A Beautiful Thankful Hodgepodge

1. Besides U.S. Thanksgiving, it's also National Game and Puzzle Week...what game have you played most recently, and who were you with? Have you worked a puzzle of any kind in the past week?
Being a Speech Pathologist, I play games quite often! This week, we played a little game that the kids really enjoy. There are "pieces of pie" that are placed in 4 groups. The kids decide what kind of pie they want (there are 6 choices), and then they take turns (after saying words with their sound) picking a piece of pie to see who will finish their pie first. It gets the kids up and moving.
No puzzles this week...every now and then I'll do one with some of my students, though.

2. What is one place you were thankful for this year?

The Keys. I don't think I need to say anything else about that!

3. Take a nap, watch football, go for an after dinner walk, or hit the stores...whichONE is on your must-do list for Thanksgiving day? For those of you playing along who aren't in the US, answer as it relates to any big holiday meal.

Go for an after dinner walk.

4. Besides Thanksgiving, what's your favorite home cooked meal?

My mom's lasagna.

5. What product from an infomercial would you most like to own?

One of those laser hair removal systems. Seriously. One of the downsides of menopause!

6. Christmas shopping? Have you begun? Finished? Will you shop on Black Friday? How do you feel about stores opening on Thanksgiving Day? What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done online?

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I bought a present for my SIL. That's still the only present I've bought so far! I hate that the stores are open on Thanksgiving. You won't catch me at one that day...or the next morning. I might go out in the afternoon after the crowds have thinned out. I don't do a lot of shopping online...mainly because I wait until the last minute!

7. What are you most grateful for that adds beauty to your everyday life?

Views like this:

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving Holiday! If you're not in the U.S.A., have a wonderful weekend!

Airmail Christmas 2014

It's that time of year again! Making Memories coordinates this every year. In memory of a special purpose who lost his/her life to cancer, all it takes is sending a Christmas Card to someone. Rebecca will send you the name & address, and you should receive one in return. All she asks is that you blog/instagram/tweet a picture of your card using the hashtag #airmailchristmas. It's that easy!
This year we are honoring the memory of a young lady who passed away when she was a junior in high school. To read more about her, click HERE.
Hurry, though. The deadline to submit your name & address is 01 December.

Week Wrap-up

Yes, you read the title correctly. I was so busy last week, that I can't just do a "Weekend Wrap-up"!
Last Sunday marked the end of an era for me. I decided (after much thinking on my part) to stop playing in the flute choir. There were quite a few factors that came into play for my decision: I want to start playing for Mass, and I can't do both since both groups practice on Thursday. The "snarkiness" of one of the members also played into the decision. I tried to get past it, but when you get to the point where you dread going to something you pay money for, it's time to leave.
I'm going to miss that bass flute, though! They have a former member coming back, and she plays a mean bass, so I didn't feel quite so guilty knowing she would be stepping in.

Wednesday, I got to go to my first ever ASHA  Convention! ASHA is the national organization for Speech/Language Pathologists & Audiologists. I had the best time! I met some speech bloggers, and was a bit star-struck! 
A co-worker and I presented a Poster Session. It went amazingly well! We had a lot of people stop, read, and ask questions. I was amazed at the positive response we received. We're seriously thinking about expanding the topic into a talk for the school's convention for summer, 2016.
It was a 2-day whirlwind of being updated on the latest materials & techniques. We took time out for a little fun on Friday night. We went to Minus 5, which is an ice bar. It was a bit pricy, but I figured that would be the only time I ever went to something like that, so it was worth it! The whole room was incredible. To see our pictures, click HERE. Our pictures are #28-31. After that, we had dinner (& finally found Stella!), then walked back to the Convention Center, took the shuttle back to the hotel, packed, and crashed.

Sunday afternoon was the community band's fall concert. There were a couple of spots where I really thought the piece was going to fall apart (not the flutes' fault), but they managed to keep it together. After the concert, all but 3 of the flutes took a couple of pictures:
 Guess who insisted on a funny picture? (See below)
I've had a good time with this group this semester. As you can see, the band consists of musicians of all ages...from college to senior. 
I have another short week this week: only 2 days of school and then Thanksgiving Break! If you work outside the home, what's your schedule like for this week?

Veteran Hodgepodge

Joyce is back from a week off, so it's back to the Hodgepodge!

1. We celebrate Veteran's Day in the US of A on November 11th. When did you last interact with a member of the armed forces (either currently serving or retired)? Have you ever written a letter to a soldier, bought a meal or coffee for a solider, said an unprompted thank you to a soldier you encountered out and about somewhere? If you're not in the US, comment on a similar holiday in your own country.
I interact with a veteran every day. CH went to West Point for a year, then was in the National Guard until YS was born. His dad is retired Army, and his brother still serves full time in the Army National Guard. I also have a couple of brothers who are retired from the Air Force & Navy National Guards. AND, I have a nephew serving in the Army and one in the Air Force right now. The Air Force nephew's wife is also serving in the Air Force. I can't forget my Daddy...he served in the Navy at the end of WWII; he was in the Asian Theater.
Top left: my brother (Navy), nephew (Air Force), and Daddy (Navy). Top right: My BIL (Army) & my wonderful SIL (who puts up with him!). Bottom Left: another brother (Air Force). Bottom Center: CH (Army). Bottom Right: My FIL (Army).

2. You can have fifty pounds of anything at all (except money)...what would you choose?
Hmmmmm...CH says plutonium because it's worth a lot of money! Or platinum...because plutonium is hard to handle. (I had no idea what to answer, so I asked him.)

3. When did you last receive an invitation in the 'real' mail? What was it for and did you attend? When it comes to RSVP-ing, are you an 'early responder' or a 'last minute, barely-under-the-wire' kind of guest?
The last invitation I received was an to my nephew's wedding. I responded pretty quickly after receiving it. It was a beautiful wedding...outdoors on a river island. They did all of the decorations themselves, and it was just gorgeous.

4. What's something you really don't like to waste?
That's easy: Food. (Ha, ha!)

5. Cheers, Friends, MASH, Seinfeld...of the ones listed, your favorite long-running sitcom?
It would really depend on my mood, but if I had to pick one, I would pick M*A*S*H.

6. What decision are you glad you made?
Besides the decision to marry CH, to move back to the Small Town 10 years ago. I'm so glad that I had those 10 years with Mama.

7. In this month of 'Thanksgiving' what is one thing that's different today than it was a year ago that you're grateful for?
I'm extremely grateful that I'm not at one of the schools I worked at last year. That one school was a full time job, and I had not only that one, but my mountain school as well. I seriously think I would have had a break-down if I had that school along with dealing with Mama's passing. (Okay, that may be a little melodramatic, but you get the drift!)

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
My mountain school is having monthly "Family Fun Nights" in an attempt for the school to be the center of the community. The teacher who is putting them together is doing an incredibly awesome job. Last night, we had a Brigadier General, and a colonial fife & drum corps. They were quite entertaining!
And...check out this picture of OS:
I showed the picture to a friend, and she asked if it made me nervous. I don't know he's doing it, so, no, I'm not nervous about it!
Here's a bit of trivia for you:
Remember back in the 80's when M&Ms got rid of the red ones because of the red dye scare? A young man from Knoxville started a campaign to bring it back. You can see the clip from the news here. It's a pretty neat story; it's just too bad he doesn't get royalty charges every time the red M&M is featured in a commercial!

Memory Monday: My Family

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday
Memory Monday is back! I kind of forgot about it the past few weeks, but it's back today! Intterested? Check out the post at Retired not Tired.
Where to even start with my family? I'm a proud member of the Largest Family Reunion in Texas on my paternal grandmother's side. (So, if you are, too, we're related somehow!) All of my ancestors came from Germany/Austria/present day Czech Republic. That's it. No Indian Native American, English, Scottish, etc. 
Anyway, both of my parents had 7 siblings; my parents had 10 kids. 
Photo taken in 2002
Within my siblings, I was the first one to have more than 1 child. Then, one of my younger brothers had to best me by not only having the only birth granddaughter, but also have twin boys. Hmmmph.
If I ever was grateful that my parents had a lot of kids, it was when my mother passed away. Most of us are rather close...not call each other every day close, but if one of us needs something, the others come running. If you know any of us, when you see a sibling, you can tell we're related. Since I've moved home, I can't tell you the number of times I've had somebody look at me and ask me if I was a _____ski (my maiden name).
Just as all of us are different, my 3 boys are also different. I just can't imagine life without any of them!

Weekend Wrap-Up

The "weekend" started with a little parade at my new/old school. The Kindergarteners wear their costumes to school for an 8:00 parade around the school. (Then they have to change into regular clothes.) This was my favorite of the parade:
I spent Halloween night resetting my work iPad, hoping that I could get an app that I use a lot to work. They had an update a few days ago, but there was a bug in it, so they fixed it and updated it again Thursday night. Now, the app will open but immediately close. I talked to another person who has the app, and she didn't have the same problem. My reset didn't work, and I'm pretty bummed about the app not working. I really need to use it this weekend to do a few things. 
While working on the reset, I looked through Netflix for a "not-so-scary" Halloween movie. (I don't do scary movies.). I found a movie from 1959...how scary could that be? And, it was a Vincent Price movie:
It was really funny to see how far the special effects have come since then, and realize that it was probably a very scary movie in its time. I'd definitely recommend it.
While I was watching the movie and resetting my iPad, the wind picked up. I don't know how many trick-or-treaters were out, because we had a cold, rainy, windy Halloween night.  And, the Small Town High School had a huge game. The district championship was on the line: they played a Catholic High School that was undefeated. Notice I said "was". STHS won 21-14. The other team is actually in a different classification, but we're in the same district. This year, there are 6 state championships (1A-6A), but during the year, there are 3 "classifications". Really weird, but it's changing next year.
I spent Saturday prepping myself for the grocery store, then actually going to the store. I made our first pot of chili of the season along with some cornbread. Then the big game. I ended up going to bed when South Carolina went up by 2 touchdowns with about 5 minutes to go. Guess I should've stuck it out, because the Vols pulled it out in overtime! If I had done that, I probably wouldn't have been able to go to sleep.
I spent Sunday making a picture schedule and a couple of social stories for a student, taking breaks to clean the house & do laundry. Hallmark is already running Christmas movies, and this was a perfect movie for them! I was perfectly content to have them playing in the background while I was doing everything.
this coming week is a short week at work for me: Election Day is on Tues., so we have the day off. Don't forget to exercise your right to vote!

The Dreaded Grocery Store

I am now officially in avoidance mode. I'm trying to avoid going to the grocery store. Maybe it would help if I wasn't so OCD with shopping. Am I the only one out there who has to go through these steps?

1. Write out what we're having each day on a calendar. (I used http://www.calendarsthatwork.com/ and download a free calendar.)

2. Check the forecast, especially this time of year.  There are certain things I like to eat for dinner when it's cold out.

3. Make out a grocery list using the app Out of Milk.  The great thing about this is that I have the categories organized according to the grocery store that I go to, so I can mark things off as I go. It also keeps me from buying a lot of stuff we don't need. Another great thing about this app is that I can pull it up on my laptop, enter my list, and it syncs to my phone. (Well, usually...last time it didn't because of an update-totally my fault- & I had to pull it up online.)

4. Look through the paper store coupons and then the coupons online.

Yep, I'm tired before I even get out the door.
snore emoticon

I just realized that this post was published with the title "The Dreaded Grocery Story" instead of "Store"! It sounds more like a story, for sure!

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