A Day In The Life

The Dress
September 30, 2007, 10:34 pm
Filed under: My Life, Odds and Ends

I know, I know…..this weeks’ Fun Monday assignment involved shoes, but the one-hour photo lab at Walmart was on the fritz this weekend so I didn’t get my shoe film developed. So you’ll have to settle for my dress story. The shoes will come later.

My mom made pretty much every evening gown I wore from elementary school all the way up until I was married for the first time at age 24. I had to have at least one ‘formal’ every year for my music recitals beginning when I was 9 years old. However, when I was a junior in high school, we got some catalog in the mail. I can’t remember if it was Sears, Montgomery Wards or Spiegel….anyway, we got this catalog and it had a dress in it that I had to have. It was navy with white polka dots, spaghetti straps and a little bolero-style jacket. For some reason, my sixteen year old self fell in love with this dress and I somehow talked my parents into buying it for me to wear to my junior/senior banquet. (We didn’t have a prom at my school until my senior year.) 

Now segue forward to the fall of my senior year when senior portraits are taken.  My class was not a particularly close group of people, especially the girls.  It wasn’t that we actively disliked each other, we just didn’t get along real well as an entire group.  We had this debate over what to wear for our senior portraits.  Some of the girls wanted us to all wear the same dress in our pictures.  Some of the girls wanted us to wear those feather shoulder wrap thingees….stoles, I guess you’d call them.  Seems like there were a couple other suggestions, but when we voted the majority of the girls wanted us to all wear the same dress in our senior portraits.  Then we had to nominate a few dress choices to vote on.  I wanted to wear the navy dress with the white polka dots so I nominated my dress.  Another girl wanted to wear yellow, another wanted to wear green, a pink floral print was nominated.  Needless to say, we never could narrow the choice down to one dress so in the end we decided to use all the dresses that had been nominated.  Two other girls in the class wanted to wear my navy dress in their portraits and I reluctantly agreed to share.  I say reluctantly because I liked being individualistic, independent, not a follower of the crowd and I really wanted to be the only person wearing the navy dress.   But I was also nice and I let the other two girls borrow my dress for their senior pictures.  

friendindress350.jpg meindressblkwhite350.jpg

Okay, here are two portraits taken from the yearbook. Notice a difference even though we are wearing the same dress?  We both wore the same size, but I was….shall we say more blessed than the other young lady.   She had to pin the jacket edges together because….well, the dress just didn’t fit her properly.  She and the other girl who borrowed my dress insisted that I pin the jacket together, too, but I refused to do it.  After all, I thought, why hide my blessings under a jacket? 

I guess this dress was rather shocking for 1975-76, but it is tame by today’s standards.   I wish I could still get into it, but I’ve become a bit too round over the past 31 years. 


Now if you simply must see some shoes, head on over to Robin’s for the list of Fun Monday participants who actually did their assignment correctly!!


The View
September 28, 2007, 8:03 pm
Filed under: My Life, Travel

Random shots from my life….places I’ve lived……places I’ve visited…..things I’ve seen…….

….from the balcony of my apartment in Roanoke, Virginia, November 1989

….from the side of the street in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, July 1983

…from the sidewalk across the street, Macy’s, New York City, November 1980


…..from the side of the highway, Vermont, October 1988

Slow Down?
September 27, 2007, 10:03 pm
Filed under: My Life, School Buzz

It’s somewhat ironic that I just posted the lyrics and a link for the lovely song “Slow Down” while my life has suddenly burst into hyper-drive.  I have two membership-by-audition-only choral ensembles that are being asked to perform for so many community events that I was actually concerned about wearing my students out.  They have assured me that they can handle the pace!  Last Saturday we performed for the local community college 25th anniversary celebration in an outdoor venue.  It was a lovely, windy day  and both groups put on an excellent show even though music pages were turning on their own in the breeze and some of the girls kept having to pull their hair out of their mouths.  This Saturday another group of senior high students who plan to audition for all region honors choir are traveling two hours for an intensive workshop on the audition music.  The first Saturday in October brings another outdoor performance for my auditioned ensembles.  This event will be held at our airport and I was told the kids will be singing from the back of a flatbed truck.  Interesting, eh?!!  I’ve already told the girls that secure hair is a must.  The following Saturday is the big senior high all region honors choir auditions event.  After that, we actually have a free weekend…..as of now.  The last Saturday in October is junior high all region honors choir auditions day.  Hey…..I thought teachers were supposed to have weekends off.  Where did I hear that?!!  November brings the culmination of all the all region auditions when students who made the honors choir meet from across the region and work up a concert in half a day’s time.  The concert is presented in the late afternoon hours and is truly a treat for the ears.  November also means intense rehearsals in preparation for the Christmas season rush.  We already have the first two weeks in December booked solid.  Amazing how what seems to be a wide expanse of time actually boils down to very little time at all. 

Slow Down
September 25, 2007, 6:46 pm
Filed under: Music, Seasons

I first heard this beautiful song at a workshop I attended last July.  I loved the lyrics and the melody is one that stays in my mind long after the song has ended.  I purchased copies of “Slow Down” for my senior high choir to perform at our Christmas concert.  We began working on it yesterday.  I was thrilled to hear my students sounding just as I had imagined they would.  We are no where near the mastery level on this particular piece, but it will be a stunning addition to the concert when we do have it completely learned.  I wish you could hear my students performing the song, but as a poor substitute you can listen to “Slow Down” at this link .  The lyrics are printed below.

Slow down your hurried footsteps, put away the needless haste.
Forget meaningless token sentiments that seem an utter waste.
Slow down the flow of superficial thoughts that flutter through your mind.
Slow down, slow down, slow down.
Let your mind translate the meaning, let your soul know the pain.
Let your eyes see the beauty, let your ears hear the music.
Let your hands fold in prayer, let your heart rejoice with love.
Let your being know the peace of long ago when the Baby Jesus was born.
Slow down, slow down, slow down.
Slow down, slow down, slow down.
Let your mind translate the meaning, let your soul know the pain.
Let your eyes see the beauty, let your ears hear the music.
Let your hands fold in prayer, let your heart rejoice with love.
Let your being know the peace of long ago when the Baby Jesus was born.
Slow down, slow down, slow down.
Slow down and take the time to know what living means.

Words by Nancy Bernreuther
Music by Will Schmid

Mmmmm…Mmmmm Good
September 23, 2007, 6:39 pm
Filed under: Food

I love to cook so there was no way I could narrow our Fun Monday assignment to just one favorite recipe.  In fact, I had a hard time choosing only two recipes.  My choices are a pasta dish that is a personal favorite and a dessert that I am constantly requested to bring to church and school potlucks and family dinners.  Sorry there are no pictures, but….all together now…..I don’t have a digital camera!! 

Spaghetti Carbonara

One 16-oz. package spaghetti
Eight slices of bacon
One pound pork sausage or one pound sweet Italian sausage
Three cloves garlic, minced
Three Tablespoons minced parsley
Three tomatoes, peeled and chopped or one 16-oz. can tomatoes, drained
Two eggs, slightly beaten
Three-fourths cup grated Parmesan cheese
One-half cup cream
Pepper, ground nutmeg and basil to taste

Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Crumble and set aside. Drain fat from skillet.
Add sausage, garlic, and parsley to skillet and cook until sausage is done. (If using Italian sausage links, break the links into bite-size pieces before cooking.)
Stir tomatoes and reserved bacon crumbles into sausage mixture.
Mix sausage mixture with spaghetti.
Quickly scramble eggs then mix eggs, cream and remaining ingredients to spaghetti mixture. Toss lightly.

I serve this dish with a tossed garden salad and warm, crusty Italian bread.  

Lemon Lush

Three-fourths cup butter, softened
One and one-half cups flour
One-half cup pecans, chopped
Eight ounce package of cream cheese
Two 8-ounce containers of whipped topping
One cup powdered sugar
Three 3-oz. packages instant lemon pudding
Four and one-half cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together butter, flour and pecans. Spread this mixture on bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan.
Bake for exactly 10 minutes. (It won’t be very brown, but that’s a good thing.)
Allow crust to cool.
Cream together cream cheese, powdered sugar and one container of the whipped topping. Spread this mixture over the cooled crust.
Mix the lemon pudding and the milk. Pour this mixture on top of the cream cheese layer.
After the pudding sets, spread the other container of whipped topping on top of the lemon layer.

I sprinkle another half cup of chopped pecans on top of the finished dessert.  

Check out The Food Snob for more recipes!!!

What’s In A Name?
September 22, 2007, 8:59 am
Filed under: Odds and Ends

 I found this Meme at Debbie’s place .  It looked like so much fun that I had to try it!! 

1.   Rock Star name ( first pet and current car):  Togo Alero

2.   Gangsta name (fav ice cream and fav cookie):  Moollennium Crunch Pecan Sandie

3.   Fly girl name (first initial first name and first three letters last name):  F Tay

4.   Detective name (fav color and fav animal):  Red Horse

5.   Soap opera name (middle name and city where born):  Tamar Mena

6.   Star Wars name (first three letters last name and first two letters first name):  Tay Fe

7.   Superhero name (‘The’ plus second fav color and fav drink):  The Orange Diet Coke  

8.   NASCAR name (first names of Grandfathers):  John Walter

9.   Stripper name (fav perfume and fav candy):  Cinnabar Kisses

10.  Witness Protection name (parents’ middle names):  Ann Loyd

11.  TV Weather Anchor name (5th grade teacher’s last name and major city beginning with the same letter):  McCormick Minneapolis

12.  Spy name (fav season and fav flower):  Autumn Tulip

13.  Cartoon name (fav fruit and article of clothing currently being worn plus ‘ie’ or ‘y’):  Peach Shortsie

14.  Hippy name (what you had for breakfast and fav tree):  Banana Maple

15.  Rock Star Tour name (‘The’ plus fav hobby/craft and fav weather element plus ‘Tour’):  The Gardening Storm Tour 

Management 101
September 20, 2007, 10:15 pm
Filed under: My Life

Those of you who regularly read my mundane fascinating stories should recall that prior to becoming a teacher, I was a business executive.  I was employed by a large, specialty retail operation as a store director.   As a director, I was in charge of and responsible for the day-to-day operations of a multi-million dollar business.  I had a staff of two to three managers, depending on the size of the store, at least five department heads and various numbers of full- and part-time hourly employees.   Of course, I did not begin my career with the retailer as a director.  I began as a lowly trainee and as I climbed the corporate ladder, I moved from store to store.  Over the years, I worked in five different stores. 

In the late-eighties, I was at a Maryland store just north of Washington D.C.  This particular store wasn’t the physically largest I had been in charge of, but it was the highest volume store in my career.  Yearly sales were somewhere in the neighborhood of $13,000,000.  It was also a store with some problems.  The shrink was incredibly high with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise unaccounted for at inventory.  The high customer volume made keeping merchandise on the shelves a daily nightmare.  Keeping the store neat and clean with good merchandise presentation was also very difficult.  And there were other issues to be dealt with including some dishonest employees and underachieving managers.  I fired so many people at this store that I often felt like Bloody Mary of the house of Tudor. 

We sold an extremely large amount of diapers at my Maryland store.  The diapers moved so fast that we had one employee on every shift whose sole responsibility was to keep the diaper area fully stocked.  Diaper inventory levels were carefully monitored by the department head in charge of that area of the store.  The diaper stocking employees reported to the department head who in turn reported to the floor manager who reported to me. 

One day the floor manager came to me with a problem.  It seemed the full-time, day shift employee who was supposed to keep the diapers stocked wasn’t doing an adequate job.  The department head and floor manager had worked together to try to solve the employee problem, but they weren’t getting any positive results.  When I asked the manager what the problem was, I was told that the full-time employee couldn’t keep up with his work load because he had to pray for fifteen minutes out of every hour.  Now I am a religious person and I firmly believe in the power of prayer, but having to stop work to pray for fifteen minutes every hour of the day seemed somewhat excessive to me.  Upon further investigation, I found that the employee was not only praying in the stockroom, he was also eating snacks during his 15-minute prayer periods.  He was also taking his 30-minute lunch break and the two 15-minute breaks required by law.  Do the math and you will easily discern why this employee could not keep up with his assigned job task.  To make a long story somewhat shorter, I fired the employee.  I did try to reason with him and work through the problem for about two weeks, but I was as unsuccessful as my department head and manager had been. 

The day after the diaper stocker firing was my day off.   I had just barely gotten out of bed when my phone rang.  I picked up the phone to hear the somewhat hysterical voice of my floor manager telling me that the diaper stocker was staging a protest over being fired.  The ex-employee had come into the store and chained himself…..yep, you read that right……he chained himself to a swing set in our summer display area.  I rushed through the 35-mile commute to my store and arrived to find this little man with a chain padlocked and wrapped around his waist.  The other end of the chain was wrapped and padlocked around one leg of a swing set.  The little man was praying loudly and refused to acknowledge anyone who attempted to speak to him.  I felt terrible for him, yet I had no choice but to call the police.  The police had to cut the chain and literally carry the man from the store.  It was a very stressful and somewhat sad event, but it was hilarious at the same time.  Never, in all the hours I spent in management classes, had I received any instruction on how to deal with a problem like I faced on that day.  

A week or so later one of my employees told me that the little praying man was working at another retail store.  I went over to check it out and sure enough there he was stocking shelves.