Fun at the Guitar Pull

My good friend Richard and his lovely bride, Rose, were fantastic hosts! The guitar pull was a huge success with a lot of songwriters singing original songs for us – music that everyone will be able to hear on the radio months or even years from now. I was so very honored to be invited.

The food on the buffet was wonderfully diverse – everything from baked spaghetti to baked beans. My mashed potatoes and gravy were a big hit – not a bit of it was leftover.

My favorite song out of all the wonderful music shared that night was an original song by Larry Alderman, called, “Dixie Down.” It was a lovely ballad about a boy who gets a dog and names her Dixie. As they grow up together they share all the milestones, graduation, new job, marriage, etc. And then Dixie dies, as dogs do. OMG! There was not a dry eye in the house! We all cried when he sang the last couple of lines about burying his dog and that special spot where his Dixie went down.

Bad Weather Forecast

This week is going to be bad weather forecast for Tennessee. I woke up this morning to cloudy, dark and rainy. Not the best start on a Monday. I have a hard enough time putting the weekend behind me and getting mentally prepared for a busy week without the doom and gloom of rain on Mondays. But it is what it is – i’ll deal with it.

What I am mostly concerned about is the bad weather forecast for later this week. The kids are supposed to go out trick or treating on Thursday for Halloween. But that is expected to be the day with the worst weather of the whole week, with severe storms, hail and tornado warnings.

I hope the bad weather forecast changes as the week goes by and that the storms do not happen on Thursday night. We have been looking forward to Halloween for over two weeks and I don’t want to disappoint all the kids. We bought costumes last weekend and spent several hours carving our pumpkins and decorating our yard for the holiday. It jut won’t be as much fun in the rain, and if there are really tornado warnings, we’ll have to stay home to be safe.

Cooked a Big Pot of Beef Stew Tonight

It’s cold here in Tennessee. I can really tell that summer is completely gone, fall is here and winter is right around the corner. The leaves are falling every day – I will have to do some raking this weekend to keep the yard clean and the mold minimized. I don’t mind the leaves, but the mold bother all of us with stuffed up noses, sore throats and headaches. And this time of year, with these symptoms I never know if it is just allergies or something more serious, like maybe strap throat. The school sent home a notice that a lot of kids are sick right now – it seems that every time the weather changes so drastically we all get sick with something that’s going around the schools. Yuck!

I decided to cook a big pot of beef stew and make some homemade bread for dinner tonight. I used to like the taste of Campbell’s Chunky soups, but the last two cans I bought were disappointing. It’s not that much work to make stew from scratch. I buy a chuck roast when it goes on sale, cut it up into small chunks and plop them into a ZipLoc bag. I keep one or two ZipLoc bags in the freezer, pretty much year round, as this makes a great stew but also a great beef chili.

My special recipe calls for a dash of seasoned salt, a dash of rosemary, a few shakes of Worsterchire sauce and my secret ingredient – a dollop of French’s yellow mustard. You can add whatever vegetables you want. I usually have some leftover corn, green beans and even spinach, along with a can or two of stewed tomatoes. I wish I had fresh tomatoes, but as you know, my garden did not give me any decent tomatoes this year. So I have a half dozen cans of diced and stewed tomatoes on the pantry shelf. So my stew is simmering on the stove, my bread is in the oven, and dinner is just an hour away!

Annoyed With the Teacher

My son is perfect. He is kind, generous, incredibly intelligent, excellent manners and easily bored. I send him to public school here in Nashville, although my parents keep nagging encouraging me to put both of my children in private school. We’ve done well with the elementary school that is zoned for my neighborhood – until this year.

I don’t know what it is about my son’s teacher this year. She just rubs me the wrong way and so does our new principal. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but her smile seems fake and she almost never looks me in the eye when she is talking to me. At first I thought maybe I was intimidating her, so I make a point to stand a little further away from her when we talk so as to not invade her personal space or make her feel threatened. I make a huge effort to frame my words and sentences like I am on her side and we are a team working for the benefit of my son. But after we talk and I leave, it is like she goes batshit on my son and I get a barrage of nasty notes sent home in his backpack about how disruptive he is, how he doesn’t finish his work, he pushed someone in line, etc.

I ask my son about what happened and every time he has a good answer, a decent explanation about what happened and honestly, so much of it was something that needed to be handled on the spot rather than sending home nasty notes. I think she must be a passive aggressive person and enjoys pointing out any misbehavior or supposed character flaw in the children.

Today, he came home with a “red dot” on his behavior calendar for pushing. That just does not make sense that my son would push another kid for no reason. I asked him what happened and he told me that the boy in line behind him bumped into him several times – on purpose. When my son told him to knock it off, the other kid just laughed in his face and then pushed my son so hard he bumped into the kid in front of him. The other kid that got bumped as a result of my son being pushed cried out and got the teacher’s attention, and it was my son who got in trouble for pushing.

Now, I’m sure that the teacher had her hands full with trying to get the whole class lined up and dispatched, but would it have killed her to take all three boys aside and find out what happened instead of just lashing out at my son? This is what bullying is all about, pushing a kid and mocking him, and I refuse to tolerate anyone bullying my kids. I want the other kid, the one who started it, to get in trouble and I will be calling the principal about this tomorrow morning. But in the meantime, I gave my son a pep talk and told him he did nothing wrong. And if the kid pushes him again, to tell the teacher, not just try to handle it himself. But honestly, I am proud that he DID try to handle it himself and I don’t like telling my son to be a tattle tale. But if he doesn’t, this teacher will blame him for the problem. It’s just not a good situation at all and I’m very annoyed with this teacher for the way she is mishandling these issues.

Who is NOT Teaching their Children Good Manners?

Some children are well behaved and have good manners and are a joy to be with. But lately it seems like a majority of children are not being raised to have any manners and their parents are apparently accepting their bad behavior – even in public places like restaurants and high end stores. This is not a good reflection on today’s society and not a good thing for these children, either. There future success can depend on their manners – or the lack of them can hold them back.

Good manners will get you far in this life, as they are one measure of a proper upbringing that today’s society will use when they judge you. Bad manners can be a huge barrier to your personal success. I am so serious about this! My parents taught all of us kids how to behave and how to act properly – especially in public or around my dad’s business acquaintances. We did not DARE do anything that would reflect poorly on our family or that would ever embarrass our parents.

I notice that one of my girlfriends, Haley, wrote on her blog about manners. Although she was not talking about children, she was distressed that one of her girlfriends seems to lack manners. And Haley realizes that bad manners can affect how you interact with co-workers. And if you associate with people who have bad manners who interact with your co-workers or other business associates, it can damage your reputation and make your superiors think badly of you.

Haley wrote in her post, Proper Introductions, about how her girlfriend was rude to a co-worker of her boyfriend. What if her boyfriend had brought his boss home? Or what if his co-worker gets a promotion and someday becomes his boss? Knowing that he has a girlfriend who is rude could mean that he does not get a promotion or raise when the opportunity arises. It is important to treat everyone well, especially people who you do not know and who are invited guests brought into your home.