Monday, October 27, 2008


Happy Halloween Week!

I bet your houses are full of goblins and witches, mine not so much. Mostly old crouchy people, and we don't even need costumes to look scary. So sad. :-(

In case you are wondering, the unknown entries are from other bloggers who I have posted remarks on. Seems as if some are not familiar with our quaint city and find the name amusing. Or X-rated. Anyway, I love reading other blogs and have discovered some great recipes, decorating ideas and even a vacation rental house on them.

We had a lovely weekend, hope your was great, too. Courtney, Shawn and I took the girls to Evansville for a shopping day on Saturday. So much fun with no men, not even Caleb. Tried a great Italian place for dinner, La Biaggo?? maybe? Wonderful stuff. Spent 2 hours and breakfast at Borders and then the mall, dinner and topped it off with Target. Great therapy. It has been awhile since we have had a true day out and we all enjoyed it.
Janelle, you and Brian are faced with a challenge...a child's name is so important to his future. And somehow I love the sound of Barack Hard , no maybe Hussein Har or Harry Hussein Harde. Well, let's not name this one after the winner. I love Sloan, Rachel and Anna. We could name her Anna and make that a gaggle name; every baby born from now on to a Gaggle member is ANNA. Simple, easy to remember and a beautiful name. Sam is good, as are; Michael, David, Pete, no, you are right. All names have been contaminated by past students. Better go back to the combination of grandparents' names.
It is really fall in the South, frosted car windows, brisk breeze blowing through the lobby as I do bus duty every morning. The trees are finally turning, too, lots of oranges this year, so bright and cheery. Last evening, there was a bald eagle in the road in front of our house. He was after a raccoon, tried to fly away with it and finally had to abandon it. What a sight. His head and legs were so white against the shiny black of his wings and body, just beautiful. I've seen several around the lake, but never one so close. Blessed to experience a wild creature.
Our marching band made state again this year; we were 2nd last year, hoping for 1st on Saturday. Our director is a home town boy who is 3rd generation Valley band. Our Volleyball team is in regional on Saturday and thank Heaven, football is over. Cannot wait for basketball, my game. Anyone coaching this year?
This looks to be a good week, lots of school spirit, last of the garden cosmos on my desk and today is PJ Day for Spirit Week... It doesn't get better.
Love to everyone.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Hi Ladies, did you hear me honk as I flew by on Friday night?

We were coming from Chicago, reading all the exits signs to your homes and I honked my loudest at the Gaggle at each town. Deb and Courtney marveled at how you live in the flatlands.

The Ophelia Conference was great, again. The ladies have expanded their research into somatic symptoms of RA and have really opened up a critical area in the lives of our youth. You can really soak up the info from them, they all give freely. I'd like to do some training with them when I quit working. Maybe do train the trainer in Indiana schools. They are looking for people to do this all over the nation. Crown Point, in your area, has a strong CASS program in the high school. CASS is creating a safe school and is the Ophelia model for school. Good stuff.

Once again, Jill and I failed to connect in French Lick this weekend. The stars need to be in better alignment apparently. Maybe next time, my friend. It was nice to talk to you, even if your news was not good. Ashley had another car accident, but is OK. Just needed Mom.

We are still on fall break today and I have celebrated in silence; total silence. No TV, no radio, no phone calls, Steve is mowing at the other farm and I'm enjoying every minute. Of course, I slept most of the day, the lupus is taxing me for a busy weekend. I have a new casserole in the oven; pork chops, onions, cabbage, potatoes and an apple cider glaze. Smells great, hope they can eat it. I'll make those pumpkin chocolate cupcakes for dessert, if I can remember how. Hey, dinner's over and the casserole was nice. I'm not too fond of sweet additions to entrees but the fruit and cider were nice additions to the meat and veggies. I fixed frozen chocolate chip cookies, could not remember the cupcake thingys.

It has been nice having Court home again; she is managing well. He has had a few meltdowns but she handles everything in stride. I am proud of how strong she is. We takes turns cooking and doing laundry, read alot and take walks in the evenings. She and her dad are going to the lake in the kayaks some and caring for the livestock together. And watching TV, she is a TV nut like him.

Alison, I couldn't figure out how to post the pix, but I loved seeing them. The guys have grown a foot since summer. My goodness, Jordan looks like an 8th grader. I bet that was a wonderful trip for you all. How is your Dad?

Janelle, I checked out the family shots on your other website; Lady A looks determined to stir things up. Did they ever get a good one? She is a corker, looking so sweet and soft, with a spine of steel and a hard head. Gotta love her.

How's everyones' football team? We made 3 touchdowns this season, didn't win a game and are so glad it is over. Or will be after the 1st sectional game. My buddy, the coach is beyond puzzled with his team; they are all good kids, but heads are elsewhere. I suppose these things happen to all teams sometime. It is hard to watch these boys suffer every week and each week has another injury. We have several on crutches or wearing casts on even in wheelchairs. Not the year of the BlackHawk.

The Valley is buzzing with new happenings this fall; the waterpark is to open soon, we have a new open air market and an art gallery, for Pete's sake. The casino is no longer "a boat in a moat", they have transformed it into just a building. We have a new CVS that is 10 times bigger than the old one. And Big Red Liquor is building next to Chicago Pizza. Thank Goodness we will have alcohol. No really; French Liquors has closed. It is a wonderful town, cannot buy a shoelace, but all the beer you can wish for.

I'm trying to get Stephen King to install a new (old) back door for me. Not much luck. Caleb and Gavin told me yesterday they would do it for me. Sweeties. My Mom gave us her old door with a wonderful window at the top, my laundry room is so dark except for the light from the cracks you can see through. I also need a new floor in there and the kitchen. Does anyone have gold vinyl flooring from the 70s anymore? I tried to remove it down to the hardwood like the rest of the house, but it was glued down with tar or some sticky black stuff. Gotta love retirement.

Back to school tomorrow, hope everyone returns with positive attitudes in tow. We were all feeling low on Wednesday. The free time and beautiful weather should have done the trick. I ordered cut flowers for tomorrow; I'll place one in a pop can for everyone's desk. And I'll take in some of the cookies for my middle school staff. Gotta keep up their spirits. Tomorrow means figuring the grade stats as the kids got their 1st 9 weeks report cards last week. Then I look for interventions to raise grades before the semester break. Positive reinforcement is next in my bag of tricks. The staff loves me. I know, but somedays I worry about snipers outside my office door.

Talk to me, Gaggle. Have a honkin' great week.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


OK, Gang, I'm changing my tune; Scarlett O'Hara is now being played by ME. Reality is no fun and I'm not going to live in it anymore. I'm going to deny there is pain, hurt or ugliness in the world and live in a make-believe place of "free 7-Up and Sunshine Stew" to quote Merle Haggard. But before we go; Kirstie, you have to run for Prez, with your middle name being change, your quick wit and level head, you are a shoo-in. Please, do it for me.

I've decided to concentrate on simple pleasures, such as; my kiddos, cooking good food, talking to friends, loving my husband and playing house. It is much more enjoyable to search for that perfect accent for your wall than to decide if a parent should be allowed to keep a child. I love creating a pretty, pink tablescape beside my bed with just the right lamp, cup/saucer and planter and then deciding which magazines and books to place beside them to browse through before sleep. I'm tired of lying awake praying that this kid got fed and that one didn't get raped before bed. Reality stinks. Back to MY reality; I have the most lucious curtains in my bedroom and am thinking of redoing my bedding to match. Quite a departure from my usual Plain Jane white cotton sheets, handmade quilt bedding. The curtains are an almost cream silvery taffeta, really Hollywood glam. I loved them at first sight and had to have them. Now where to go with the bedding? Or maybe I will do a real Scarlett and make me a dress from the curtains and forget about the bed.

I'm going to redo my parlor this winter, too. I have no clear direction chosen yet. I love simple, but need some life pumped into this little 1920s bungalow. Taupe is getting on my last nerve, Ladies. Living the blah life is boring. Even my pumpkin is white, gotta pitch that thing and go for orange. My dining room needs an update, I'd like to trade out my oak pressed back chairs and pedestal table for something else. We got them in 1975 and I am so over them. I like the look of upholstered seats and dark wood. What do you think? Anyone into country oak? Table/6 chairs--free, of course the haul bill will break you up. The way the economy is falling, Steve will have cardiac arrest if I mention NEW furniture and the oak is good for another hundred years. He is determined to ride out the recession without killing anyone, but his enjoyment in retirement has lessened some. I may let him into my new world of denial, if he plays nice.

Staci, sorry for JD's loss of such an important person in his life. But wasn't he lucky to have had him for so long? Loss and change are so difficult, that's why we need all our family and friends for support. It was nice to hear you praise JD, we women are sometimes too quick to overlook our men. It is so easy to bitch and complain, but really, who else would we choose to spend our lives with. I know Steve is the most supportive, caring man around, but usually just share his annoying habits with others. Strong, intelligent women can praise our men. Let's hear it for Steve, JD, Rex, Charlie, Craig, Brian, Scott, Pat and young what's his name.

Our weather has been picture perfect for weeks, we need some rain, but are loving the no heat, no air conditioning spell. Jill, have you been in the Valley lately? they are really shaping up the town center and have the little Open Air Market area beside the post office, really cute. I hate to think of a Denny's going in, but there is a local guy opening a new 33 Brick St. bistro on the brick street (duh), that should be good. The water park is coming along on schedule. Opening in November, I think. Sometimes change is good. I wish I had the courage and $$$ to open a shop.

Enjoy Colorado, Al. The boys will love the wild west, I bet. Getting out of the normal routine is wonderful for everyone; relax and don't think about work, money, politics and worries (or Mom's wacky ways). I hope everyone has an opportunity to get away for a short break, I'd recommend the resorts in the Valley, but OMG they are pricey. I cannot stay there, unless I get a job mopping floors over there.

Do you and Pat have any single friends left, Kirstie? My word, that was a long run of weddings. How did you afford gifts? BTW, do you have Concord grapes in the Orchard? Or just apples and evergreens? I am craving Concords and cannot find any around here. Of course, I don't go to WalMart or the grocery so it is difficult to find fruit. Lady Avery healed yet, Janelle? The eye and the temper? Maybe you and Staci need to find a good child therapist. I had one who acted like them, but it's better not to get started on that. Just ignore what you can and love them anyway and they will grow through it. It doesn't pay for everyone else to get loud and out of control in these situations. It just adds to the chaos and the kiddo gets more upset. Trust me, I know about tempermental kids. Mine is nearly 38 now. We both survived.

Anna, you've been quiet; that makes me worry. All OK? You have survived ISTEP, haven't you? I didn't read of any counselor fatalities. Is Mr. Perfect still? Are Pat and Kirstie going to go to another wedding soon? Janelle and Elaine are blessing us with babies, you two little girls might want to try that sometime. Your own are soooo much better than the ones in school. Angie, how are the blonde bombers in your house? I pray for them daily, on my make believe Mother Teresa beads. I trust all is well.

Have a beautiful week, Gaggle. Love

Sunday, October 5, 2008

You Never Know...

Girls, you never know what lies ahead when you get up in the morning. Be prepared for anything is my suggestion. Last Sunday I was scurrying around trying to pack as much into my day as possible, when I tripped over the garden hose and fell face first into the gravel drive. Bloody face, black eye, wrenched wrist, banged knee and humiliated to the core, I allowed Steve to half carry me inside. You know that was not easy for either of us. After we got the gravel picked out of my face and hands and the spurting brow stopped, we decided an ER visit was not required. Do Not attempt to visualize this, it is too funny. Anyway, the week went downhill after the fall.

Daughter came in that afternoon, clothing and dogs in tow; left the evil son in law. Do we perform the Happy Dance or allow her to grieve her loss? You are right, we did alittle of both. She is doing fine, holding strong to her conviction that she has had Enough and will not go back. One concern removed from her parents' sagging shoulders. But how to deal with the loss of his kids? We don't know yet. Keep her in your prayers, please.

I hope with the passing of ISTEP you all are back on track and moving successfully towards FallBreak, I know I am. Jill, I'll be in Chicago over our break. It moved this year to Oct.17-20 and so did the Ophelia Conference. My sister and daughter are going with me this time. Shopping, sight-seeing while I try to absorb the answer to relational aggression, one more time.

Our school is full of it this year, I was called into the elementary last week to deal with some 3rd grade girls plotting the downfall of a classmate because she won the Pumpkin Festival Crown. Sad turn of events. I wanted to jackslap the mothers and smack the girls into next week. Needless to say, I did not, but the frustration and temptation were there. I fumbled with my "Mother Teresa Rosary" and took the high road. I'm talking about 8 and 9 year old kids purposely trying to hurt another with exclusion and rumors. Should we start prevention in pre-school?

My "Mother Teresa Rosary" is a strand of crystal and silver beads from Silpada. My sister laughing calls me Mother Teresa and this necklace set her off on the rosary thing. I say, "whatever it takes", and lately it has taken alot. We have not one but two prayer groups at school this semester. We start the week with a Monday 7:15 group and revive with a midweek Wednesday 3:15 group. It has proven to be a wonderful support for all, we can share concerns and joys with people we might not have seen in this light before. I've been surprised with the young males taking part. We have created a stronger, more united teaching force, I believe. The politics of the school had caused some deep rifts in our staff, but hopefully, we are back on track with this activity.

Last night our family celebrated Gavin's 4th birthday with a cookout. What fun! Trent had a fire in the pit and we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, Nina made chili and I took cupcakes for the kiddos. Gavin is impersonating the Jonas Bros. lately and asked for music instruments; he got a keyboard, guitar and a drum set. They sent me a video this AM of him on the drums singing "your great, great, great grand daughter is doin' fine, fine, fine". So funny, so serious. He tells us Nick, Joe and Kevin are his classmates in pre-school. Caleb has little time for music, he is into creative storytelling or as he calls it, "Tibbing". The child makes up the wildest tales and talks to everyone. He called Kenzie an SOB the other day and then said Johnny, their minister taught him the word. He hadn't told his parents before because, "I didn't want to make Mrs. Kate (the wife) mad at Johnny." He has had his mouth washed out twice this week alone. Last time he asked his daddy to, " tell Papaw Steve what your wife is doing to his grandson". But he is doing very well in school this year. His teacher who last year feared him, now says he is perfect. I'm afraid she may be losing her grip.

Has your weather been as glorious as ours? We have had days and days of bright blue skies and clear, starry nights. The trees are turning gold and red, another fall in hilly, southern Indiana. My best friend Carole is coming over this afternoon to visit and catch up on what's happening in our world. We raised our kids in the country together and try to get together frequently, but life keeps interferring and usually we only see each other once or twice a year. We only live 10 miles apart, shame on us. Her kids have scattered all over the country, while mine have stayed here in OC, but our concerns and love for our grandkids is the same.

I need to step away from the keyboard and get something done, but this writing makes me feel connected to each of you. Janelle, I had an 8th grade channelling you on Friday; he came up to me saying, "housekeeping, housekeeping". I asked what he was doing, he said he didn't know, it just came to him. Spooky. Of course, he's a fairly spooky kid to begin with.

Miss you all so much, wish we were able to visit more often and help each other through our struggles and celebrate the good stuff together. Talk to me. Love, Hedy