Thursday, February 28, 2008

An Open Statement

(Or . . . Judgmental People Suck)

To the two supposed "ladies" in line at the Dollar General:

Yes, the house and yard you were openly discussing and passing judgment on in public belong to me. Yes, right now, they look pretty sucky.

Major construction tends to do that.

I'm sorry improving our home and suffering through the subsequent mess offends your sensibilities. Try living in it.

God willing, we should be finished in one to two months. Yes, that long. Because we both work (I, by the way, have two careers). I also am attending graduate school and am actively involved in coaching Literary while planning the talent show at school. Did I mention we're doing the work on the house ourselves?

So, thank you so much for sharing your opinion on my "trashy" lifestyle with everyone in earshot in Dollar General today.

By the way, that handsome guy behind you? My husband, who makes a pretty good roofer, painter, drywall installer, father and spouse. He's also a much nicer person than I am, obviously, because he chose not to confront you.

If it had been me on the other hand, I'd have thanked you nicely for taking such an interest in my personal affairs and apologized in person.

Then waited while you slithered back under your rock.

Have a nice day.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Elisabeth sold! She just inked a three-book deal with Dorchester.

Go congratulate her!

Monday, February 25, 2008

I Am So Tired!

Here's the accomplishment list for the weekend (but not pictures, alas!):

1) All fascia (sp?) is hung.

2) Drip edge installed.

3) All roof repairs made.

4) Wet, icky, stinky junk out of the room that flooded.

5) Tar paper on roof. Shingling to commence as soon as rain is gone tomorrow.

6) Final paper submitted to EDUC 6671.

7) Portfolio artifacts and rationale statements submitted as directed.

8) Quiz and first discussion post for EDUC 6625 out of the way.

Edits, you say? Print galleys? Grading of tons and tons of student note cards?

I'm working on it.

What are you up to?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Quick Stuff

Am I the only person in America who doesn't watch American Idol?

Feels like it some days. :-)

Oh, and the first part of Forever with You, a Hearts of the South novella, is up at my yahoo group: I'll post part two next week and the final part the week thereafter.

Added a HOTM piece to the Cutting Room Floor file as well. :-)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday Thirteen -- Research Papers I'm Looking Forward to Reading

I could probably list more than thirteen -- my kids picked great topics this year. But here are thirteen, from the 100+ I'll read between February and April that I'm particularly looking forward to . . .

1) Comparative politics -- The kid whose writing this one is a great writer and has a nice, comedic tone. It will be a hoot.

2) The existence of ghosts -- Again, a good writer willing to look at both sides of the issue. His level of excitement over this topic will make it an interesting read.

3) Archery -- The kid writing it is a hoot. I've already seen part of it and even in rough form, it's great.

4) Abortion -- A topic I see every year. It gets old. But the student writing this one is doing great research and it'll be interesting to see what she comes up with.

5) Global warming -- two papers. Two kids. Two very different takes. Should be interesting.

6) Cryptozoology -- I've never seen this topic done before. The kid writing it is smart, funny, a good writer. It'll be a good one.

7) Photography -- I bet I can take better photos after reading this one. ;-)

8) Geishas -- Great writer with a topic she's passionate about. Can't wait.

9) The Columbine shootings -- I've not seen this topic before either. The kid writing this one is doing great research. It'll be good.

10) The Dave Matthews Band -- 'nuff said. :-D

11) Spirituality -- a really, really strongly opinionated writer. Should be interesting.

12) Heavy Metal Music -- I'll learn something I didn't know from reading it. Guaranteed.

13) Comparative Religions -- She's taking a neat angle with this paper. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

What was your most interesting high school writing assignment?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Look! Progress!

There is new siding on the back of the house. You will notice we have not yet cut out for doors and windows . . .

Hey, it's better than the exposed pink insulation!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Show And Tell

So I've been bemoaning the renovations from hell for, what? Months? Well, this weekend has been the "Hey, let's rip off the siding and replace it so we can finish the roofing" weekend. Wait, that's what it was supposed to be.

Then we found the electrical issues. The scary ones. The ones the DH doesn't want to explain to me (Uh, yeah, honey. I'm college-educated. I know a shorted-out wire that singes the insulation isn't a good thing. Keep trying to hide that.).

So then there's the floor joists that have to be rebuilt because, you know, that's what the batting boards attach to, and you know, the siding attaches to those boards.

So . . . the siding has to be up before the shingles can go on. And, you know what? Plastic doesn't always stop water. Hence, the waterfall in my office during a mega-thunderstorm Saturday night.

But . . . there is progress. We have more than 1/2 of the siding hung now. About a month and we should be through most of the major stuff.

Here's pics of the during, taken yesterday. Connie's reaction when I sent them to her Blackberry:

"What. Happened?"

I think she thought we'd fallen victim to the FOUR tornados that came through south of us Sunday night. It kinda looks like it.

I'll post after pics tomorrow, when we're finished with the rear siding.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New Reviews

I've never had Romance Junkies reviews before, so I was excited to learn I recently had TWO reviews there. Couldn't resist sharing.

Hold On to Me and His Ordinary Life were recently reviewed by Romance Junkies. Both books received 5 Blue Ribbon Reviews.

Jenn, the reviewer, said this in part about Hold On to Me: “a welcome addition to Ms. Winfree's HEARTS OF THE SOUTH engaging and gritty as its predecessors and has a depth that is undeniable…Tick' s ability to forgive and his innate sexiness are hard to resist and when Caitlin finally surrenders the sex is explosive and caring in one brilliantly written love story.”

Jenn also reviewed His Ordinary Life and had this to say on Del and Barb’s story: “…an amazing look at the power of love and the journey of discovering who we really are and what we want out of life…a moving and emotional read that should not be missed.”

You can read both reviews in full at the following links:

Sunday Check In

The closet in the master bedroom is finished! Whoo! Hey, after months and months and months of renovations from hell, I'll take my successes where I can get them.

Paper #7 is turned in. One more to go in this class. I'm just about 1/5 through with my master's degree.

Trying to finish A Life Unlived (Mad and Ash's book). Will let you know how that goes. ;-)

Friday, February 15, 2008

6 Unimportant Things

Carol, my sadistic CP who thinks I don't have enough to do, tagged me. ;-) Oh, my God, now I have to think.

Six Unimportant Things About Me:

1) I didn't have to change my monogram when I got married.

2) I only eat ketchup on French fries.

3) My new pet peeve (and don't hate me . . .) is those author posts to lists that say things like "I have a problem!" in the subject line and then the body is a plea to come join them at such and such blog to weigh in. Don't ask me why it bothers me. It just does.

4) I can read Middle English. My students are usually not impressed.

5) At school, my nickname is the Evil English Overlord.

6) I can't stand clutter. Hence, why the renovations from hell are killing me.

Here's the deal . . . if you stumble by . . . consider yourself tagged. :-D

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Kids. I Don't Get 'Em.

I have two, affectionately known as Monster #1 and Monster #2.

Monster #2 loves this cartoon:

I, however, do not understand the appeal of said cartoon.

Does anyone else get it?

It has to be the most annoying cartoon EVER. And we've seen some pretty annoying cartoons around this place, let me tell you!

Monster #1? Has started playing tennis. Loves tennis. Talks it, reads it, is teaching me to play.

Watched him play his first tournament today. Oh. My. God. It's a good thing tennis is a quiet sport and I was far, far away on the balcony, hence why I wasn't in the position to yell at him to be serious on the court. Y'all, I always swore I wouldn't be one of those crazy sports parents. But when the kid is good and likes the game and could play better but is too busy being goofy on the court . . .?!

But. He's having a good time. He's being active. That's the important thing. Right?

Now . . . about that weird Chowder cat-kid-thingee . . .

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

This Is Why . . .

Every year, I plan out my units for my American Lit class. I look at the Romanticism unit and think, "I'm not teaching the Scarlet Letter this time. It's too hard, the kids fuss . . . we can read some short stories from the period instead."

Guess what I end up teaching? Every. Single. Year.


The Scarlet Letter.

Halfway through, I want to pull out my hair, wondering why I bother. But chapters seventeen and eighteen? Sigh. The kids clue in. Things smooth out. And oh my, we get a glimpse of Hawthorne as a romantic writer. Not a Romanticist (hey, he is -- he's probably THE writer of the American Romantic movement . . .okay, okay, I know. People are going to come out of the woodwork and take me to task for that . . . but it's Hawthorne, people.) But a romance writer.

Now, don't pick up the Scarlet Letter expecting the happy ending found in today's romances. It doesn't have one. It has what I would call a satisfying denouement, but Hester and Dimmesdale do not live happily ever after. But when they are reunited after seven years apart? Oh. My. Goodness. The sparks do fly and Hester's passionate nature, repressed for those years, comes out in full force:

The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne:

"Why did I not understand O Hester Prynne thou little little knowest all the horror of this thing And the shame the indelicacy the horrible ugliness of this exposure of a sick and guilty heart to the very eye that would gloat over it Woman woman thou art accountable for this I cannot forgive thee Thou shalt forgive me cried Hester flinging herself on the fallen leaves beside him Let God punish Thou shalt forgive With sudden and desperate tenderness she threw her arms around him and pressed his head against her bosom little caring though his cheek rested on the scarlet letter He would have released himself but strove in vain to do so Hester would not set him free lest he should look her sternly in the face All the world had frowned on her for seven long years had it frowned upon this lonely woman and still she bore it all nor ever once turned away her firm sad eyes Heaven likewise had frowned upon"

That . . . Hawthorne's incredible heroine, the way her love -- though buried -- never dies, her growth throughout the book . . . that is why I come back to the book year after year.

What about you? Any favorite classics which involve a love story? Do share!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tired . . .

It's been a long busy weekend. The tally:

1) Attended Monster #1's tennis tournament.
2) Served as judge's hostess for school's Little Miss/Mr. pageant. So much fun!
3) Watched two videos for grad course, took quiz (100!), did discussion posts.
4) Wrote my paper for grad course for the week.
5) Laundry. Laundry. Laundry.
6) Helped DH with repairs to in preparation for new roof! Whoo!
7) Graded for 11th American Lit and 12th British Lit.
8) Updated Teacherease. Grades due tomorrow.

No wonder I don't feel refreshed and ready to go to school tomorrow.

Oh, my God. What am I going to TEACH tomorrow?!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Thursday Thirteen -- Favorite Foods

For some weird reason, I'm food obsessed lately. I'm not over-eating -- actually, I'm eating what I normall do -- but I'm obsessing about food.

So . . . to that end . . . thirteen of my favorite foods, no particular order:

1) Big Dawg fries with pepper and ranch dipping sauce
2) White Cheddar Cheezits
3) Camembert baked in pastry (with honey and fruit)
4) Birthday cake with ice cream
5) Cheeseburgers
6) Chicken salad on Wheat Thins
7) Cheddar cheese, walnuts and grapes
8) Frito Scoops with ranch dip
9) Muffins: orange cranberry, lemon poppy seed
10) A bagel with cream cheese
11) Chili
12) Crab Rangoons
13) Spaghetti Bolognese

Now I'm hungry. . .

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Weirdness and Goodness

Today was a weird day. All my kids wanted to do was kvetch.

"I hate Macbeth."

"Why do we have to write thesis statements?"

"Are we watching that stupid movie?"

And on and on and on. Plus, the kids who are normally really well-behaved? I tossed FOUR of them out of two different classes. I can't remember the last time I had to throw anyone out and FOUR in one day?

Oh, man.

By fourth period, this sign was posted on my door:

Abandon all hope, ye who enter! CAUTION: Both Ms. Winfree's patience and sense of humor have left the building for the day. Act accordingly or face the consequences. (And they won't be pleasant.)

I have goodness on one level to share, but it's not mine to share, so . . . I must wait.

But, there is public goodness -- Moira Rogers has TWO new contracts. I predicted this. Go forth and offer congratulations.

I'm good like that. ;-)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Me=Horrible Blogger

I haven't posted in a MONTH.

So maybe me=busy. Yeah, that works as an excuse. ;-)

This is what I've been up to:

1) Edits on Anything But Mine. (You should see the cover -- I cannot WAIT to show it off.)
2) Getting Monster #1 to and from tennis. However, we have missed the ortho this month. Sigh. Must reschedule.
3) Revisions on Memories of Us.
4) Working on the first draft of A Life Unlived (Madeline & Ash's story).
5) Teaching research.
6) Teaching Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and The Scarlet Letter. That's a lot of teacher reading.
7) Keeping my grades up-to-date in Teacherease.
8) Gearing up to coach Literary.
9) Gearing up for the talent show, the student government's big spring fundraiser.
10) Panicking because Literary competition and the talent show are scheduled for the same day.
11) Going to a really cool teacher conference.
12) Being stressed over house renovations from hell (I think I'm going to post pics so you'll understand why . . .)
13) Filing my taxes.

Hey, that could have been a Thursday Thirteen! We'll make it a February Fourteen by adding:

14) Suffering from a cold.

I'll try to be here more often, I swear. Soon to come: a new online read and excerpts from Anything But Mine . . .

So . . . did you miss me?