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August 2017

The Throes of August

The Faces of August in Lower Alabama

“I’m so glad I live in a world that has Octobers,” said the irrepressible Anne (with an “e”) Shirley as she breathed in the aura of Prince Edward Island.  Languishing through the staggering heat and humidity that is a South Alabama August, I take heart from that gangly Titian of Green Gables and wipe the sweat from my eyes in hopes of seeing my way to October.

August is a weird month for me.  I have a love/hate relationship with Augusts.  Of course, there is always the excitement of a new school year and the challenges teaching droves of teenagers brings, but with that comes a sort of breathless rush toward the holidays punctuated by the roar of the crowds during football season.  In August, I get hyper-organized and, frankly, somewhat exhausted by all my well-laid plans for the coming year.

For teachers, August marks the beginning of the year even though we’re technically eight months in.  New classes, new kids, new clothes, new sports, new lessons, new attitude.  All the newness of August would leave me winded if the oppressive heat hadn’t already soaked my lungs with moisture.  Although I am more than grateful to Mr. Carrier for the glorious invention of air conditioning, the face-slapping climate change between walking indoors and out along with the sudden exposure to, shall we say, teen spirit sandblasts my throat every opening week of school.  August is an uncomfortable marriage of freezing and frying.

August is a rush.  We rush to get school started and then we rush to get school “started”.  We open the football season with heat safety timeouts and sweat-soaked band uniforms. Heat rises in visible eddies from the asphalt as I rush to the store for those “What, a project already?” supplies.  The slow, easy pace of June and July fades like a mirage in the rearview mirror.

August has its ups and downs on the farm, too.  August brings the sweet goodness of muscadines and the comic antics of the ducks when they get ahold of too many grapes fermented by the Alabama sun.  The dogs dig out wallows that become mud holes when the humidity finally lets loose with electric ferocity.  The chickens are just plumb worn out from heat and may even stop laying altogether.  The cats nap on oak branches to catch any breeze that whistles through the trees.  The cows follow the shade, lowing half-heartedly as they lumber across the pasture.  The donkey approaches vulgarity with the frequency of his “showmanship”.  Never does a barnyard smell more like a barnyard than when it’s in the throes of August.

The grass looks its age and the salvia grows gangly and rank.  The yellow jasmine makes a bedraggled climb as its petals droop and fall soundlessly to the ground.  The evergreens take on an almost greyish hue, as if holding their breath for that first hint of fall.  It will be a long wait.  August is a jealous lover of Lower Alabama and rarely relinquishes her stranglehold before mid-September.

I’ll wait, too.  Anne and I are kindred spirits as dear as lifelong friends.  I can’t imagine a world without Octobers.



Halftime with the Amazing Fat Burning Machine

Objects in the rear view are not as large as they once appeared.

After three sessions with UltraSlim, the amazing fat zapper, I have reached the halfway point of my targeted treatment plan.  The results speak for themselves:  there’s 8 1/4 inches less of me to lug around.  The scale has tipped enough for me to move that lever down a notch.  At certain times of the day, I can actually see the intersection of my thighs and torso.  You know, no more path of totality as my gut eclipses my lap!

Here are some of the things I’ve experienced over the past three weeks as the amazing fat burning machine works it magic:

  1.  I no longer have to “suck it and tuck it” to button my jeans. I can put them on while remaining vertical.
  2. Baby still has back, but now it’s not spilling over to the sides.  Every hip seam in my closet is breathing a sigh of relief.  And we all know the hips don’t lie.
  3. Familiarity breeds less awkwardness, even when my “kid” doctor  geeked out over my R2D2 panties.  Actually, I don’t think I’ve worn matching underwear yet to one of these sessions.  Is that for real?  Do most women match their undergarments?  Heck, I’m doing good to have on matching socks.
  4. Big shocker for me:  water is refreshing.  I still struggle to down a gallon each day, but now my body actually craves H2O.  Oh, and a margarita on Wednesday nights.  Definite craving right there.
  5. Because I’m sloshed with water (not tequila…ONE margarita is my limit thanks to Benjamin Franklin-I highly recommend his autobiography, by the way), I’m more mindful about my food choices.  I don’t have as much room to waste on trifles like appetizers and desserts.  I did tear up a filet mignon the other night, though, and I don’t regret it.
  6. I’ve quit snacking and I no longer like sweet tea.  I blame the water rather than the amazing fat burning machine for this new wrinkle, but the push in the right direction from UltraSlim keeps me focused.
  7. Speaking of wrinkles, all that hydration is doing wonders for my complexion.
  8. Genetics “blessed” me with Middle Aged Wattle, otherwise known as Expanding Chin Syndrome.  So far, the most visibly dramatic change from UltraSlim has been with my bullfrog puff.  Goodbye, Jabba!  Hello, jawline!
  9. I’m so pumped about the first three sessions that I haven’t bought any new clothes for schoolteaching yet, but I threw down on new shoes!  I think it’s unreasonable to expect to drop a shoe size after these treatments.  They’re amazing, not sorcery!


So far, so good with UltraSlim.  I guess that makes me a real loser, and I couldn’t be more pleased.



Back to School Commando

All the secondary teachers in our system converged on the coliseum for the annual kickoff to a new school year pep talk and fashion show.  I had it going on:  new haircut, makeup ramped up tastefully between “Sunday-Go-To-Meeting” and prom, pedicured toes, and a jaunty skirt.  You know, stuff I’d never wear to actually teach in.

I guess I got a little carried away with that new year/new you thing and was due to be taken down a peg or two.  For teachers, we’re so tired at the end of the calendar year that most of us just resolve to survive from January to May.  That’s why most New Year’s Resolutions for teachers last about as long as it takes us to realize the students are actually returning for the second semester.  But August?  August is golden! It’s the smell of fresh paint, crayons, and bulletin board paper that’s still bright with possibility.  So, yeah.  I spiffed up and got ready to approach the school year with gladitude, a buzzword sure to fire the imaginations of the teens I teach.

Yep.  I was looking good and sporting that gladitude all the way up through lunch when the universe struck back.  I was completely blindsided!  There I was feeling full and chummy after the rare treat of a lunch out with my husband who works at a different school and our good friend Tyson.  Maybe it was the Coke I splurged on for such a festive occasion.  Maybe it was onion rings.  Okay…I just went for broke with this lunch with one bad decision after another.  I was asking for trouble.

Maybe it was the added pressure of propriety that wearing a skirt instead of track shorts lends to a situation.  I stepped off a curb, felt a sudden burst, and the floodgates opened.  I thought, “Surely, I didn’t just…oh, crap!”

I got calm.  Real calm.  It was time to pray to the Good Lord for the continued blessing of strong elastic and the wherewithal to carry a jacket in the Jeep despite the fact that it’s 95 in the shade in August.  I wrapped that jacket around my waist and started walking quickly but gingerly back into the restaurant.  I would have to walk all the way through the crowded dining room to get back to the restroom.  The elastic was giving way!  I prayed again that 1.  I could make it through the throng of people without whatever hell was pouring out of my rear end running down my legs and 2. that no one was in the bathroom.

I made it!  Somehow, I managed to get cleaned up and exited the restroom a few minutes later with my head held high.  Oh, I was commando under that skirt, but folks would be none the wiser if I just strutted out of there with confidence.  My bravado failed me as we drove away and I had my husband make a quick pit stop at the Dollar General.  I just didn’t think I could sit through an entire afternoon of meetings a la Sharon Stone.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, I had to ask where they kept the panties.  They didn’t have a single pair in my size, not even the granny specials.  I figured it’d be better to go smaller than bigger, so I picked up this little $4 number that fell somewhere between bikini and thong…uncomfortably.  Then, I had to ask for the key to the restroom from the young man who just rang up these emergency panties.   The Good Lord took care of me there, though, because he was actually a kid I haven’t taught.

At last, I get back into the Jeep and the guys are clued in that I’ve probably had more than a wardrobe malfunction.  They ask what happened and I mutter something about explosive diarrhea.

Tyson deadpans, “S**t happens.”

Yes, Tyson, yes it does.

Looks like I’m off to a great start for the school year!


Adventures of the Amazing Fat-Burning Machine


If you look up the word skeptic in the dictionary, don’t be surprised to see my face sporting that “Yeah, right” look.  So, when I first heard about Ultra-Slim light therapy treatments I laughed and went on munching my chips and salsa.  Then, I started reading and researching about Ultra-Slim and my curiosity was piqued.

I made an appointment for a free consultation with my chiropractor, a great fellow I taught in 7th, 8th, and 9th grades.  I went in prepared to grill him on everything Ultra-Slim.  He remembered his school days and was prepared for a full-scale rhetorical onslaught.  Heck, after surviving 3 years in my English classes, I’ll bet he was sweating it…just a little.

This method just might work!

I made an appointment and the next thing I know, there I am standing in my bra and panties getting measured by this kid I used to teach.  For those of you who aren’t educators, we always think of our former students as kids–even when they become doctors!  I start speaking with the nurse, and wouldn’t you know it, I taught her in middle school, too.  It was a regular class reunion with a mostly naked teacher!

After the “we’re all trying really hard not to make this awkward” measuring session, I was ready to go under the light.  Imagine being placed under a carefully aimed heat lamp where you have to lie real still and cook for about 8 minutes.  At that point, the doctor comes in and turns you so that the machine can broil you up nice and evenly. So, my fat got roasted on the belly, love handles, thunder thighs, and boo-tay.

Afterwards, the doctor repeated the measurements.  He marked the spots on the first go around to ensure he was measuring the exact same spots for the “after”.  The methodology is to add up all the measurements and then compare the numbers.  So, after a total of 32 minutes under the amazing fat-burning machine I was down 2 6/8 inches.   The doctor provided a computation to show calorie equivalents forgiven…nice verbiage, right there, Ultra-Slim marketers.

The final step of the treatment was a ride on a bizarre shaker machine.  It looks like a stair-stepper, but instead of stepping you just stand there and vibrate.  It’s pretty intense.  You vibrate a lot.  If your grandma had one of those machines that trimmed the waist with a belt, it’s kind of like that.  I now know how to twerk thanks to this machine.  Remember talking into a fan when you were a kid?  It works with this shaker machine, too!

Once home, instructions include downing a gallon of water daily (hardest part) and wearing compression clothing for several hours a day.  I’m not used to wearing a girdle, so jimmying myself into one of those babies has been a bit of a challenge.  I’ve had two treatments now at 2 6/8 total inches a pop.  The scale is moving steadily downward and I’m under a buck-fifty for the first time in about 3 years.




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