all of this hard work will produce trees for developers to use in their projects--to beautify their designs. While that may not happen for another 5 years--I know that it will happen; whereas, with students, I never really know how they turn out. Yes, there's a few that come to visit a few years later, but usually I never find out what happens to them unless they become famous or infamous, as the case may be. This weekend I have a reprieve because the boss is giving a seminar at Innisbrook. (Yes, that's where Tiger Woods and the other great golfers play. Hopefully I'll meet some single, rich, Christian guy my age there. Hey! A girl can dream can't she?!)

I also have an interview on Monday with a college to possibly become an adjunct English teacher!!! (Kind of scary isn't it?) They were looking for some people to teach part-time in the fall and I decided to jump and see where I land. I actually have a friend that works at the college, so I asked her to get some information for me. As it turns out, if I have the qualifications for the job, I might possibly be hired to teach at least 4 classes! Here's the dilemma: I work full-time for one of the school systems in Florida and they're not going to let me miss work to teach at this college. I've also checked into a job-share, or part-time work, I was told that I should probably quit if this is what I plan to do. I make more money working for the school system, have job security and insurance, and I know that I enjoy working in the library. I had hoped to teach a class at this college to see if I like teaching college--after all, I haven't been in a classroom for over 3 years, and it was a middle-school classroom at that. If i liked teaching there, and they were interested in keeping me, and possibly making me full-time, I would leave my school system at the end of the school year. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to have this chance, so I need to make a HUGE decision...do I stay, or do I go? I've been praying for God's will rather than my own in this situation, because I tend to jump without looking. (I know that's called faith, but I'm getting older and can't afford (literally) to "start-over" if I leave this particular school-system.) AAAAARRRGGGHHHHH! Pray hard--my knees are getting weary.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Thanks Bary!

Here we are two days into Hurricane Season and I'm really sick of the talk about Hurricanes. I mean, let's face it...we live in Florida...it sticks out from North America into the water...storms come by EVERY YEAR...so why is this news? (And people wonder why I don't turn on the TV much....?)

We've had our second named storm--Tropical Storm Bary, which was just recently down-graded to a Tropical Depression. Thanks for all of the much needed rain Bary! Stop back by anytime this summer--we need the water! Of course I say this after it's stopped raining, but the news people keep telling me that now I have to beware of tornadoes because of the pressure in the area--which could be true since my head is going to explode at any moment from pressure. (Yep--I'm a human barometer...more on that at a possible later posting.)

My plans for today--rather than work at the farm today, I have a few movies to watch and a gazillion books to read! (I'm not kidding on the books thing...we had two shipments of new books come in before we left work for the summer, plus I have the Florida Teens Read books to read, plus my Spring Read Thing books, plus LifeWay was having a sale on books the other day, plus all of the books that my friends and family have let me borrow, plus I'm going to join the Summer Reading Challenge...I think. Yikes! I'm already stressed out and I LOVE to read...There went the summer!)