Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Demographic info about our county

Student and Community Demographic Data

The total enrollment of Madison County Middle School is 1,157, which is 2.4 percent higher than four years ago. The racial ethnic percentages have been consistent over the last four years with a slight rise in the percent of African American students. The percentage of low-income students (students eligible for the free-and reduced-lunch program) stands at 52.9 % for the 2003-2004 school year.

The students of Madison County Middle School are residents of a rural county with a population of 26,214. The per capita income is $21,314. Of the 180 Georgia school systems, Madison County ranks 130th in property (home and business) wealth per FTE weight. The county has 9955 households with an average family size of 3.04. School-age children make up 21.9% of the population of Madison County.

The racial composition of the county is predominately white (87.4%) with 9.4% African-American, 1.93% Hispanic (persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race), and 1.3% other races.

The county has an industry mix of services, manufacturing, state and local government, retail and wholesale trade, construction, transportation, public utilities, and farming. The largest employers in the county are the Madison County Board of Education, with 600 employees; and Trus Joist MacMillan, a producer of Parallel strand lumber, with 250 employees. The number of residents in Madison County ’s employable labor force is 16,139 with 2.6% percent unemployed. Seventy-five percent of Madison County ’s work force is employed outside the county.

Residents of the county are predominantly Protestant in religious belief. Denominations in the county include Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of God , and Christian.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

All tied up

I haven't slept through the night since 2002 and the situation finally got on my last nerve. So my doctor recommended me for the Athens Sleep Research Clinic and I had my appointment last night.

It's like an apartment hallway, nicely painted with numbered rooms. Inside the rooms it's well-appointed with a bed, easy chair-recliner, cable tv, and a bureau. A nurse comes in to hook up your head, face, chest, and legs with electrodes, many many electrodes. One goes a little up way your nose too. Then they say lay down and sleep tight. You try not to notice all the video cameras pointed directly at the bed. One is even inside a bubble, like at the casinos, the 'Eye in the Sky.'

The lights go off at either 9:30 pm or 10:30 pm and then you lie there trying not to move too much and dislodge the electrodes or roll over an choke on them. They monitor breathing, temperature, movement, etc all night long.

At 5:50 am the lights go on and they unhook you. The goop on your face and hair takes a lot of hot water to get off in the shower. You fill out a questionnaire and then off you go, into the humid, pre-dawn Georgia day.

I get my results in a week or so during a follow-up with my doc.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hauntings: Dark works by Georgia artists

A well-known local gallery is hosting a new exhibition, "Hauntings: Dark works by local Georgia artists." My work was accepted into the show and I'm excited!

Located in downtown Comer, Blue Bell Art Gallery & Pottery Studio is a beautiful building exhibiting over 30 local artists. It was built in 1900 and was originally home to the Chattanooga Wagon Factory and in time, became the Blue Bell Sewing factory. The downstairs has 16-foot ceilings and the upstairs are about 14-feet high, with brick walls at least a foot thick. The proprietors are Tina and her husband Shannon McCullough, with Tina herself an accomplished potter.

A variety of photos, collage and an altered book is going in the show. You can see the show pieces here, in my Flickr set, keeping in mind that photos of the textured pieces have lost something in the translation to web. There others at my local artist site hosted by Artists in Georgia.

Friday, August 24, 2007

What brings you peace?

When I created this piece, paste paper with collage, I got to the end and I thought, 'what would two Buddhists be saying in a conversation with each other?' Then I laughed, because of course, the point of meditation, whether done singly or in a group, is to quiet the "monkey mind" and bring peace to body and soul. So they would not be saying anything! I named the collage "At Peace."

These days I'm thinking, how many of us are at peace? What brings true peace? One thing that I constantly enjoy is meeting nice people, and being around nice people. When this happens, I'm surprised by peace.

I interviewed a man for a newspaper article the other day, and he was so charming and accommodating. When a thought stuck him he said, "Hey! My mother has more photos, you can go over there and look at them!" I laughed, saying I didn't even know his mother and she didn't know me, and besides, it was 8:30 in the morning! He called her right on the spot, and sent me over to her house. She and I had a great conversation and then I stayed longer, as we began talking about other subjects. That morning was a nice sojourn, meeting the two people who were so nice.

What brings you peace?

Monday, August 20, 2007

They are so cute!

Even if they did pee on my couch again.

An old farmer friend said, "That's what you get for having animals in the house." He has a point.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Adults standing around watching kids

It's 7 pm, still 100 degrees. After the potluck dinner, the kids all jumped into the inflatables. There they happily bounced for an hour at least. Sweaty, red faced, happy laughing, bouncing kids. Remember when we were so happy to be kids we never felt how cold the water was? How hot the summer was? How far the bike path was? We felt like we could swim, jump, ride...forever.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Morning in Madison County

A high summer Georgia dawn. Sitting on my deck with coffee, reading, the sun peeks over the hill across the street. Morning fresh air will quickly evaporate as the temperatures are forecast to reach into the triple digits again. For now, the day knows nothing of that.

I enjoy the hummingbirds swooping to my feeder, the cows lowing in the neighboring pasture, and the distant sound of school buses and tractors trundling to and fro on the few roads within my hearing.

Shortly I will scramble a couple of freshly laid eggs along with a garden tomato, but for now, the air is so cool and the birds are so joyous I stay planted here, part of the awakening day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

pissing contest

It was 80 degrees when I headed out at 8:30 this morning. I spent time at the farmer's market, buying local eggs just laid about a minute ago, and garden tomatoes and local honey. Then I drove around looking for photo opps to send to the paper. By then, 9:30, the temp had risen to 86.

I spent a couple hours at the athletic fields, shooting photos of the scrimmages and practices. School had started last week and the fields were populated by every team. It was hot, the sun was beating down and the temps are expected to rise to 102 with a heat index of 110. But I got some great shots and two story ideas and also ran into a new friend I'd just met last week. So that was good, but by 11:30 I was wiped out. The temps were in the low 90s by then with high humidity.

Getting home at noon was a relief. By comparison, my apartment's 78 air conditioned degrees was a balm, and I made breakfast. Then I decided to amble over to the futon couch, lay down, and read a paper I had promised to edit for a friend. Stunned, papers fluttering to the floor while my mouth did a silent scream, I looked down and saw that SOMEONE of the feline variety had peed on it. I had laid on a thick, quilted bedspread to protect the fine microsuede teal futon covering. The pee had gone thru the bedspread/quilt, thru the microsuede covering, down to the futon mattress. Worse, I can't smell so I had no idea how long it had been there, if the stains will come out, and who had done it and why. More worrisome, will my feline(s)do it again? Argh.

Worst of all... I am at the laundromat on a 102 degree day washing the quilts. No one had better pee while I am gone or when I get back there will be hell to pay.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Coping with the heat

".. Heat advisory remains in effect until 9 PM EDT this evening...The National Weather Service in Peachtree City has also issued a heat advisory from 11 am to 8 PM EDT on Friday for much of north and central Georgia ... as the dangerously hot conditions are expected to persist.

Heat indices this afternoon will climb to 107 to 111 degrees.

High actual temperatures are expected to reach 102.

The resident fox is hot.

The resident heron is hot.

The resident horse is hot.

The resident cat is hot.

The kittens are oblivious.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hot here

It's 101 degrees. The heat index is 110. So today I'm wearing Keds with no socks. I was standing in the parking lot at my mechanic's talking and during the course of our 5 minute conversation the soles of my feet got hot.

Monday, August 06, 2007


Four days into new ownership of kitties, I discovered that they like to hop up onto the bathroom sink and lick my toothbrush.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

That new show "Saving Grace"

I like it! I'm a Holly Hunter fan anyway, ever since 'Raising Arizona' and 'Broadcast News', but the show is pretty good. The main character is together professionally but a mess in her personal life, so God sends a "last chance angel" to work with Grace. I'm an angel fan too so any show with an angel from God in it has got my attention.

Quite a contrast to another favorite show of mine, "Touched by an Angel," where the clean and well-dressed angels always smiled beatifically, lit up and said "God loves you." In Saving Grace, Earl the last chance angel who spits tobacco, has a three-day stubble, and is dressed like a homeless man doesn't pull any punches. He looks at Grace and says point blank, "Grace, you're going to hell."

Monday nights at 10 after "The Closer." Boy, TNT sure has some good programming. I'm in TV heaven.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bert is my favorite

He lays behind my laptop screen. Occasionally he attacks a microscopic piece of lint.

OMG, she's eating CORN FLAKES!

While I eat my breakfast bowl of corn flakes I have to stand in the middle of the apartment, away from any furniture from which the kitties could launch themselves. The two kitties mewl piteously at my feet like I haven't fed them in 2,000 years. The elder disgruntled, who used to get to lick the bowl at her leisure without noisy brothers around, stares intently at me, willing me to remember she was here first. Luke actually goes bonkers at the smell of milk. If I sit down at the table like a civilized person Luke would launch himself into my bowl right while I'm eating. I know this from experience. It wasn't pretty. At least the laptop survived.