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Showing posts from 2009

End of year blog

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Well my friends, yesterday was my birthday and I turned 36 years old. As scary as it is to be closer to 40 than to 30 it is not nearly as scary as being closer to 50 than to 20 (as my friend Ken thoughtfully pointed out on facebook). C’est la vie, right? This sort of thing does not usually affect me as it does other people. When I turned 30 I was depressed, but not because of the big 3 0, but because it was my first alone in Athens and after only six months here I did not have a lot of people to celebrate with and could not even manage a Christmas tree.

But every birthday for me is a time to reflect on my life, and what I went through that past year and what I expect to go through in the next. Maybe it is because my birthday is so close to the New Year, maybe it’s that old soul creeping up again.

Anyway, as I look at my life in 2009, so many changes, so many highs and lows, it makes me very hopeful for 2010 and all the new decade will bring: the twenty teens.

In 2009 I managed to…

The Fallen Friend

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We remember a fallen friend today, our beloved family pet Bernie. She lived to the ripe, old age of 13; a pretty good life span for any dog.

Bernie had already had a close encounter with death as a puppy. She barely survived being hit by a car. Her hindquarters were turned to jell-o, and she lay on her side for several weeks. I nursed her slowly back to health. Eventually she would run again, but always with a barely perceptible hitch in her stride, which grew more pronounced with age.

She would throw herself into battle with any stray dog rash enough to enter our yard, her turf. She had far more courage than brains. She would chase a dog twice her size out of our yard, and to my horror, foolishly across a busy highway.

For all her bravery, she was terrified of thunder and would seek any means whatsoever to be near people during a thunderstorm. Eventually, with her hearing mostly gone, she would see rain and assume the worst. We would find her cowering inside the greenhouse …

Giving thanks

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Thanksgiving is the best holiday this country has. There are no gifts to be given, no religious exclusivity connected to it, it revolves around food and more food, and it mostly involves being with family and being grateful. What is wrong with that? Nothing.

Now of course, there is the history of genocide against the Native Americans... and then there is the Bart Simpson thanksgiving blessing Michael likes to say: "Dear God, we paid for all this food, so thanks for nothing." But lets let that go for now.

So Michael and I celebrated out first Thanksgiving as husband and wife on Wednesday. We had a delicious 14 lbs. turkey, candied sweet potatoes, baked russet potatoes with cheese and some asparagus. It was all very yummy. Ah! Strawberry cake and Pinot Grigio too. We will be eating leftover turkey until Christmas. Last night, we had the Davis family thanksgiving, with Michael's dad's side of the family at Aunt Valgene's house. It was nice, Aunt Valgene is…

Drivin’ N Cryin’

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The following blog was written by my very loving husband, Michael. Though it may not seem that way... he says these things out of love.
Lisa
My wife is learning to drive…….again.Many a brave soul has undertaken this Herculean task and failed for lack of patience.Obviously, since she is learning again, the first 50 lessons didn’t take.Being the masochist that I am, I decided to try.In fact, I have been forced into it by our living arrangements.Most readers will know that we live in Dewy Rose, a.k.a. the boonies of Georgia.In order to get anywhere (other than a cow pasture), you must drive.Recently during a routine trip to town to do errands, we stopped in a residential neighborhood to switch places so that Lisa could practice driving.She eased away from the curb and immediately asked “Am I ok?”Meaning, is she more or less in the middle of the lane?I have been driving for 20 years and forget that at first it is not always obvious just how close you are to the white or yellow lines.No soo…

Hair

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For most people getting a hair cut is routine, but not for me. I am all about the hair. I hate to be conceded, but most of you guys know me and know I have a goddess complex, so why pretend? I have great hair. Thanks to my Mami and my Papi, because let's face it: it is just good genes. Come to think of it, are you really conceded when you have nothing to do with it? Can I take credit for my hair if it is just an inheritance? Think about it... Anyway, my hair is very abundant and thick, it is a very rich brown color and is very straight. It used to be dead straight, like Chinese hair. In my thirties it has started to get a bit of a curl, a little more life in it. We all have African roots, and in Puerto Rico we say everyone's sliver comes out eventually. I have been praying for my bit of "negrita" to come out for years, but I digress.

My hair has not been above my shoulders since I was in the fourth grade, got lice, and my mom had the hairdresser chop it off…

Sunday in Georgia

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Michael and I wanted to go out and do something this Sunday. Get some fresh air, see some fall color, maybe get a hike in. I would have been content to go to Watson's Mill (which is about a 15 minute drive away). Michael, however, has been wanting to go to Toccoa and maybe see Curahee Mountain (of Band of Brothers fame). So we hit the road towards the Georgia mountains.This picture was taken in the parking lot of the Curahee Military Museum. It was quite interesting. We found out that Curahee Mountain is out of the way and only 1740 feet high, so we changed our mind after the museum and headed for Tullulah Falls and try and get a hike in.



Tallulah Gorge, for those who don't know, is a magnificent two mile deep canyon. The fall color is pretty impressive, there is a great big waterfall, lots of hiking trails, one includes a suspension bridge. If you want to see more pics, go to my facebook page, I will post them all today. We got there at 4 pm or so, so we needed to take …

The Great White Hunter Returns

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OK. Laura Banks Lewis is discouraged from reading this post. So is everyone else who might be against hunting.

In Michael's defense he does not hunt for sport, he hunts to eat. He does enjoy grilled deer steak, and makes damn good chili with the ground deer meat.

Most of you heard the story of Michael's 8 point buck he shot last fall. He hadn't hunted in almost 20 years. He went out three times. The third time he went hunting, he came back in less than an hour with his kill. It took like an hour this time, but he got another 8 point buck.

This past Monday Michael and his dad went out hunting. Michael was fidgety after about 30 minutes. Last time he was alone, and brought a book (by Milton Friedman- you know, some light reading). He forgot to bring a book this time so he was quickly bored. When he was just beginning to wonder when he should give up and go home, he saw one in front of him off to his right. As he waited for a clearer shot, he noticed another one in f…

The County Fair

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Michael took me last week to the Elbert County Fair. Yeah, I was scared too. I kept hearing about the crazies at the fair, and all that. The only notion of a County Fair that I had came from tv and books, because we don't do this kind of stuff in Puerto Rico. But I am a Country Rican now so I went to the fair.

I was surprised that at first it was not as weird as I expected it to be.


For those of you who have never been to a county fair in a small country county in the deep south I will describe it for you. I took a few pictures with my blackberry- because I forgot my camera. I will not make that mistake again.

First of all you have to pay to get in which was surprising to me. but whatever. Michael had said that he expected it to take 30 minutes for us to make our way around the place. You walk through the gates and you get overwhelmed by the smell of fried foods.

I am not making fun of this, because Puerto Ricans love fried foods so it was like being home. I


never saw fried o…

Unemployment

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It has been almost two weeks since I have been home. I wish I could say I hate it, but I don't. I don't love it either though. It is great not having to get up and go somewhere I hate every morning, that's for sure. But I feel a little bit useless. I have been working for a long time and not earning any money makes me uneasy. Michael has been great about it, but you know he wants me to contribute financially (as much as he loves $). He is happy with Suzie H. Maker making his lunch and dinner and taking care of him, who wouldn't?

The problem is there is not many exciting things to discuss here since I am home mostly. Unless anyone wants to discuss health care reform, or the odds of Israel striking Iran ( I watch a lot of news programs).

This week I went to Atlanta to see Tammy and to see Gus, and Miguel and Liz. I also had my monthly bookclub, which gave me a chance to see the lovely ladies. Other than that Mike and I have been working on the movie collection. …

All we are is just another brick in the wall...

Yesterday was my last day at the high school. In a surprising turn of events, three days after I turned in my resignation the principal informed me that the board was not going to replace me. Not only were they not replacing me this semester, they weren't even going to try to replace me for the next semester either. He says finding a foreign language teacher takes time, so they will find a replacement for next August. I was stunned, because I never thought it was possible.

Now remember, I had written before that there was a candidate interested in the county but they never even called her. Normally if a teacher leaves they find a replacement. In drastic cases they hire a sub for the rest of the semester. Apparently the option of dissolving the classes has been there but usually reserved for elective courses, not for academic courses that are required in order for the kids to get to college. Basically, they saw an opportunity to save the money on salary, and screw the kids. …

"You think you're big time? You're gonna f&^%!@^ die big time"

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Did I mention we live in the country?

Michael and I are comfortably on the couch, watching the bulldogs kick some game cock ass when we hear Carlito growling. We know it's Carlito because Vito hardly ever makes a sound. Unless he's hungry in which case he meows loudly. So Michael gets up to check on him, thinking he must have gotten into the trash again.

Michael comes back saying "You don't want to know." LOL He knows me well so I am worried. Carlito has a live mouse in his mouth. He is growling because he is worried Vito is gonna take him away. See photo evidence above.

After a few minutes we see two cats, and no mouse. Now I'm worried that the mouse is in my bed or something. Eventually they found him, and yes, they tortured him to death.
Poor mouse had a worse night than Spurrier...

Oh yeah. Eventually Michael threw the carcass outside (because that's what you do in the country)

Go Dawgs!

Reclaiming my freedom

I did it. I turned in my resignation letter. I gave them until the end of the month to find someone else to torture. I left the letter in the Principal's office before 8 am. I wished I could have done it face to face, but tracking down the principal is very hard, especially the week of homecoming. Anyway, at 8:45 I had to write up a student. Which means I basically kicked her out of my classroom and sent her to the scariest woman in the school: the assistant principal for discipline. Most kids shiver when they hear her name. This girl basically said "let's go!".

She mouthed off in class to me, because I helped another student before her. Can you believe it? I asked her "What's with the attitude? Wait your turn." And she said " You ignored me, you're being rude, I shouldn't have to wait!" Loudly. Now, remember, there is one of me and 30 of them and I don't like it, I really don't need attitude from a student about it…

Four day weekend!

I have a four day weekend, because the governor of Georgia furloughed teachers for 3 days this semester. The first furlough day was July 31st, which was supposed to be my first day on the job pre planning and my new employee orientation. The governor said "3 unpaid days off" and each system chose it's days. So it's Elbert County's fault I never had a new employee orientation, which may be why I never was given a contract to sign. Might be, because I have been told that this is not the first time a teacher has been on the classroom for a month, or even a semester without a contract.

My second furlough day will be the Tuesday after Labor Day, which most teachers are happy about because it gives them a 4 day weekend- setting aside the fact that a furlough is a temporary pay cut. Of course, I never signed a contract so I really do not know for sure what my yearly salary is supposed to be, but I know whatever it was it cut down by 3 days. I know some of you migh…

I do not like teaching

It pains me to say it, I know. So many of you have said "You would be a great teacher Lisa", I know you meant it. I thought so too. But I am not. I could be, but we do not live in the world we once did.

First of all there is the work load. You have to test, quiz, give homework and all that good stuff to see where they are academically, and then you have to grade it all. When you have 95 students it all adds up. Also, these kids are used to being entertained and they are under the impression that everything should be fun. We guess what, life is not fun and most things worth having take hard work. Before every test they expect you to give them a study guide. I have informed my students that the study guide is the notes they take on their own and the work they did in class. Study guide my ass!

Then there is the fact that most of them do not want to learn anything. Which brings me to the second reason I hate teaching: I feel like an under paid babysitter. I went to gr…

OMG!!!

So, my dear friends, I have survived my first full week of teaching. Oh my god, I am tired!!!

So on day one I asked my kids why were they taking Spanish. Predictably, most of them said they needed to fulfill a foreign language requirement in order to go to college. One of my cheerleaders said because she wanted a boyfriend that looked like Enrique Iglesias. One of my funny boys mentioned Spring Break in Cancun. Another boy mentioned how beautiful latin women were. I told them I appreciated the honesty. A couple of them said their parents were making them, and my personal favorite: "I have too. If it were up to me I would not take it and if they come here they have to learn English." My response was: "OK. But you want to go to college don't you? So you will do your best, right?"

I have three one hour and a half blocks of 30 or so students. The first one is 28 and smart and sassy. They know their Spanish I, they brag about their accomplishments, and ar…

Where the hell is Dewy Rose?

Dewy Rose is a small community in Elbert County outside of Elberton. It is not a town or a city, it is a community. It has a post office and it's own zip code (30634), but not much else.

I live on the Davis family land. The land includes a green house business, my in-laws' house and a lovely double wide mobile home where my hubby and I currently live rent free. It is somewhere around one hundred acres of country, and outside my window I see trees, cows, squirrels, birds and occasionally chipmunks and rabbits. Sounds like a Disney movie right?

Except I am so not a country southern belle. I was born in the projects of the South Bronx, I grew up in Cabo Rojo Puerto Rico ten minutes away from beaches, I do not drive, I do not drink sweet tea, and I have a irrational fear of insects. I am a Puerto Rican girl living in a small town who is about to start teaching Spanish to High School students whose parents might call Spanish "Mexican".

Michael and I discussed startin…