Sunday, June 25, 2006

Names, or a Rose by any Other Name

I think that Shakespeare may have been wrong, when he had Romeo say that a rose by another name would smell as sweet. Okay only partially wrong, it would smell as sweet, but with the wrong name would we even bend down to smell it? Names and words are important.

I'm back from my trip and want to write about the many adventures we had, but I'm having a hard time coming up with a name for my friend. Screen names or blog names are unique, and reflect the individuality of the person. I had no problem with my screen name, or my husband's screen name, or the screen "identifiers" of the students I write about. Heck, I even came up with two screen names for my friend's husband; but for this special friend it has been so hard!

I tried anagrams of her name, and they were not flattering! One thing about this friend is that she is ALWAYS RIGHT (except on rare occasions, when she is not) so I tried to have that phrase translated into Latin, because Latin is a classic language, but it just didn't fit, somehow semper rectus, did not bring up the best picture. We both have undergraduate degrees in English, so words mean a lot to us. I tried the anagram of always right and the two that were "possible" Gail Tsar Way and Galaway Shirt, weren't right either.

So we tried her favorite gem, Garnet, but that didn't fit, although we pondered Argent an anagram of garnet, and did some research on the word,but that wasn't it either. She liked the concept, Argenta wasn't too bad, and we felt we were closer, but still not there. We've chatted on the phone, and looked up a gazillion things that she fancies, but still we weren't quite on target.

I've been thinking about her screen name and it important to me for her to have a good screen because she has been such a good friend. We met because our children became friends. We both have sons, only sons. We did cub scouts together, helped each other raise the boys, stood by each other through a variety of life's challenges. We've been through so much together that to try and list it, would fill the Internet.

Our relationship has grown over the years to be more like sisters, and since neither one of us have sisters, only brothers, we've formed a "club". We are the founding charter members of "The Sisterhood of the Cheese Breadsticks".

We would go shopping or run errands and need to talk, but there wasn't a place to sit and talk in the grocery store or wherever, so we would go to a local pizza parlor, order cheese breadsticks and a coke, and could sit and talk. It became a tradition. Now that our sons are married we have extended the membership to include our daughters-in-law.

The initiation is simple, it takes two of us, we take the daughter-in-law out for cheese breadsticks, at any pizza parlor. We each hold up a cheese breadstick and one of us recites our ritual, "To the men who brought us together". After that we eat the cheese breadsticks. We also share the sum of our wisdom about marriage. That can be stated in two sentences. First, it takes two people to make a marriage work and second, one cannot choose the mother-in-law they will have, only the mother-in-law they will be. We've also added a third piece of advice and that is that short women should not wear strappy sandals.

I haven't quite resolved the name issue, but I'm leaning toward Margarita Prairie Rose. It has meaning and I think fits her.

Let me know what ya think. How did y'all pick some of your screen names? By the way Margarita Prairie Rose is also an educator. By the way cheese fries can be substituted for the cheese breadsicks.

Road Trip

I've returned from my trip. It was not exactly the vacation my friend and I had planned. At this point I won't go into details about the problems, but let me say this we put 4,000 miles on the car in about 9 days. I'm now autophobic. PLEASE don't ask me to get into a car and drive more than 30 minutes. However since the trip ended up the way it did I am glad that this friend and I could endure it together.

Originally we had planned to see Vicksburg, drive the Natchez Trace, see Chicamauga, the Biltmore Mansion, go to the Great Smokey Mountains, visit Breaks Interstate Park, and of course visit with a few friends along the way. Well that didn't quite happen. The Sunday morning Margarita Prairie-Rose flew into town was complicated by a few things.

We had planned to pick my #2 son up at the airport when Margarita flew in, but there was a change in plans, (the first of many). Before I left to pick up Margarita Prairie-Rose, my son called to say the friends who had picked him up the day before, where throwing a party for him and they would bring him home. Meanwhile, MPR's parents had called to say they would not be taking the trip after all. This made for massive amounts of frustration on both our parts. MPR and I were both starting this "adventure" out, but not with the best of circumstances.

MPR has a saying "things usually work out if you let them", and as usual she was right, mostly. First MPR"s dad called to say that his doctor did not think it was a good idea for him to tramping around in the mountains of Kentucky and Virginia meeting with other distant members of the family, to lay a wreath on great great, great (I don't know how many greats) grandfather's grave. See back in the early 1800's this particular grandpa had been murdered and buried way up in the hills. I've seen and now driven those hills & I would not have carried him back . So MPR had everything dumped in her lap to take over at virtually the last minute.

My #2 son made a brief appearance at the house. He came in about midnight, we forced him to take us to breakfast, after he arose the next morning, and then he was off with his buds and we didn't see him until just before we pulled out early the following morning. If I'd known he wasn't going to stick around, I'd have left earlier.

We drove ALL day and barely stopped, but made it to Alabama to visit a friend of MPR's. We had fun, went out to eat great Mexican food. Who knew the Mexican food in Alabama would be so good?? The next morning I had to buy new sandal's as mine had broken. I was only in the shoe store 30 minutes, which is very quick for me!

Then it was off to the mountains of Virginia. Now I have been on mountain roads before and these were quite the roads. 10% grades, 30 miles an hour, and the whole time the Dueling Banjo's song from Deliverance was running through my head! I notice many mobile homes in the area and pondered how those were brought up the mountains? When that happens they close the road down.

I could just imagine asking Johnny why he hadn't been to school only to find out that everyday a new mobile home had come up the mountain. Great excuse right. "Um the road was closed 'cuz Cousin Bertha Bob got her new mobile home, and the next day Uncle Jerry Ray got his, put in. Then my granny got hers, after that the people that bought Granny's old trailer had to move it over to their place. It could go on for weeks!"

Eventually we made it to Breaks Interstate Park, got out room literally two minutes before the front desk closed.

Maragrita Prairie Rose had breakfast with the extend family members and I slept! The we loaded up in vehicles to visit the gravesite. It was up in the hills, and was a unique experience to see all these distant relatives. Flowers were placed on the grave and Margarita spent lots of time with her extended family as they showed her many local family tie ins.

Eventually we left and drove to Asheville NC where we stayed and the next day toured the Biltmore Mansion. WOW! I want a summer house like that! We went and spent the night with more old friends and then began the long trek to be home by Father's Day. We made it! But I whimpered every time I got in the car. Eventually we drove back south to my place. And then I drove back to the BIG city so MPR could catch her plane. Due to road work it an hour to go the first 15 miles! But after that it was smooth sailing.

Since we spent most of the time in the car we had lots of time to talk and talk we did. First Margarita would talk about a problem I listened and gave advice, then I would talk, she would listen and give advice. It went back and forth like that the whole trip. I think either one of us could driven other people nuts, but our friendship has always been very give and take and we seem to naturally take turns when dealing with the frustrations of life and dealing with adult children, their spouses and our husbands.

So if you ever need to make a trip and know it will be harried call Margarita Prairie Rose she is the best! She gives sage and sound advice!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Strange Bedfellows

It's always been said that politics make strange bedfellows. I've never been able to disagree with that, but I think we should add that Internet chat sites or posting places makes for strange bedfellows too.

Tonight I was chatting with a friend, we met at a TV show website. I've never seen her or the rest of the crew that I chat with regularly. We've been chatting for about a year now. Our little group just moved from one site to another because of some of the strange conversations we encountered.

There are a couple of interesting guys, who shall remain nameless, that were always giving the "noobs" (new people) a hard time. It was not fun to be at the end of their verbal swords, but once you stood your ground, they were accepting and at different times defended my honor when I was attacked by a "troll". I always considered them a rite of passage if you will.

Some people and I use the term loosely here, came to post, and begin a verbal riot! They were usually successful and if not would attack your weight, lack of social life or gender orientation. For those trolls there were a few defenses, correcting the spelling and grammar was always a good one. To embrace whatever insults they threw out was also fun, "So do ya want that deep fried twinkie with whipped cream or dipped in chocolate?"

There are also some wonderful people who post to such places. Last summer a friend's grandbaby was born with many physical complications. Those sweet people kept a prayer thread about the baby on the front page for everyday of the baby's all too short life.

So where am I going with this? Well a book title caught my eye, it was reviewed by Dave Barry Doing Nothing
There are people in my life who feel like I am doing nothing when I am chatting with my online pals, reading the blogs of others or posting to here to my blog, but it is much more than nothing!

I am reminded that my problems are smaller than some, and not too uncommon. I have a chance to respond, exchange ideas, and laugh. So many times I just have to smile at what I read. I think it helps to keep me a saner and more balanced person. What do you think?

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Joys of No School

I've made my first trip of the summer and have begun my summer reading. Yes, Virginia there is a summer! (And I hope to make it to Virginia on one of my trips)

My husband and I went to the Blues Fest in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. We were with people we truly enjoy spending time with, we were able to enjoy one of our favorite bands, the Beat Daddys, and we relaxed. It was a little slice of heaven! The venue was not too crowded, actually it was undercrowded, but made for a very relaxed listening atmosphere.

I'm reading, what else would a reading teacher be doing on vacation? I actually read a grown up book! It was Jeffrey Deaver's Cold Moon and enjoyed it! Other than Deaver's book I've been reading books I can recommend to kids, like the Alex Rider series, by Anthony Horowitz, I'm on the 3rd one in the series. Pete Hautman's book Rash was a wonderful read. Hautman's book No Limit was so good, that I just had to read more. James Patterson's book Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever, was fun also.

I'm not sure where I'll go next on my reading adventure, but since I received a gift certificate from a student and her mom, to Barnes & Noble no less, so I know the adventure will continue. That is one of my favorite things about summer is reading all day! That is 6 books so far, and I've only just begun!

Happy Reading to all. I'd love to know what you are reading out there in cyber-world. Have a great summer. I'll keep ya posted on my reading and my adventures!