Saturday, February 28, 2009

Eye Buy Direct Fashion Eye Glasses

Man wearing glasses

is a prescription eyewear website offering an extensive range of high quality, affordable frame and lens packages. The site offers its budget-conscious and style-savvy shoppers a fast, simple and efficient way to browse an extensive online catalogue, and enables them to purchase eyewear from the comfort of their own homes.

As a manufacturer, supplier and retailer of optical supplies, EyeBuyDirect is not only involved in every step of the eyewear production and distribution process, but has also developed an efficient, streamline approach to the optics supply chain.

Like everyone else I'm watching every penny but when you need glasses you need glasses. That's why I'm impressed with the fact that they only take about ten days to ship.

You might be nervous about ordering glasses online. I know what you're thinking. Hey how will I know what these will look on me. By using their EyeTry feature, you can upload a photo of yourself to virtually try-on your desired frames and choose the style, size and color that you like the best.

Want to win some glasses from eyebuydirect? Just check out Mommy Googles for more information. She's giving away a a coupon code to order your own glasses directly from EyeBuyDirect for fashion or for prescription use (not including sunglasses and designer frames)

Mommy Goggles

The Fragrance of Lilys

fill my bedroom. Yesterday Darryl had those flowers I won sent to school. Talk about attention. Everyone was sooooo very jealous. I've never had lilies sent to me before. They smell beautiful. Everyone should get Lily's at least once in their lives.

This morning I had to go to the library to drop off the books and I found one of the books I wanted to read, Dewey The Library Cat. I just started but I do remember that there was an article about this cat years ago in the papers. I also checked out the movie Since You Went Away. This is one of those movies from the 19040's era that I love. Movies from that time are usually romantic and filled with yearning and longing but patriotism too.

As long as I was in Cartersville I stopped at Burgers Market. I've been meaning to do that for awhile. They had some great deals on spring flowers like daffodils and tulips. Funny it doesn't quite feel like Spring yet. As a matter of fact the weather man is calling for snow here in Atlanta.

We just went to dinner at Chili's. I was doing a BZZ for BZZ Agent bzz for teir new Guiltless Grill. We tried the steak Asada and it was good. Our entree was free but Darryl decided to get us both a margarita. We love their margaritas because they are tasty but not expensive.

What blogs did I enter? See below:

Prize: Four bars of soap from Bodys Bliss.

Prize: Choice of glass pendant from Laughing Vixen Lounge (ARV $9.50).

Prizes (5): Copy of On the Line by Eric Ripert and Christine Muhlke (ARV $23.10).

Prize: Air Bud Special Edition DVD.

Prize: $50 Photo Card Creations coupon.

Prize: Autographed copy of Bookmarked for Death by Lorna Barrett,

Prize: Address book from Celery Street.

Prize: Variety of Bath and body products.

Prizes (5): Softsoap Body Butter Coconut Scrub.

Prize: Bombshell Studios houndstooth thick knit scarf (ARV $45).

Prize: Mardi Gras prize pack.

Prize: Doll of choice from Only Hearts Club (ARV $15.99-$18).

Friday, February 27, 2009

Get The Taste Of Italy, Delivered Right To Your Door


I just love lasagna. I love making lasagna. It’s the cleaning up after I’ve made lasagna that I’m not real fond of. That’s why I was EXCITED when I saw Rockin' Mama
is giving away Pizza Hut Lasagna and breadsticks.

What? You didn’t know that Pizza Hut has lasagna now? Close your eyes. Imagine layers of lasagna noodles and real ricotta, Parmesan and Romano cheeses smothered in Italian-seasoned meat sauce and freshly oven-baked with a layer of melted cheese. Oh I can almost smell it. How about you? Pizza Hut even brought their new Tuscani Lasagna all the way to Italy where it received rave reviews.

Come on now. You know you want it. I know I do. So check out Rockin' Mama and learn how you and your family can be sharing that lasagna soon.

Good luck! Contest ends March 12, 2009

A Year Of Firsts


Dr. Evans had a meeting with the seniors this morning. I didn't know what the meeting was about and I thought it might be about the prom. I was very wrong. You see every year we recognize a Star student. This is the student who scored the highest on the SATs. That student then selects the Star Teacher. The teacher this student felt was most influential to her. Well this year, for the first time since Rome High School was in existence, our Star Student is an African American. Her name is Ms. Tereon Roden. Some of my students were walking on air. One said, "First a black President and now this." She was grinning from ear to ear.

Our Star Teacher is Dawn Faulkner. I love Mrs. Faulkner. Her mother used to teach with me and I loved her too. They are both amazing women. I'm so very happy for her.

Well I got my last evaluation. Despite all my fears it was a good one. No mention of me having to climb on top of a desk to turn on an overhead projector that wouldn't come on. I felt relieved.

It was also birthday cake day today. Every month at the end of the month Dr. Evans buys a birthday cake for all the birthdays that happened that month. The cakes are always so yummy. One day I'll have to ask where they buy it.

My little dog got shaved today. He always looks so handsome that way. I fell in love with a dog that I haven't met in person. I saw his story on the bulletin board at the vet and I just wanted to cry. The dog, named Slash, had been stabbed several times and his belly was slit open. Someone found the dog and brought him in to the vet. They saved his life and said he's just a loving gentle dog. Oh I just wanted to love that dog. I wanted to meet him and take him home. Darryl wasn't there because he's working late at the other house so there is no new dog.

I received and email today saying that I won the CD The Pickle Jar from carp(e) libris reviews.

Here are the blog contests I entered today.

Prizes (2): Airbud: Special Edition on DVD.

Prize: Laundry liquid, antibacterial spray cleaner and lemongrass soap from Ecostore USA.

Prize: Cotton Baby Sling in Zebra Twill Print from New Native, Inc.

Prize: Winner's choice of tutu or cape from Love September.

Prize: Scentchips burner of choice, 6 oz box of Scentchips in choice of scent and box of tea light candles

Win the Fairytale Truffles from Fairytale Brownies (ARV $24.95).

Prize: Copy of Cluck: Murder Most Fowl by Eric D. Knapp (ARV $15.99).

First Prize: One pound box of English Toffee Anytime toffee of choice.
Second Prize: One-half pound box of English Toffee Anytime toffee of choice.
Third Prizes (5): English Toffee Anytime Triple Taste-The-Toffee Sampler

Grand Prize: Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless Pro fry pan.
Runner-Up Prize: $10 Savespro gift certificate.

Grand Prize: 101 Dalmatians 2-Disc Special Edition and Wall•E DVDs.
Runner-Up Prize: $10 Savespro gift certificate.

Prizes (2): Silver makeup bag, two bottles ROHTO eye drops, Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels, Sephora Lash and Brow Mascara, Scott Barnes Eye Ice Eyeshadow, and gel eye mask.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Logo Game

logo game

As part of the Business Plan project the kids have to do at the end of the year, they have to create a logo for their company.

My first year I simply listed it as a requirement making the huge mistake that one should never make in education. That mistake is that the kids know what something is. Who could blame me for thinking that? Look at your typical teenager and they are a walking billboard for logos. I had even said "You know like the Nike Woosh." They nodded and acted as if they knew what I was talking about. Then they asked over and over, "What does this mean?" as they pointed to the word logo.

I didn't make that mistake again. I found a cool game online and that's how we covered logos before they had to make one. Now when they do the assignment they don't ask me what I mean by LOGO. Here is the game if you'd like to play. How well you know the every day logos?

Why not play all five versions and no fair peeking. You should have seen how much fun the kids had as they shouted out answers and how disappointed they were when they got one wrong. It was too funny.

This next link is one that surprised me. They had to select the right logo for various websites. You would think they would recognizes facebook and myspace but they got it wrong in both classes. How observant are you?

When I got home I checked my email and found this email:

Your number was chosen as the winner of the one-year subscription to Mother Earth News

More good news on the contest front. I won Copy of American Rust by Philipp Meyer and a Davidson Chocolate Company Sampler. My Meerkat Manor DVD came today also.

We are still Watching an episode or two of Dallas every night. Tonight's show involved Lucy getting married. This was supposed to be a widely watched episode.

I am interested in one of those blog contests for a pair of glasses. That would be great. Below you will find the blog contests I entered:

Prize: Pair of eyeglasses [excluding sunglasses and designer frames] (ARV up to $100).

Prize: Playlist CD.

Prize: Pair of eyeglasses [excluding sunglasses and designer frames] (ARV up to $100).

Prize: Pair of glasses from

good luck

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

One Of My Students Won Today

View of a couple in sports jerseys celebrating their team?s victory

I'm getting ready to teach my students about advertising. Monday I will discuss premiums. Tuesday I will cover contest, and Wednesday I will cover sweepstakes. The kids have been bugging to learn this stuff for weeks. One of my students was friends with a boy who had me last year. He knew about Blingo from him. He asked me if I'd won from the lately. You see I had won a portable DVD player from them. The kids were all over it wanting to know about how to register. I told them to wait until Wednesday. Of course the one student told the other who then registered for Blingo. He did a Blingo search today at the beginning of class today and BAM he won $100. They gave him a choice between $100 Walmart Card or a $100 in cash. He picked cash.

So if you haven't signed up for BLINGO let me tell you how easy it is to do. First let me invite you to be my BLINGO friend:


Once you sign up, everything else is really easy. Once you've registered simply search. If you search at the right time you can WIN. Each search (up to 25 per day) is a chance to win great prizes instantly. To date Blingo has given away 92,649 prizes, and new prizes are announced on the site every day! They've given away lots of prizes every day. 92,649 to date!

I had hoped that package at the post office was my IPod but it wasn't. It was the Valentine Cards and wouldn't you know they came postage due. The envelope was huge so who wouldn't know you needed more postage? Oh well.

My son Michael just called. He will be leaving for Iraq on Monday. I knew this day would come and now it's here. I feel so incredibly sad. He says he will be gone a year. He says he will be safe but saying and being can be two things.

Here are some blog contests I entered:

Enter to win a gift basket with a hard copy of the kids book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" and 3 different flavors of homemade cookies!

Prize: Autographed Soul CD.

Prizes (2): Breaking Bad: The Complete First Season DVD and t-shirt

Prize: He’s Just Not That Into You soundtrack CD and hoodie.

Prize: Copy of The Penguin That Hated The Cold by Barbara Brenner.

Prizes (2): Mary Poppins 45th Anniversary Edition DVD.

Prize: Pair of eyeglasses from

Prize: Winner's choice of Cowboy or Cowgirl shirt from Chew Chews closet.

Prize: Organic cotton t-shirt from The Green Path Company.

Prizes (4): Breaking Bad Season One DVD.

Prize: Beverly Hills Chihuahua DVD.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Job Shadow

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez Speaks On Unemployment Numbers

Today was Job Shadow Day for our students. Job Shadow is an academically motivating activity designed to give kids the unique opportunity of an up-close look at the world of work and provide the answer to the commonly asked question, “Why do I have to learn this?” I think this is an excellent opportunity for our students and I wish more had participated.

This morning I found out this morning I won: Pre-paid access code for state and federal tax preparation and E-filing with TurboTax Deluxe Online Edition and instruction

Then when I returned home I found two boxes on my doorstep. they both contained the same prize which is Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook cookbook and a coupon for a free Hunts product (ARV $26.95). That was from a recipe contest that I entered sponsored by ConAgra foods. I entered twice and I won two cookbooks.

There's also a mystery package waiting to be picked up at the post office. I owe 966 cents postage on that but I wonder if it's m IPod.

I'm also pretty thrilled because I'm back up to three followers. That means either someone came back or I have a new follower. YIP YIP YIPPEE!!!!!!!! I can't tell you just how thrilled I am. I'm trying to figure how to make this blog work and I sure could use some suggestions.

I seem to be doing pretty well with blog contests so I'm going to list the ones I entered today:

Prize: $30 Good For the Kids gift certificate.

Prize: Copy of The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick (ARV $17).

Prize: He's Just Not That Into You CD soundtrack and hoodie.

Prize: He's Just Not That Into You soundtrack CD and hoodie.

Prize: One dozen Toffee Cookies from sugar + spice.

Prize: Bamboo slippers and pair of hand towels.

Prize: Fake Bake Original Self-Tanning Lotion, Lip Glosses and Bronzer.

Prizes (2): Two bottles of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce.

Prize: Autographed Soul CD.

Prize: Copy of How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher's Salary by Danny Kofke.

The Freak Show That Is The Octo-Mom

Nadya Denise Doud-Suleman gained international attention when she gave birth to octuplets in January 2009. The Suleman octuplets are only the second full set of octuplets to be born alive in the United States.

Suleman stated that in 2008 she had eight embryos left over from her previous IVF treatments. She explained at the time that she requested that all of the remaining embryos be implanted, despite the norm for a woman her age being two or three implanted at the most. Suleman states that part of her reasoning for attempting a sixth pregnancy was so that the frozen embryos would not be destroyed. Supposedly, the six remaining embryos were implanted and two of the embryos split into twins, resulting in a total of eight embryo.

While Suleman claims to be able to independently support her children, saying that she is planning to return to school to complete her Master's degree in counseling, but records show that Suleman is currently unemployed after having received disability between 2002 and 2008 as payment for a back injury suffered during a riot in September of 1999.

So just how does Ms. Suleman plan to support her children? She wants her very own reality show and it appears she just might get one.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Win One Dozen Cupcakes From Cupcakes Gourmet.

Smiling Little Boy Holding Birthday Cupcake

I think cupcakes should be the national dessert of America. I love cupcakes, especially the icing.

I found out about Cupcakes Gourmet from the blog contest on Busy Mom. Cupcakes Gourmet embodies the joyful and celebratory side of life. Cupcakes Gourmet uses natural ingredients of the highest quality, without harmful trans-fats. Careful attention is given to each gourmet ingredient to ensure that each flavor is dreamy, decadent, and divine. The bakery employs a back-to-basics approach with each gourmet cupcake being lovingly hand-made for your enjoyment.

Do you like cupcakes? Would you like them shipped to your house? Me too. Why not check out the Busy Mom Cupcakes Gourmet Contest. For the chance to win this great PRIZE: One dozen cupcakes from Cupcakes Gourmet.

4,500 People Waiting In Line For Government Housing

People Walking Past Homeless Man On City Street

I stopped by our Guidance Office today and noticed the television had a news alert running across the screen. It said, "Chaos in FORT LAUDERDALE people seeking government housing." There were 3,000 available applications for Section 8 housing, a federal program that provides rent subsidies to landlords to help low-income people find affordable housing. The application process shut down early and the police were called when the crowd "grew unruly".

So this is what we've come to.

Darryl was supposed to hear today about a second interview. This was with that company he interviewed with last week. The original interview hadn't gone as well as I had hoped. Still I was kind of hoping the man he interviewed with was being honest when he said he was going to set Darryl up with a second interview. Darryl was told he would hear back by Friday or today. I had hoped it would be last Friday. When he hadn't heard back I felt well I guess he's not getting the job. Then he reminded me the guy said, maybe Monday. So I pinned my hopes on Monday. No second interview materialized.

He also heard back from a company where we thought Darryl would be a good fit. Turns out they let him know they would not be hiring anyone for that position due to the economy.

I know I needed one more observations for school and wouldn't you know it that happened today. Of course I had lots of things go wrong. It started out with my overhead projector not working and requiring me to climb on a desk to reach it and ended with a student turning back to look at my boss and asking me outloud "When's she leaving?" Great just great. I wonder how that observation will go.

I was glad to get home. Glad to sit down, have a cupcake, and watch Dallas. Who knew I'd get so into that? Oh we just found out who shot JR. I can't say who did it right now.

After Dallas it's time to enter contests. Entering contests help me detox and release some stress. Here are some of the blog contests I've entered:

Prize: The Learning Tower from Little Partners (ARV $200).

Prize: The Learning Tower from Little Partners (ARV $200).

Prize: Bikini Kitchen Gift Basket which consists of Booty Butter Tanning Lotion, t-shirt, beach tote and more.

Prize: Two High School Musical 3: Senior Year Extended Edition DVDs.

Prize: Zenses Rainforest video game for Nintendo DS from The Game Factory

Prize: Pair of glasses from

I just noticed that I lost another follower. How very sad. I wish them well.

Have You Filed Your Taxes Yet?

Thinkstock Single Image Set

I haven't. Scratch that, my husband hasn't. When it was just me I filed my taxes the last Saturday of February. It used to be a hassle until I discovered Turbo Tax years ago. It made filing taxes, while not a party, certainly a lot more easy to do. When I married, eleven years ago, my husband took over the taxes because he had his own business and there were way too many deductions for me to do without having him there to question.

Then, three years ago, I talked him into using Turbo Tax. He doesn't have his own business anymore and he was looking to streamline the whole tax process.

What I love about Turbo Tax is that it asks you questions and helps you find tax credits that you might have overlooked. What could be better?

Feed your Pig, Intuit, and Turbo Tax are sponsoring a giveaway for Pre-paid access code for state and federal tax preparation and E-filing with TurboTax Deluxe Online Edition and instruction

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Blog Contests I Entered February 21st


Here are some of the blog contests I entered today:

Win one of 3 eco-friendly TuckerBags to carry your groceries or anything else.

(3): Shaun the Sheep: Back in the Ba-ath DVD. (3): Thomas & Friends: Railway Friends DVD

Seal Soul Autographed CD

A 3-day Macon, Georgia Getaway for two, which includes:
A southern comfort weekend welcome package compliments of Macon’s newest hotel property, Comfort Suites Hotel.
Around Town Tour tickets with admission into eight downtown attractions. Souvenir package included.
Private tea party in the formal gardens at the Cannonball House.
An after hours, behind-the-scenes, all access guided tour of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame with drinks, refreshments and the opportunity to meet and get autographs from a Hall of Famer. Tour also includes a 25% discount on all merchandise in the Locker Room Gift Shop.
Limited edition print from Macon’s annual International Cherry Blossom Festival.
Champagne brunch at Market City Café.
Dinner at downtown grill.

one rock the tote bag from baby star

LashFood conditioner for lashes

The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus: Collector's Edition Megaset

Prize: Gift basket from Fruit, Nut, & Candle Gift Baskets.

Prize: Tote bag filled with Kimberly Clark products and Thom Felicia’s new book Thom Filicia Style.

Prizes (3): Phineas and Ferb: The Daze of Summer DVD

Prizes (3): Madagascar Escape 2 Africa DVD

Prizes (2): Two bottle's of Country Bob's All-Purpose Sauce.

I'm curious about this sweepstakes (which is btw expired)

Rohm and Haas Company - $pruce Up Your Home Contest The Grand Prize was up to $12,000 in cash and/or services for an exterior house paint job; an $8,000 gift card to be used for additional home improvement; a 5’ - 6’ Colorado blue spruce tree that will be planted on the winner’s property by the Arbor Day Foundation; and a 6-month membership to the Arbor Day Foundation (ARV $20,410). You had to submit a brief essay in 200 words or less describing why your home is deserving of an exterior painting makeover and include a photograph of the exterior of your home.

According to the rules the 20 finalist were supposed to be posted on their web on February 10th. I figured mine didn't win when I hadn't heard anything. I was a bit disappointed but you know I always like to see the winners so I can get an idea of what I did wrong or what I could do the next time. so here it is February 21st and there are no winners posted. People were supposed to be able to vote from February 10th through March 10th. I wonder what's going on with that. It's supposed to be part judging and part voting.

Manga Carrabba’s Italian Grill

I recently won a gift certificate for $50 from Carrabba’s Italian Grill. I’ll have to be honest. My husband and I both love Italian food but don’t generally like chain Italian restaurants. When I lived just outside of DC I sometimes drove all the way to Baltimore to eat at one of the great Italian Restaurants in Little Italy. You were guaranteed never to leave the table stuffed and mumbling something about how you ate too much. This didn’t mean that you regretted eating too much, rather it was an acknowledgement of having done so. I can still close my eyes and almost taste the home made canola from one of the bakeries there.

For Darryl and I always seem to find a favorite restaurant no matter where we live. There is a recipe for perfect Italian restaurant which is part food, part atmosphere, part service, and some je ne sais pas. I do know when I’ve found it though.

I had never been to Carrabba’s before but Darryl had been once before on a working dinner. We went to have a late lunch so that we wouldn’t have to rush. Before we went though we checked out their menu on line. It was a difficult choice but we were both in the mood for a nice steak dinner.

When we arrived at the Carrabba’s in Kennesaw, Georgia we didn’t have a long wait. Within five minutes we found ourselves sitting in an intimate booth. Big points for booths as Mr. Thrifty and I prefer booths especially in Italian restaurants. Our waiter came right out and took our drink order. I was in the mood for a glass of Sangria.

We both ordered a steak. I ordered the Filet Scampi and my husband ordered a Filet Fiorentina. Steaks and other items from the Wood Burning Grill come with a choice of house salad or soup and two sides. We both chose the house salad with its creamy parmesan dressing. For my sides I decided to try the spaghetti pomodoro and the cavatappi amatricina. Darryl decided to try the garlic mashed potatoes as one of his sides. While we waited for our salad our waiter brought out a basket of bread and seasoned olive oil.

The lighting was low and Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra played in the background. We had come hungry but didn’t stay that way long. Our salad came out to the table pretty quickly. I don’t eat much red meat so for me steak is a real treat. I just didn’t know what a real treat I was going to have. My steak was so tender it almost melted in my mouth.

Now, I’m really being won over. Great food, a friendly server, and the servings were abundonza!!!! I wound up taking half of my meal home. You see I HAD to save room for dessert. We had a coupon for a desserts sampler. It included three desserts from a special menu. This gave us a chance to try their Sogna di Ciccolata, Dessert Rosa, and Cannoli. Oh YUM on the Cannoli. It was just as good as the ones I used to eat back in Baltimore.

The Managing Partner Michael Shroeder even came by our table to talk with us. This made our meal even better. In small family run Italian Restaurants you often meet the owner. He usually comes by to talk to you and ask you how your meal was. I seldom experience that in most chain restaurants. This is definitely a place we would LOVE to come back to visit.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pizza Hut's NEW Tuscani Lasagna


Can you taste it? Layers of lasagna noodles and real ricotta, Parmesan and Romano cheeses smothered in Italian-seasoned meat sauce and freshly oven-baked with a layer of melted cheese, doesn't it sound good? You'll get the taste of Italy, delivered right to your door. Get over 3 lbs. of pasta plus 5 breadsticks for a mere $14.99. Best of all you don't do any of the cooking or the cleaning up.

How would you like to have some for dinner...FREE? Well it turns out that My Trendy Tykes is sponsoring a giveaway.

She is giving away some Pizza Hut Tuscani Lasagna and breadsticks!! I'm hungry how about you? Well head on over and enter this contest. Are you still here?

Edward Nathaniel Bell Becomes Virginia's 103 Execution


This seems to be a week of sad posts. My brother Bill is a former Winchester, Virginia policeman. This is why the murder of Sgt. Richard Timbrook hit too close to home for our family. They say Winchester is a city, but even back in 1999 it still seemed to be more of a very large town than a city. People knew one another through school or through relatives so the death of one person touched so many in the city. This was particularly sad because his wife was pregnant with their only child. His son Ricky Lee Timbrook II born on December 22, 1999.

Below is a newspaper account of the death of Sgt. Timbrook:

At approximately 11:53 p.m. on October 29th, 1999, City of Winchester Police Sergeant Ricky L. Timbrook was fatally wounded while in foot pursuit with a subject who violated probation. While Sgt. Timbrook was pursuing the suspect, the suspect stopped, turned around, and fired one shot from a .38 caliber handgun striking Sgt. Timbrook on the forehead killing him instantly. Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook was pronounced dead at 12:25 a.m. October 30th at the Winchester Medical Center.

The story was all over the local news every day. This was an officer who received numerous commendations, awards, and recognition's for his law enforcement service. He served as a DARE Officer for the city school system, a Field Training Officer, a Defensive Tactics Instructor, and was a member of the Special Operations Team (SWAT). It could have just as easily have been my brother.

After the trial and conviction of Edward Nathaniel Bell, the story began to fade from view. The media found new stories to chase. Winchester actually resembles the city I was told that it always was. There is suburban sprawl from DC commuters who built their homes in the area to escape the crime and violence of the big city. The small school, where I spent my senior year with 98 other upper classmen is no longer used as a high school. The high school is now a huge sprawling brick building built in what used to be an apple orchard when my family first moved there. The very things people fled the city for, congestion and crime, are a part of the fabric of this once bucolic area.

Then today I saw an article that brought this case back to me. The headlines screamed “Virginia Inmate Forcibly Carried to Death Chamber.” Wow. Can you imagine that? Six stocky corrections officers pulled him through the doorway and lifted him onto the gurney.

Since the execution happened in Virginia I wondered if I was familiar with the case. The name of the man who was executed didn’t ring a bell at first. The victim’s name seemed familiar but not in an instant recognition. It was one of those recognitions where you ask yourself, “Where have I heard that name before?” You have to realize that I only lived in that area for a couple of years. My family still lives there but I don’t have friends that I catch up with there.

Then the article mentioned that his victim had been a police officer in Winchester. It all came back to me. The article said that Bell said, "To the Timbrook family, you definitely have the wrong person," Bell said in the death chamber, addressing the victim's family. "The truth will come out one day. This here, killing me, there's no justice about it."

We seem to be so black and white on matters like abortion and the death penalty. The shades of gray are interpreted as if you are with us or against us. I have wrestled with this topic for years. As a Catholic, I believe in the sanctity of life. Does being against the death penalty mean that I don’t honor the sanctity of Sgt. Timbrook? Does being for the death penalty mean that I don’t honor church doctrine? The often asked question arises; once again, does one person’s execution bring back the loved ones who were murdered?

I’ve honestly wondered if my belief would become more concrete if I was present at one of these executions. Would I see it as being morally right and correct or would I question my own moral fiber by having been present at the planned death of another? As the victim of a brutal crime myself I can understand the desire for vengeance. My husband often says they should execute more. Having taught students who were charged with murder it’s hard to say sure, kill them, they’re animals. Often they have relatives and friends that love them. Having taught students who were murdered, I understand the grief, anger, and desire for retribution of those left behind.

I remember years ago, another inmate at Jarret, argued his innocence to any and all who would listen to him. He had loud vocal critics of the death penalty like Phil Donahue arguing his case. In that case of Roger Keith Coleman had been convicted of murdering and raping his sister-in-law. If you heard the story told on TV you almost questioned it yourself. Was this an innocent man you would ask? At the time DNA was still new.

Coleman was asking for a lie detector test to prove his innocence. He was transported the 70 miles by van from death row to a state police post in Hanover County, where the test was administered about 9:30 a.m. He failed but you didn’t find that out until the next day. Perhaps as damaging to his case as the polygraph were DNA tests on semen samples collected from McCoy's body. By one interpretation, those tests showed Coleman among just 0.2 percent of the population that could have committed the rape. Once again we didn’t know the outcome of this until the next day. We were told that state law forbids admitting new evidence a certain number of days after trial. Donhue, kept saying over and over again, “Why won’t the governor allow DNA evidence.” It seemed as if he was saying that the evidence would bear out his claims of innocence.

I questioned whether the state was executing an innocent man in my name. I questioned whether I was a bad person because I felt he should be executed. I questioned why we seemed to care so much about the person who would be executed and ignored the life snuffed out by Coleman. Why didn’t the victim get a reprieve?

He spoke words similar to Bell, "An innocent man is going to be murdered tonight. When my innocence is proven, I hope Americans will realize the injustice of the death penalty as all other civilized countries have. My last words are to the woman I love. Love is eternal. My love for you will last forever. I love you Sharon.” (his girlfriend) That night, I prayed that we did the right thing. The whole day had been spent with talking heads saying why Coleman shouldn’t be executed.

In the end a man died. A man who was a husband, a son, a friend, a co-worker, and a father is gone. A young child is growing up without his father. The world has lost a man who wanted to do so much for his community. Police Sergeant Ricky L. Timbrook did not deserve to die. His wife didn’t send him off to work expecting to lose the person she loved. The question is, what do we do now? Do we warehouse murders? Do we put them to death? I wish I had the answer.

Bell was the 103rd Virginia inmate executed since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976. Virginia ranks second only to Texas in the number of executions since then.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gary H. Nichols - Bristol, TN

I carpool every day with a co-worker, Kim Nichols. These past few months have been very difficult as her brother was diagnosed with cancer.

I never knew Gary, but I do know that the love Kim felt for her brother knew no bounds. We talked often about what a wonderful man her brother was and you can see by the outpouring of love expressed on his guestbook that Gary touched the lives of many people.

I know that she had wanted to spend spring break with her brother but I also know that no amount of time is ever enough to spend with the one you love. Even if you were allowed that week, that day, that moment, our heart always screams for more. I know she was grateful for the opportunity to spend the holidays with her family.

Last week, she and I talked about things to do when your loved one passes away. I told her that when Alice passed we asked that the school didn’t buy us flowers. It’s not that flowers aren’t a loving gesture they are. We just felt it’s a lasting and loving gesture to donate to a favorite charity. For us, we donated money to a hospice house, run by the Catholic Church for the indigent and homeless.

Kim thought it would be a nice gesture to donate a book to the library in her brother’s name. I think that’s very sweet and we plan to take up money to do just that.

Below you will find his funeral announcement:

Gary H. Nichols


Died: 02/12/2009
Visitation: The family will receive friends from 6-7:45PM prior to the service on Tuesday.
Funeral Service: Funeral service will be held Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 8:00 PM in the Weaver Funeral Home Chapel with Minister Chris Salley officiating.
Interment: The burial will be held Wednesday at 11:00AM in Gunnings Cemetery.

Gary H. Nichols, age 44, of Blountville, TN, passed away Friday, February 13, 2009 at his home. He was born October 31, 1964 in Bristol, VA. He lived his life in the Blountville area. Gary was an employee of Sullivan Co Hwy Dept. and a 1983 graduate of Central High School.

Survivors include:
Parents: Kammie R. and Kathryn Sells Nichols
Sisters: Kimberly Nichols and Sherry Lynn Huntley and husband Charlie
Nephew: Bob Alley
Nieces: Amanda Huntley and Victoria “Tori” Huntley
Several aunts, uncles and cousins

Funeral service will be held Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 8:00 PM in the Weaver Funeral Home Chapel with Minister Chris Salley officiating. The burial will be held Wednesday at 11:00AM in Gunnings Cemetery.Pallbearers will be Robert Alley, Anthony Edwards, Charles Huntley, Jr., Eric Jenkins, Jimmy Miller and Ricky Ford. Honorary Pallbearers will be employees of Sullivan Co. Hwy Dept. The family will receive friends from 6-7:45PM prior to the service on Tuesday. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Memorial and Honor Program St. Jude Children Program at 501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105-1942.

Guest book

(You might have to refresh the guest book a couple of times if it doesn't come up at first)

Another Economy Driven Murder-Suicide

Marking at line graph

BELLE VALLEY, Ohio — A man who told a sheriff's dispatcher he had money problems strangled his wife and 11-year-old son, then shot and killed himself, authorities said Wednesday.

Theodore Bayly, 39, called the dispatcher around 2 a.m., saying he had already killed his family and was going to take care of himself, Noble County Sheriff Landon Smith said.

Bayly told the dispatcher in a seven-minute call that he was having financial problems and "couldn't afford it anymore," Smith said. He told the dispatcher where to find the bodies and then hung up.

Authorities found Bayly's body on an embankment about 35 feet from the family's mobile home near Belle Valley, about 75 miles east of Columbus. He had a shotgun wound to the head, Smith said.

Bayly's wife, Janice Bayly, 40, was found inside the home, and their son, Colton, was in the back seat of a vehicle, Smith said.

The boy appeared to have been placed in the car after being killed, Smith said. A coroner determined the mother and son had been strangled, and Smith told the Columbus Dispatch that an electrical cord had been used.

He said he didn't have details about the family's financial situation.

Darryl heard from another company he applied where he applied and was told they were going with another applicant. Last week another company said that they decided that they weren't going to fill a position.

I'm kind of putting all my hope on this interview he might have coming up.

As far as school goes there are two more casualties as far as jobs. I don't post positions or names but one will be leaving due to retirement and that's not so bad. I will miss that teacher.

On the positive front I heard about the Fish 104.7 FM contest we entered. They had a contest for budget Romeo. This was an essay contest and I thought I did pretty well. The prize was a mountain cabin getaway. We didn't win. Still they took the time to send us a hand written card and send us a book called "The Love List" even though there was no mention of a runner up prize.

The really exciting news is that I won an iPod Touch! I've been wanting a nice iPod for awhile. I know what Darryl will say. Sell it. I won't though. I just can't believe it I'm just so very excited. I won this from a blog contest.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Today Started Out Rainy


I drove to work in the dark with the rain coming down making it difficult to see. It cleared up later in the day only to find us under a tornado warning. As I sat in the faculty meeting at the end of the day I watched the dark clouds in the distance.

On my way home I was listening to the radio when the warning changed to a watch. The weather alert said a tornado had touched down in Cartersville near Cass and was headed towards White around 4:35.

The back storm clouds weren't the only thing making me nervous today. In the faculty meeting we were notified that things next year are looking even worse. Originally we didn't think we would be cutting any teachers. We were notified today that class sizes would increase next year and that they will be eliminating twelve faculty jobs system wide. I could just feel my stomach drop. Dr. Evans says he hopes that this can be handled through attrition.

For the remainder of the year there will be no money for field trips, no money for professional leave or conferences. The budget was explained as to why there were new computers going into many of the rooms at Rome High in the face of all these cut backs. You see in schools there are different funds and each fund spells out specifically what can be purchased with those monies. You can't use Title One Money for things like field trips, etc, etc. So there was money for new computers but not necessarily for teacher salaries next year.

Even while I am typing this I can hear another storm headed this way. We can see the lightening in the distance and hear the thunder rumble. I hope that it isn't going to be as bad as the earlier storm.

I saw an article on the news about a blog where the woman was going to live on $1,500 a year with a family of four. Actually that's a little deceptive because they aren't living off that. That's the amount they are spending each month on their personal items. Here's what it says:

On 1/1/09, my family (2 adults, 1 preschooler and 1 toddler) decided to create the challenge to live on $1,500 for one year for groceries, household items and personal expenses (haircuts, medical copays). I started diligently using coupons in July 2008 and we built up a decent stockpile last year. Our 2009 goal is to make the most of what we have in our household and see if it is really possible for four people to survive on $1,500 for one year.

They are living off stockpiles and she doesn't count the cost of those stockpiles in her calculations. It's good to want to save money but I think you should be honest on how you are able to do it. I checked out her blog and it's really a story and that aspect is good. I have some articles in my thrifty maven but there are also things that are just about savings.

Perhaps I should rethink what I'm doing with Thrifty Maven. I'm thinking about writing a series of articles about dealing with layoffs. I will have to speak with Darryl though.

I have to close before the storm hits.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Teacher Job Fair Cancelled in Cowetta County

statue of romulus and remus

I was listening to the radio this morning and I heard that Fayette County Teacher Job Fair is CANCELLED CANCELLED CANCELLED CANCELLED. They believe that they can get by with their current teachers since they are going to increase class size.

They aren't alone, Cowetta School school system officials have canceled the annual teacher job fair as officials predict a shortfall for the next school year because of the recession and state funding cuts. The positions for the new Brooks Elementary School scheduled to open in August will be filled in-house, by personnel from other schools and the central office. He says personnel will be shifted into new positions while others take on responsibilities for those retiring or leaving.

The school system predicts a shortfall of between $5.4 million and $9.5 million for the 2009-2010 school year.

As I said before I already know that I will be losing extended day as will another teacher in the Vocational Department. She will be joining my department and her VERY SUCCESSFUL program, one she built up from scratch, will be dissolved completely in a couple of years. It will be gradual, inasmuch as Juniors will be able to finish up and that's about it.

Just the other day I learned that California might be giving their employees IOU instead of paychecks. Now today I learn that Kansas may be issuing IOUs for their tax refunds. Can you imagine me doing my taxes and sending the state and IOU? On the positive side I guess it wouldn't hurt my political ambitions.

Darryl told me last night that he saw a Kroger commercial. It featured a man saying that they had easy to create recipes and they have everything there. You can even sample things. He and I both feel they are doing this campaign because the role reversals in household wage earners. More women are working outside of the home while men are being hit very hard by this recession.

The average time it took for an unemployed person to find any job _ full or part time _ rose to 19.8 weeks in January, compared with 17.5 weeks a year earlier. And the number of "long-term" unemployed _ those out of work for 27 weeks or more _ climbed to 2.6 million from 1.4 million a year earlier.

The positive thing that happened today was that Darryl had a telephone interview with a company. This is his first interview since he lost his job. The person who interviewed him said that he would send Darryl's name on to a second interview. We're not sure about that because Darryl and I both felt he didn't do too well. There was too much know's and uhm's going on. Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Trip To Sea World Blog Contest - Read More About It Here


Julia Roy and Izea is sponsoring a contest for a trip for FOUR to Sea World. Why do I want to take my family to Sea World and Ride the Manta? Well those are two separate questions really aren’t they?

First of all I haven’t been to Sea World in some ten years. I can still remember this trip and it’s one that the boys and I still have fond memories of. As a matter of fact we bought one of those Sea World picture frames and in that frame is a picture of us having the time of our lives at Sea World.

Since I’ve been there are so many more opportunities to interact with the residents of Sea World. There is the SeaWorld Orlando's Beluga Interaction Program. You can actually get close enough to touch and interact with Beluga whales. You will also learn about the habitats and lifestyles of these animals.

They’ve also started the SeaWorld Orlando's Sharks Deep Dive. Now I’m not one to dive into the water with sharks but you don’t have to worry because you’ll be protected in an authentic shark cage. You can see over 30 sharks of more than five species—some more than nine feet long and come in contact with sharks so close you can touch them.

I’m also interested in the SeaWorld Orlando's Marine Mammal Keeper Experience caring for dolphins, beluga whales and sea lions. Work side-by-side with marine mammal experts and understand what it’s like to care for these amazing animals during a day. For an animal lover like me this would be a dream come true.

When the boys and I went we loved the Journey to Atlantis ride. Actually it was love at first splash and they wanted to go on that ride a few times. Wouldn’t you know it, they have a brand new ride coming this year called the “Manta”.

If you are a coaster fan then I’m sure you will want to know the stats:

Manta Stats
• Type of coaster: Steel flying coaster
• Height: 140 feet
• First drop: 113 feet
• Top speed: 56 mph
• Track length: 3359 feet
• Ride time: 2:35 minutes
• Height requirement: 52 inches

When they board Manta, passengers will probably sit in seats facing forwards. Once the ride ops check the restraints, a mechanism will likely tilt the seats 90 degrees clockwise, and riders will leave the station facing the ground in "flying" mode--although their knees will be bent. As with most flying coasters, Manta will probably take longer to load and unload than conventional coasters. Unlike any other flying coasters, however, Manta will have a compelling and unique ray theme. Passengers will be placed four across in cars shaped like rays. The rays will have wingspans of 12 feet.

The first drop will swoop down 113 feet and reach a top speed of 56 mph. As it curves at the bottom of the hill, Manta will skim along a lagoon and its wings will create a plume of water spray that will be quite a sight for riders and onlookers (and might soak them as well). The ride will include four inversions that will send passengers twisting and turning before returning them to flying mode.
The park says that even coaster wimps who have no intention to ride will want to check out Manta's pre-ride queue. Viewing tanks, enhanced by waterfalls and other themeing, will offer underwater glimpses of a variety of rays as well as sea dragons, sea horses, and many other species of fish.

This would be a trip of a Lifetime for us because my son will be leaving for Iraq soon and I would love to be able to take him on one more trip before he goes.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Post Valentine's Day

Couple Cleaning Dining Room

I really want to tell you about what a wonderful Valentine's Day I had. I didn't have a chance to write yesterday because it was so busy and we got home very late. I hope to write about that tommorrow.

Today has been pretty busy too. Lots of housework to catch up with and we had someone come look at the house. The other buyer didn't work out. The people that came by today didn't seem too interested. They came in, looked around and were gone in about ten minutes.

Darryl and I watched a movie called PS I Love You. It was a romantic movie about a love that continued after death. It's also about getting your life back after tragedy.

We received an invitation to a Mardi Gras party from one of our neighbors. I have to let them know if we are going by this Friday.

Friday, February 13, 2009



You might be familiar with the word Triskaidekaphobia, which is the fear of the number thirteen but did you know the name for the specific fear of Friday the 13th? It’s Paraskavedekatriaphobia. It is derived from the concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή) (meaning Friday), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς) (meaning thirteen).

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day. It's been estimated that [US]$800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day. Some people won't go to work on this day; some won't eat in restaurants; many wouldn't think of setting a wedding on the date.

Here’s an interesting story I heard on the radio today. One hundred years ago, the British government sought to quell once and for all the widespread superstition among seamen that setting sail on Fridays was unlucky.

A special ship was commissioned, named "H.M.S. Friday." They laid her keel on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, selected her crew on a Friday and hired a man named Jim Friday to be her captain. To top it off, H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage on a Friday, and was never seen or heard from again. A quick look on the net says that no such ship ever existed.

What is true as that a plane did crash into a Clarence Center home Thursday night. New York State Police say all 48 people on board Continental Airlines flight #3407 that crashed in Clarence Center and one person on the ground were killed. This obviously a far different outcome than the plane that landed in the Hudson River after encountering birds.

A mother and daughter, ages 57 and 22, were treated and released for non-life threatening injuries from Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.
Two volunteer firefighters are also being treated for smoke inhalation and minor injuries. They are expected to be released later this morning.
Here is a Facebook Group for Victims’ Family and Friends as well as community support.

One ironic story involves Beverly Eckert, the widow of Sean Rooney, who was killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Eckert was traveling to Buffalo for a family celebration of what would have been her husband's 58th birthday. She had planned to take part in presentation of a scholarship award at Canisius High School that she established in honor of her late husband.

We know she was on that plane and now she's with him," Eckert’s sister, Sue Borque, told The Buffalo News. Her husband had been her high school sweetheart and had been on the phone with her when he died.

Reality check Cathy—you really don’t have it as bad as you think. Just today I had a student bring me a cupcake. (It was my favorite from Walmart). Another student gave me a piece of cake she baked. Another brought me a couple of pieces of chocolate and another gave me a pack of conversation hearts. Now those things all belong in a gratitude journal.

First period, one of my students asked me if I remembered a student I had in my class last year. He’s graduated now, but of course I remembered him. Well the student said “Mrs. Copeland he says he misses you and he still thinks you were his best teacher. “ So when I grouse I really do have much to be thankful for.
Guess I didn’t win that vow renewal contest from the Fish. I called the station and they said that they notified all the winners by email yesterday. If they didn’t hear from you then they called you. I didn’t hear from them so that means I didn’t win.

I wonder how they judged it. This is not to say I absolutely felt it is unfair that I didn’t win, just to say that sometimes they say that there is a max number of words and some people will disqualify you if you have too many and some don’t. I tried hard to stay under the word limit so I wouldn’t get disqualified. Some contests say that they will read the essays but they don't. I found that out about my local station. Still I find these much more fair then having people vote for their favorite. I guess mine just wasn’t a one in ten entry. Sniff….sniff.

When I went for a walk during my planning period I did get a phone call and I was excited when they asked for Catherine. That’s usually a good sign. It turns out I’m one of the finalists in a contest to win race tickets. In order to win I have to go to a bar in Atlanta. I was told only thirty people are in the running for this. I will have to check the prize because I don’t know if it’s worth traipsing down there on a Sunday. I checked the bar on line and it didn’t get favorable reviews and seemed pricy.

I also found out that I won't be getting extended day which will be a big pay cut for me. Let's just say there will be some personnel changes that will cut back on expenses and will do so by changing one teacher's responsibilities. Just like that movie Animal House when they were getting wacked during initiation I will grab my ankles and shout, "Thank you sir can I have another."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The average net worth of American households plunged 22.7%

Newly Unemployed Man

Today has been a difficult day for me. No, it’s not even about the recession. I can’t share the problem, except to say that one of my students is facing a great challenge and I wish I had been able to help her more. Sometimes, some people are so adept at hiding problems you have no clue that there is something wrong. All the signs that they train you to look for may not even be apparent, even in retrospect. I felt as though a heavy weight was sitting on my chest, making it difficult for me to breathe. Getting to a better place is going to be a long road and I hope she knows that I am always in her corner.

My day had been going pretty well. The kids were so well behaved and they liked the lemonade game that we’re playing in Entrepreneurship. Then I received the email. Since then I feel a bit lost and confused. Why didn’t I see some sign? Why didn’t I know?

Well, now back to the not so cheery economy. The Federal Reserve says the recession has cut many Americans' net worth by about 20 percent as the value of homes, stock portfolios and businesses plummet.

The Fed says the average net worth of American households plunged 22.7 percent since the recession began in December 2007 through October, when the report was prepared. The median net worth, or the midpoint between the wealthiest and poorest, fell 17.8 percent. Yesterday Darryl told me that a new study shows that men are losing jobs at a disproportionately higher rate than women. Honestly, when I was growing up I believed a man would marry me, we would have babies and I would stay home with them. This never really happened. I imagined that my husband would make more than me and I would be part of a traditional family. Instead it seems that I have been the breadwinner for a great deal of my life. Darryl says I live too much in the past but I guess living in the present always makes me feel like the life I was told awaited me was all just another sham.

With no end in sight to what some economists say will be the longest recession since the Second World War; some analysts say women could soon outnumber men in the workplace. A full 82 percent of the job losses have befallen men, who are heavily represented in distressed industries like manufacturing and construction. Women tend to be employed in areas like education and health care, which are less sensitive to economic ups and downs, and in jobs that allow more time for child care and other domestic work.

Women may be safer in their jobs, but tend to find it harder to support a family. For one thing, they work fewer overall hours than men. Women are much more likely to be in part-time jobs without health insurance or unemployment insurance. Even in full-time jobs, women earn 80 cents for each dollar of their male counterparts’ income, according to the government data.

Then again I'm a teacher and the cut backs are really beginning to affect us. For one, next year Rome City Schools will stop supplementing our state insurance. Oh sure it's only $18 a month and to put it in prespective I DO have a JOB. Then again it all adds up doesn't it? In some of the county schools they are beginning lay offs. I spoke to someone at the Vocational meeting tonight and i was told that in Bartow County, they will be scheduled to work 190 days but only get paid for 185. At the local technical college they've had a couple of furlough days where you don't come in and you don't get paid. So it's not as if we are totally immune from all this.

Darryl heard from a company that wants to talk to him about his resume. Keep your fingers crossed and I will let you know more about it later.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Chance to Go Back and Do It Over


I don’t listen to much Country. This is not an assement of that genre just a statement. There are some Country songs and artists I really love. So forgive me if I don’t get this exactly right. It’s my understanding that Montgomery Gentry has a song called “Back When I Knew It All”. Although I’ve never heard the song, I understand the chorus says: “Lord I’m learning so much more than back when I knew it all,”

I guess that’s why the University of Phoenix has partnered up with Montgomery Gentry on a contest giving away a scholarship to the University of Phoenix. Since I’ve already paid my dues to the College of Hard Knocks I took an interest in this contest. At my local radio station you have to tell them in 500 words or less, what you would do with the chance to go back and do it over. You may be granted a scholarship from the University of Phoenix to further your education and change your life.

Here are some stations offering this contest:

I would love to go back to college and get my Masters Degree. I would like to be certified as a Special Education teacher. So I took a chance and wrote my essay. Wish me luck.

You can only enter once per person and the winner will be selected after reading all the winners. I wish I had read that because I thought it was one person per station. As always I should read the rules first but I seldom do. You know now so good luck to you.

Crazy stuff going on in DC— A man who drove a pickup truck to the U.S. Capitol and said he had a delivery for President Barack Obama has been arrested after a rifle was found in the truck, police said.

On the positive side I see that Stump became the oldest best in show winner ever at the Westminster Kennel Club, coming out of retirement only last week and walking off with the top prize Tuesday night.. He is ten years old. Guess my little dog is walking (or hobbling) with a bit more pride. One of my co-workers and I joke that in our “next lives” we will come back as pampered pure-bred pups. I see satin pillows and color bling in my future. I joked with her this morning that there’s hope for us yet. Even more interesting about this win is that Sump almost died in 2004 from a medical condition, saved by the vets at Texas A&M. Guess there’s hope for us all.

Speaking of my co-worker, Diane, she brought me a card that says: “May God grant you the blessing of his care and love.” Then she wrote. Thank you for being such a good friend. You always brighten my day and help to lift my spirit. There is no special reason for this card other than to say thank you and to let you know you are in my prayers.” Now that’s an entry in a gratitude journal.

She also gave me an award that says:

Elvis sang, “You ain’t nothing but a hound dog. (But then he didn’t know Us!) We are the Pampered Puppy Princesses!!!!. How really cute.

Darryl called me during 5th period and I couldn’t answer the phone. When I received his message, he said call me back right away. I did. He said he received a call from Q100. He was nervous because he thought that was about one of the essays I wrote for the Fish. I was so excited. I was hoping that meant that we were in for the wedding renewal. That contest did say one entry per person and so I wrote one entry for me and Darryl wrote one too. Then I realized that wasn’t it. I looked and it turns out it’s dinner for two at the Medieval Times.

OMG. I have always wanted to go there. Years ago, when I won a trip to Disney and took the boys, I had hoped to take them to the one there. I just couldn’t afford it. Now I am going to go and I’m thrilled. It’s like a big whoopee do thing. I can hardly believe it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I’m High On Valentine’s Day


Let me tell you I can’t think of a better Valentine’s Day. I thought last year was awesome but this one tops that one. Last year I won a Vermont Teddy Bear so I ordered the Fairy Tale Princess Bear. I also won $50 worth of flowers from 1800Flowers. Really I thought I was living high off the hog. A teddy bear, flowers, and all we had to pay for then was dinner out at TGIFridays. TGIFridays was having a special dinner price which included an appetizer, dinner, and dessert. Wow. I felt I was really spoiled and I felt good about not breaking the bank.

This year is shaping up to be even better. Darryl and I have a challenge going on at to see how inexpensively we can celebrate Valentine’s Day. This year neither 1800Flowers nor ProFlowers were having video contests or essay contests. So I said, “I guess this Valentine’s Day will be a lot less Wow.” I wasn’t disappointed because I figured even if we just went out to dinner it would be great.

Then the Valentine’s Day wins started coming in. First I won a Tower of Treats, then a stuffed Koala Bear, then a $50 gift certificate to Carabba’s for dinner, then last night I won a $70 gift card to ProFlowers. How wonderful. I’ve been sweating this whole win a vows renewal contest because I thought that way I’d get the food and music all at once but I’m kind of getting over the fact I might not have won. Then I received a call from the AJC. Turns out I won Valentine's Day at the High February 14, 2009, 6-10 p.m. It’s normally $25 per person, $40 per couple. Free for members.

Here’s what’s going to go on there:

LOVE. ART. Valentine's Day at the High, 6 to 10 p.m. Pamper your valentine with an evening filled with music, dance, poetry, and more!

Expand your experience with Fanfare: A Musical Feast at the Woodruff Arts Center. Learn more about this 3-course dinner here.

Romantic Flute and saxophone provided by Richard Jones and Guitar music presented by Steve Dwiggins of Gentle Rain Productions.

Latin rhythms by Orquesta Lyrica, featuring Enrique Mercado and musicians from Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Venezuela.

Learn a sultry tango or sexy salsa from Audi Lopez-Rice of Mezcolanza Dance Company.

Take a self-guided "love and romance" gallery tour or visit The First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Army and The Louvre and the Masterpiece.

Complimentary chair massages and hand parafin dips provided by Ecotage Spa & Salon from Macy's Lenox Square. Register on-site to win an exclusive spa package.

Valentine's Day Book recommendation: Chinese Love Poetry by Jane Portal and Qu Lei Lei, available for purchase in the Museum Shop.

SPLURGE Enjoy a complimentary flower provided by one of our own Terracotta Warriors!

Drinks, hors d'oeuvres and desserts available for purchase.

So imagine this, I get a massage, a hand paraffin dip, AND dancing lessons in addition to all this other stuff. WOWWWWWWWEEEEEE. This is the best Valentine’s Day ever. I know I said last year couldn’t be topped but this year is over the top. Just plain over the top with how wonderful it will be. Best of all it’s ALL FREE.


I received an email, it said "Great comment on Ploomy. You are one of the winners. Congratulations. Here is your ProFlowers gift code for $70." Yipee!!!! I really can't complain. This Valentine's Day is almost free for us. A free dinner, free flower, wow wow wow. I'm still hoping i will win the vow renewal contest but really now I won't be so sad if I don't because this is really more than I could have ever expected.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Nervous About Essay

New York City Revamps Its Marriage Bureau For 2009

The local Christian Radio Station, 104.7 The Fish is selecting 50 couples to renew their wedding vows on Valentine’s Day at Stone Mountain Park.

If we are selected,we would take part in a special wedding vow renewal ceremony at the base of Snow Mountain.

Every couple selected to attend will receive a copy of the movie Fireproof on DVD and will be able to enjoy music from our wedding singers John Waller and Jonny Diaz.
If we win we would attend a special reception following the ceremony where every couple will be registered to win prizes from Ideal Image, the Weekend to Remember Conference, and Jake’s House.

They are even having wedding cake for us and a photographer. There's even a special mini-concert from John Waller.

I thought the contest was over and I've been wondering if and when I will hear from them. Finally I relented and called the station. I pulled up their website to find their number and that's when I saw that the contest was still going on. I guess that's why I haven't heard from them. So I called to find out when they'd let people know. The lady at the station said she felt they would let people know by Friday. "Did you get a lot of response?" I asked. I figured they say maybe 50 people. Maybe a few more but I felt it would be right about 50. Turns out I'm very wrong. They've had about 500 entries AND they are reading each and every one of them trying to decide which couples deserve this prize. Now I'm very nervous that I won't be one of those people.

I have to write an essay contest entry tommorrow for another contest from that station.

I saw Trixie today. I said, "I'm just so sorry..." but before I could say anything to her she seemed upset. She almost seemed angry with me but I knew that wasn't it. The strain from burrying her father must be horrible. She wrote me later to apologize and I told her she didn't need to do that. I think she's an awsome person and I feel so badly that this happened to her.

Here are the blog contests I've entered.

Prize: Caligula: The Imperial Edition Blu-ray disc

Prize: He's Just Not That Into You soundtrack CD and hoodie.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sweep Meeting Today

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I just love those meetings. The people in our group in Georgia are just so nice. I always look forward to them. I really like where we've been having them lately.

Still no word from the people at the Christian Radio Station. I don't know why I'm so convinced I will win but I just think I will be part of that Wedding Renewal at Stone Mountain contest. During the sweeps conversation I asked if anyone knew anything but no one did.

Here are a couple of the blog contests I've entered:

Prize: Hallmark’s Recordable Valentine’s Day Cards.

Whether or not you have a valentine, you'll want to win this gorgeous white gold and diamond heart necklace from A Little Aly-tude and JCPenney!

ONE (1) winner will win a Logitech® Indoor Video Security Master System:

FIVE gift certificates, worth $70 each, redeemable at!

FIVE gift certificates, worth $70 each, redeemable at!

FIVE gift certificates, worth $70 each, redeemable at!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Losing a Follower - What Should I Do?

30th Anniversary Reunion Of

When Darryl woke up today he told me he had been craving pizza for days now. So we went to Ci Ci's for all you can eat pizza and I ate way too much. Still I would say that it was worth every unhealthy piece I ate because I've been craving it too.

After lunch we went to the library and got the next set of DVD's in the Dallas series. Turns out that the cliff hanger at the end of the third season is "Who Shot JR?' I remember people wearing tee shirts that said "Who Shot JR?" I also checked out a DVD from the History Channel about Charlie Wilson's War and another about the Salem Witch Trials. We'd seen the movie Charlie Wilson's War and the History Channel did a good job explaining what happened.

It looks as though I lost a follower on one of my blogs. Not Thrifty Maven, but then I seem to be getting more followers so I don't always notice if they are dropping off or not. I'm sure some are. No I lost the only follower I had on What To Buy. It was the blog where all this started. Should I feel badly about that? I'm not so sure. I was trying to get followers for that and then try to get ads. I truly don't seem to be catching on about how to get ads. Perhaps I should ask others how they did that.

I've been writing entries for my Thrifty Maven blog about how to save money this Valentine's Day. If you are interested you should check it out.

Here are the blog contests I'm entering.

Prizes (2): Three Hallmark recordable Valentine cards.

Prize: HP Photosmart C6380 All-in-One Printer, Scanner & Copier.

Prize: Hand painted Cupcake Mosaic box.

Prize: Cupcake electric candle.

Prize: Cupcake mini note card set.

Prize: Wireless HP Photosmart All in One.

Prize: Wireless HP Photosmart C6380 All-in-One.

Prizes (5): Copies of Love in 90 Days by Diana Kirschner, Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson, Free Yourself to Love by Jackie Kendall, The Italian Lover by Robert Hellenga, Looking for Mrs. Friedman and Other Really Bad Ideas by Steve Friedman, Getting Naked Again by Judith Sills, We Take This Man by Candice Dow, Things I've Learned From Women Who've Dumped Me by Ben Karlin, Sexcapades by HoneyB, Love and Other Natural Disasters by Holly Shumas and Send Yourself Roses by Kathleen Turner.

Prize: Princess Katie & Racer Steve Live! Revved Up & Ready to Rock! DVD (ARV $22).

Prize: $200 Southwest Airlines voucher.

Prizes (4): Goosebumps Horrorland Games for Wii

Prizes (5): Copy of Bound South by Susan Rebecca White

Prize: The Enforcer DVD.

Prizes (5): Copy of The Italian Lover by Robert Hellenga.

Prizes (5): Copies of The American Journey of Barack Obama, Fledgling by Octavia Butler, Stand the Storm by Breena Clarke, Red River by Lalita Tademy, Keep the Faith: A Memoir By Faith Evans, Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan, The Shack by William Young and The Bishop's Daughter by Tiffany Warren.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I Am An American Patriot

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Talk about being grateful. Today the Army National Guard Recruiter stopped by to give me an award for my support of our soldiers. Wow what an honor. She presented me the award in front of my class.

Today I was pretty busy getting articles ready for my Thrifty Maven blog. I’m trying to do a series of articles on how to celebrate Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank.

Today’s a kind of sad day. First the father of Officer Morgan has passed away and will be laid to rest today. Officer Morgan is a wonderful woman and I’ve had the pleasure of teaching one of her son’s as well as her older son’s baby’s mother. What a difficult time it must be for her. Trixie, is a wonderful person, great co-worker, loving Mom, and a doting Grandmother and I wouldn’t wish this pain on her for even a moment.

We also lost another co-worker this week. We called her Ms. Candy. She was our cafeteria manager and it was a job she seemed to love. Feeding the kids and making sure that the food served her was not just healthy but very tasty was very important to her. I usually don’t eat school lunch but one day she asked me why I didn’t. She told me that she would get me to try eating it yet. Once I did I was hooked. I loved her cheese buns and I understood why the kids and the teachers were so crazy about them. They were soooooo very tasty.

Last year she was diagnosed with cancer. She seemed to have fought it and won some time. This week she passed away. One of the cafeteria workers told me that her husband died about twelve hours later. Our principal acted as one of the pall bearers at her funeral today.

On the economic front recession-battered employers eliminated 598,000 jobs in January, the most since the end of 1974, and catapulted the unemployment rate to 7.6 percent.. I’m grateful to have my job. I see that the city of Canton has laid off 14 percent of its workforce in an attempt to balance a budget shortfall of $1.1 million to $1.2 million. Clark Atlanta University laid off 100 people Friday and canceled classes until Tuesday, according to school officials. Seventy faculty members and 30 other staffers were laid off. Clayton County schools with a surplus of about 150 teachers. That means that 150 teachers need to retire or resign by April 5 or face losing their job next school year. In addition to teachers, the district also has a surplus of 102 other workers, including three assistant principals, 19 counselors, 18 physical education teachers, 14 middle school graduation coaches and 38 kindergarten paraprofessionals. This is all so very frightening.

I did win a $5 Chevron gift card. Every little bit helps you know. I HATE when Darryl opens my wins. It doesn't leave me the fun of opening up my wins.

I'm entering more blog contests and here they are:

Prize: $25 Build-A-Bear Workshop gift card.

Prizes (3): Audiobook copy of A Long Stone's Throw by Alphie McCourt.

Prize: Roku digital video player and six-month Netflix membership

Prize: Code for a box of personalized Fruit Rollups.

Prize: Coupon good for a Pizza Hut Tuscani Lasagna Meal.

Prize: 5-pack assortment of musical and voice recordable Hallmark cards.

We're still watching two episodes of Dallas every night. Tonight Sue Ellen had her baby after having a car accident when she escaped from the Sanitarium.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Being Thankful For What I’ve Got

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I spoke to the kids today about my trip to Kroger and how well they treated me there. I told them how I wrote a letter of praise to the store manager, the district manager, and on my ThriftyMaven blog. Then I told them that I felt guilty that I had neglected to tell them what a wonderful group of students I have been teaching this year. I am so impressed by 98 percent of them. Many of them are respectful and hardworking. I told them so and you should have seen how surprised many of them were that I shared with them my gratitude for making my days at Rome High School a genuine joy. This is not to say that there aren’t kids that get on my very last nerve or days that I wish would hurry up and end, but for the most part this year has been very good. I told the kids that I was so pleased with them and so proud of them and I thanked them very much for being so awesome.

You should have seen how amazed they look. They looked as though no one had ever said that to them. Perhaps they haven’t. I’m glad I did. Really it was kind of funny because a couple of classes broke out in applause. I wasn’t looking for that but I did feel good about telling them. I picked a good day for it too because it was progress report days. I told them that when they show their parents their report cards the parent might see a page full of A’s but will focus on the one F they received. I told them that every now and then we should try to find something good to say to others because we all need it so desperately.

Prize: $20 Baby Cakes Online Bakery gift certificate.

Prize: $25 gas card.

Prize: $50 gas card.

Prize: Polka Dot Heart box with 16 chocolate bon bons

Prize: $25 gas card.

Prize: $25 gas card.

Prize: $25 gas card.

Prize: $25 gas card.

Prize: Package of assorted coupons