My World and Welcome to It!

These are my thoughts and opinions about life in general. I also get daily prompts from DSP which inspire me to write. If I throw in some scrapbook pages I've done, photos I've taken, and stories about me, you will have an idea about my loony life!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Most Difficult Phone Call

Tuesday’s Blog Prompt: What is the most difficult phone call you’ve ever had to make?

I’ve had to actually make 3 difficult phone calls in my life. The first one was to call my sister and tell her that our mother had passed away.

The other two calls involved the same event and it is a long story so I hope I don’t bore you with the details but it seems like yesterday that it happened instead of about 15 years ago. I had to call a friend’s wife (whom I had never met) to tell her that her husband had a heart attack and then had to call another friend’s wife (whom I also never met) to tell her that her husband got hurt helping the heart attack victim. I was scared to death and didn’t know what to say to either wife.

It was in December and I was on Christmas break from teaching so I went hiking with about 12 other hiking friends (all who were over 60 years old). We went up to Looking Glass Rock in Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. It was a beautiful crisp day with ice along the rocks in places. I was in a conversation with one of my friends, AD, who was proud that he was around 65years old and still hiking. When we reached the top of the mountain and prepared to eat lunch, I remember Jean saying, “AD doesn’t feel well, I think he is having a heart attack.” We got him laying down on the rock and I must have tossed my peanut butter and jelly sandwich over the side of the mountain without realizing it (because it wasn’t anywhere around later). We crowded around him and Ginny, who is a former flight attendant, took his pulse. She looked at us and said it was pretty weak and irregular and she thought we needed to get him help. When asked if he wanted us to get him help, AD said, “Get me help! I think I’m dying.” So Clint and I ran down the mountain to get help because it was the one and only time I had hiked without my cell phone.

As we raced down the mountain, we told people going up about our emergency as we tried to see if anyone was a medical person. Later we found out that one of the men was a preacher and when he arrived, he asked if he could pray. When they gathered around AD and prayed for him, AD said he knew then that he would survive and felt reassured even though he was in pain.

When we got to the bottom of the mountain to get my phone, we realized it wouldn’t get a signal so we got in the car and raced to the ranger station. At that time, there was federal budget cuts so the ranger station was closed. I saw a light on in one of the offices and didn’t realize that a TV station was actually interviewing a ranger when I banged on the window to tell them we needed help. He called 911 for us and told us to meet help at the Fish Hatchery so we left.

When help arrived in the form of firemen, ambulances, police, we told our story and a helicopter was dispatched to find AD. After about 3 trips, they couldn’t find him and kept making us repeat where they were when we left them. I started to think AD just had gas or something and then they all walked down the mountain since they couldn’t find them. But after searching, they found the group. Unfortuantely they had to land the helicopter a mile away and hike to where the group was. When they got AD in the basket and carried him to the helicopter, the group slipped on ice, and my friend Norm ended up breaking his ankle. Since there wasn’t room in the helicopter, he had to hike the 4 miles down the mountain in the dark with the firemen.

While Clint and I waited hours for AD to be rescued, I was told to call his wife on my cell phone. I called and called but couldn’t get any answer. Finally when they told me that he was being helicoptered to the Asheville Hospital, I left a message giving her the details. Around 11pm, when Norm finally walked out of the woods, we drove the hour long ride back home to Greenville. Norm still had another 90 minute drive to Columbia where he lived and asked me to call his wife and tell her to be ready to take him to the emergency room when he got there. I was never about making that call and she was not a happy camper when I told her. When I finally met her (and she is a super nice person), she told me this was like the third December in a row that Norm had gotten hurt. He is pretty unlucky in December I guess.

Well, those were the hardest calls I have had to make and I hope I never have to do anything like that again.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Baked Chimichangas

Baked Chimichangas

8 oz. cooked chicken, turkey, pork or beef (1 ½ cups)
1 8 oz. jar salsa
1 16-oz. can refried beans
1 4 ½ oz. can diced green chili peppers, drained
3 T thinly sliced green onions
4 oz. Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
8 8- to 9- inch flour tortillas
Sour cream (optional)
Salsa (optional)
Thinly sliced green onion (optional)

1. Using 2 forks, shred cooked poultry, pork, or beef. In a large skillet combine meat, salsa, beans, chili peppers, and green onions. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through. Stir in cheese.
2. Meanwhile, wrap tortillas in foil; warm in 350 degree oven for 10 min. For each chimichanga, spoon about ½ cup meat mixture on a tortilla, near 1 edge. Fold in sides; roll up.
3. Place in a baking pan or on a baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until heated through and tortillas are crisp and brown.
4. If desired, top with a spoon of salsa, then a drop of sour cream, and sprinkle green onions on top to make it look pretty.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Dream I Never Achieved

Blog Prompt: A dream or goal you failed to achieve

When I graduated college I had a minor in French and had thought about working for the United Nations as an interpreter. I took four years of French in high school and loved it. For me, it was easy and I didn’t seem to hardly study. Even during college I was good enough to tutor others so they could pass the required course. My big problem was that I was shy and hated to speak the language. I was so afraid of how stupid I sounded and had a lot of problems with the accent. I was willing to fail the course if it required that I speak the language but luckily it never came to that. We have been to Paris, France and I was lucky enough to remember a lot of my basic words to get around and reminisce about what I had studied. Learning languages are fun for me and I’ve studied basic words in Spanish and Italian. Next month I will be taking a course in Beginning Chinese and I’m so excited. I hope that some of it will stick and that I won’t be afraid to speak it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Childhood Things I Miss

Blog Prompt: Things I miss from childhood, teen years, young adult, or life as a single adult

I miss not ever having to worry about a thing like I did as a young child. I was the youngest of 3 girls and my sisters were ten and twelve years older than me so I never lacked anything, including love. I was probably the most loved child on the face of the earth. I remember always being happy and my family surrounded me with love. I’m not saying that I always got my way or got everything I asked for but I got the important things. My father worked in restaurant and my mother never worked or drove a car so I always had a parent at home with me who knew everything I did so I never really got in trouble growing up. Now I don’t know how my parents did all that they did for me but they did and I didn’t lack for anything important and I know I can never tell how much I appreciate it. Those were the good old days!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Words to Live By

Blog Post: How about words to live by...

“Be Honest.”
Honesty is so important to me. If I expect others to be honest to me, then I need to be honest with others. I lose respect for people who lie to me. Once I find out I am lied to, it is really hard for me to ever trust this person again. I forgive them but that doesn’t mean that I trust them. I believe that when you start lying, you start to set yourself up for many evil things and nothing good comes from lying. As a mother, I tried to instill this in my children and told them that if they were in trouble, it will be much better for them if they are just honest about it. As a teacher, I have told my students this many times and hopefully some of it has sunk in. My husband and I do not keep secrets from each other. There are times that I wish I could but I just can’t. He is my closest friend and I never want him to lose the trust that we have in our relationship. So, I guess these are two words that I really live by in my life.

(picture is a wordle of this post)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Wedding

Blog Prompt: Blast from the past. Pick a story from your past.

We dated almost four years before we both agreed that the time was right to get married. It was scary to have to break the news to my parents because it was the first time that I ever defied them. They felt that I should only marry someone who was Chinese and that wasn’t going to happen. Luckily my mom was willing to make my wedding gown and veil which turned out beautiful. At first my dad didn’t even want to come for the wedding, but since I was his baby, he gave in.

My mom rode a Greyhound bus alone from FL to SC at Easter time to pick out material and a pattern for my gown. She also met my future in laws and had a wonderful visit. Since my mom had made most of my clothes all my life she was able to make my gown with no fittings. I never saw my gown until 2 days before the wedding and it fit perfectly. After seeing the brick walk up to the bell tower, my mom realized that we needed aisle cloth so my gown wouldn’t get snagged on the brick. So she sewed up yards of aisle cloth just days before the wedding and we spend 2 full days ironing it and rolling it up on a broom handle so it could be rolled out along the path.

We were to be married at the Furman Bell Tower which was one of my dreams come true. The night before the wedding, Don wanted to get tents set up in case it rained and we had a big fight. The only tents I knew of said “Mackey Mortuary” on them and I didn’t want any funeral home tents at my wedding. I told him that it would NOT rain and if there were tents at the scene, I would turn around and leave. I even told him that I wasn’t sure I wanted to marry him if he was such a jerk to think it was alright. I didn’t know until years later they make tents without words on them!

It rained all night long and when I woke up the rain had stopped. It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day (and very humid!). I was supposed to start walking down the aisle at noon right after the bells rang in the tower but my dad and the driver (Don’s uncle Calvin) wouldn’t let me be on time because they said it was bad luck. Don got nervous and thought I wasn’t going to show up. By the time I arrived, he was about to have a nervous breakdown and all our wedding pictures are blurry from him shaking. A nice breeze also arrived and my veil covered his face in every picture. Finally married on June 26, 1982! We had a wonderful wedding and I never regretted a minute of it. We’ve been married 26 years and I look forward to many, many more years.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Feel Safe

Blog Prompt: I feel safe when ...

· there is light at night time.
· People are round me are not mad.
· I don’t see any violence.
· My house is not having any problems.
· My car is full of gas and works.
· I have no flat tires.
· I have enough money to pay my bills.
· I am healthy.
· I am full of energy and feel like I could deal with anything.

(Sorry I haven't been around last week. I've had the blogging blues and just needed to take a break. I hope I'm back now! I've missed y'all!)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

If I Only Had Courage

Blog Prompt: Feats I'd attempt if I had the courage.

I am usually a scaredy cat about a lot of things but lately I’ve been looking at these rock climbing walls. You know, the ones where they put the harness around your and let you climb up this fake wall. It is usually set up at fairs or in front of malls or fundraising events. I have been thinking that I might like to try it. As of right now it is still in the thinking stage and may never get to the actual doing stage.

Another thing I really want to try is to roller blade. I have the helmet, the knee pads, elbow pads, and the roller blades. I tried it one time on the side walk with my hiking sticks and made it down the sidewalk in front of my house and thought I wouldn’t make it back home. I think this fall that I might actually try it again. Surely I can do this. At least I think that when I see other people roller blading past me.

Rock wall picture: Original image: 'david in motion' by: Benjamin Chia
Note: I had a terrible day today. We planned to go hiking with our hiking group and I was so excited! The lunches were made and the car was packed but my hubby decided to use the bathroom before we left (like a good boy should!) when he noticed we had very little water pressure. I didn't know why we had little pressure but I checked in the house and decided to walk around the flower beds to check outside faucets. Sure enough, the one in the back yard, as far from the house as you can get, had a busted water pipe and that corner of the yard was ankle deep in water. Since we are supposed to have storms arriving soon (possibly Hannah), we called the plumber right away and didn't go hiking. Part of me wanted to just cut the water off and deal with this tomorrow but we had to cut the water off at the road and I know we couldn't go without water comfortably for a few days. Then what if the plumber couldn't come out and it took many days to fix, so I bit my lip and didn't even whine. We went outside to dig up the mud away from the busted pipe so the plumber didn't have to spend so much time doing that which would save us money. In between digging and letting the water recede, we decided to trim dead branches out of the tree and cut back others which were shading my rose garden. My wonderful hubby grabs a branch and pulls it back hoping it will break off at the dead spot and come down. Not only did it break off but it broke off close to the trunk and the limb was about 12 inches thick, knocked my husband over, threw him in the bushes and landed on top of him. At first I thought he broke his leg but his ankle has some abrasions and he is a little bruised but luckily in one piece. We will need to go out with the chain saw to cut this limb in pieces in order for the city to pick it up, but we will save that for another day's adventure. Needless to say, I didn't get anything done today because I just didn't feel like it.

Happy Teaching Memory

I was asked by TJ Shay from TJ On a Journey: It has been one year since your retirement... Looking back, is there one happy teaching memory that rises to the top of the list? (crossposted on my Successful Teaching blog)

I had a boy come to my ninth grade learning disabilities self contained classroom who didn’t even know the alphabet. He looked disgusted with school the first time I saw him and refused to do any reading or writing work. Of course I didn’t know how little he could do because the achievement test he took the previous year was a multiple choice test and he had a lot of lucky guesses, which elevated his scores. I suspected that the scores weren’t accurate and called home to brag about how I enjoyed having this boy in my class because he contributed so much to class discussions. This mother was so relieved that he wasn’t in trouble and shared with me that the student didn’t even know the alphabet. She went so far as to say the previous teacher had told her not to help her son because as a parent, she had no educational background and was confusing him. I was horrified and came up with a plan of action so we both could help him in school and at home. In fact, I had lessons for him to work on in the summers too. I didn’t see this as doing anything extraordinary because I felt this is why I became a teacher. By the time he graduated, he could read on a second grade level and fill out job applications. At graduation, he came up to me with a dozen long stem red roses and with tears in his eyes, thanked me for teaching him to read. His mother said that this was all his own idea and he bought them with his own money. I was floored by this because I never expected it. Since I had this boy for four years, I developed a strong bond with the whole family over time and we are still friends 25 years later. After graduation he enrolled in the literacy program in our county to continue working on his reading. He found a good job and even brought his first pickup truck to my house to show us. I was so proud of him. I have been thrilled to see his son go through school and graduate. My student told me that because I didn’t let him give up in school, he was able to encourage his son when times got tough. I will never forget the lesson that this family taught me: that I can make a difference by teaching and it doesn’t have to be anything spectacular or extraordinary and it is so important to work together to achieve success. (When I write this, I realize how much I miss the classroom and now live vicariously through other teacher’s lives by reading their blogs!)

Photo credit: Original image: 'Roses 20' by: Karl Eschenbach

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Dark

Blog prompt: Back on track with our journey of self-discovery. Spend time writing about your phobias/things you are afraid of.

I know this sounds silly but the biggest thing I’m afraid of is the dark. As long as I’m with someone, the dark is not so bad. When we go to sleep, the TV is on a timer so that we fall asleep before the TV turns off. When we stay in hotel rooms, I always leave the bathroom light on and the door shut enough so the light just barely lights the room. When we are camping, my husband starts the campfire so we won’t be in complete darkness but it still is creepy to me. When we camp, I can’t wait to go to sleep so I can get up and watch it get daylight. Since I wake up so early, I usually sit outside the tent with a flashlight and read a book until the sun comes up. I have big candles around the house in case the power goes off and my hubby bought this big portable battery (to jump the car off) which also has an outlet on it to plug in my lamp if the power goes out. I don’t know what caused me to be so afraid of the dark but that is also why I don’t like horror movies because all the bad things seem to happen in the dark.