Saturday, May 31, 2008

peace, quiet, and a large sigh...

Shelbi has gone home. Probably has even arrived by now. Yes, it was a little early, but not much. My brother's friend was in town and headed back to T or C this evening, and they had room to take Shelbi with them. Saved me a trip and the gas for tomorrow morning, so, since bed time is really the time she wants her Daddy (no surprise there) we sent her home a little early.

So the guys left for gaming, so they wouldn't be toooo late. I stayed and waited for the ride to get here. She left, then Raine had her bath and headed for bed, exhausted from a week of keeping up with her cousin, and getting to bed later, and getting up early. I'll bet she sleeps late tomorrow. Now, I pretty much have the house to myself and it is quiet and peaceful, and I can do whatever I want... if I can decide what that is. Isn't that always the way? I mean, there is so much to choose from. The possibilities, while not quite endless, are large. Watch a movie? Which one? An episode or two of something. Cut out some things for sewing later this week? Read my book? Fall asleep? (this would be where the large sigh comes in) Ah, well. I'm enjoying my self, and will, no matter what I choose to do. Hope it is a good evening for you where ever you are.

I will entertain myself and plan the projects for next week... a cleaner, more organized house, a better wardrobe, some paid bills and trips to swimming lessons. All the good stuff!

Friday, May 30, 2008


When my brothers and I were kids, our summers were spent swimming. We got good at it. We wanted a pool with a nice big deep end, so we could swim to the bottom of it time after time after time. My mom got to send us off to the Elks Club pool every afternoon for 3 or 4 hours and got a quiet house to herself. Then we came home ready for dinner and slept soundly.

Raine and Shelbi have been begging me to take them swimming. The wading pool just isn't the thrill they are looking for. Yesterday I took them to one of the city pools, but for a number of reasons - not the least of which was that the pool was at capacity - we didn't get to stay. Today I took the girls to a friend's backyard pool, and let them have at it. They splashed and jumped in and climbed out and generally had a great time. They did not want to get out and dry off even though they were both shivery. I had to rate hand stands and cannon balls. (The Olympic judges have nothing to worry about with my judging abilities.)

Raine fell asleep on the car ride home. They both fell asleep easily and quickly tonight. Ahhh peace and quiet...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

oh, my...

Blogging slipped through my mind, and my fingers yesterday. Should I admit that? Eh, why not?

Still, I have a suggestion of something to put on my to-do list. What is it? Well, this evening we ate at my cousin's house so that she and her husband and her parents could visit a little with my niece while she is in town. The children visited by playing outside, as children will do. At one point the elder cousin (who can keep all the cousin designations straight? They are ALL cousins...) asked the two young girls, "would you like me to take you to the bridge to see the troll that lives underneath?" The girls were ever so happy to be taken to see the troll, trip trap, trip trap. We had just read the story of the "Billy Goats Gruff" last night! Off they all went down the irrigation ditch to find the troll.

They came back a little while later and reported that since there was water in the ditch, and under the the troll's bridge, he wasn't there tonight. They had tried calling him, and had thrown rocks into the water to try to get him to come out, but with no success. Still, the trip was fun, and they will be willing to go look for that troll some time in the future (like the next time either of them is there).

So, what does that have to do with the to-do list? Making a family adventure and story is a great way to make memories. My cousin has taken her children and grandchildren to that little bridge to look for the troll. She talks to them about the story, and about the troll, and engages each child in an adventure! How cool is that?!? Now there are some new children to take to the bridge, and soon, her great-grandchildren will be ready. Now THAT is something to do.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

So... tiredness

But in a good way, I guess.

Kids were busy all day today, and more in store for tomorrow. Still, my niece is missing her dad and telling him she wants to go home. Of course when I talk about what our plans are for tomorrow, she wants to do those things, or at least she seems like she does. She would probably enjoy them all the more if her dad was here doing them too. I get that, I really do. And, although I would be rather sad to have to drive her home early, I would do that. I certainly don't want this trip to be forced. She's drawn in a few directions, and wants to be everywhere at once. I remember those days myself!

So for now, they are in bed, I'll check on them in a few minutes. I'm hoping sleep is there. Maybe tomorrow will be easier for her. I hope so.

Monday, May 26, 2008

My niece is visiting

I went and got her today, and she will be here for a week. She is two years older than Raine, but so is Raine's best friend, and they get along (obviously) very well. Shelbi, however, has different interests than Raine, and sometimes they have a hard time deciding what to do together. Other times, no problem at all. I'm glad she can come visit, and the two girls can spend time together. Hopefully that will help them have a good relationship when they are older. This world can be a tough place without people to depend on, and family is usually a good place to start.

I have plans for the girls, of course. I'd like to do some crafts with them, and I still want Raine to work on her letters. I'll have to think about something for Shelbi to work on, but I'm sure I can find something. We'll go to the park, and maybe to the movies, and definitely work on having fun. In some ways, and at some times, it is easier with two kids. At others, it can be more work, like when they BOTH want your attention. I'm sure that's not news to folks with more than one child, and really, its not news to me, either. I'm hoping I can start on my own organizing while they are busy with other things, but who knows when that "extra-attention" time is going to come up.

It is nice to have my niece around though. I would like to see her more often, and more casually than we get to, but things are what they are. She is a good kid - as much as any of them are - and I love her.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Listening to our children

This is something I recommend in general. For one thing, how will they learn to listen to us, if we do not listen to them. It shows the respect and consideration we expect them to show us. Now, that doesn't mean they should be able to interrupt any and every conversation. Still, there is something precious in taking the time and having a conversation with your child.

Have them tell you a story. Raine was "reading" me a story today that was quite entertaining. She already understands a good bit of the craft of storytelling, without even realizing it. Her heroes were knights, and they were fighting a family of bad dragons, first came the daddy dragon, which you could tell was the daddy because he had no eyelashes, and he had bad red eyes. The knights had to run away and find more knights. These knights finally defeated the bad daddy dragon, and then had to run under the mommy dragon, who tried to sit on them, but her butt missed. They finally got rid of her. Then there was a family of nice dragons, who had a nest. The nest was made of sticks and looked like a bowl made of sticks, or a dragon hat made of sticks. (pretty good metaphors, huh) The nest had an egg in it which was about to hatch. The story kind of petered out about then, but I really did enjoy it.

I know, I'm the typical proud mama, and what can I say? I really am. I know my kid isn't perfect, or always well behaved, but I enjoy her, and I hope that we can continue to raise a child that we actually want to have around us. I believe that part of showing we want to have them around us is to honor them and respect them enough to listen. I loved her story, and I'm really glad I took the time to listen to it.

Inviting friends over

Some friends are coming over for dinner and a visit tomorrow (well actually by the time I'm writing, later today). I enjoy casual entertaining. I love visiting with my friends, and I love feeding them. I'll even put up with cleaning up afterwards for the pleasure of visiting. I get to show off our remodeling, which is fun, and we can compare experiences with them. Peter is an old friend, and I have really enjoyed reconnecting with him recently, so I'm really looking forward to having him and his wife over for a casual dinner.

I say casual, because while I'm up for planning, I'm not really up for formality. I don't do cocktail parties, or large parties generally speaking. I want a number of people that I can talk to and have meaningful conversation, not just greet and schmooze. I'm also not a big one for dressing up. I know there are people who will have a party just so they can dress up, but I'm not one of those. Once you have been to my house, and know where the kitchen is, you are welcome to help yourself!

On Monday, we'll go over to some other friends' house, and visit them, and have dinner. We might grill, which I love, yum. We'll probably take a prepared dish or two to share. We may very well watch a movie together, and will have an enjoyable time in a fairly calm way. No one drinking too much and acting up, no one having a lot of drama. The kind of evening you want to repeat, and so we probably will a few times through the year.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I love crafts, if you can't tell by some of my posts. I like to sew, and have made garments for many people, and more dolls, and I've also worked on place mats, and stuffed bunnies. I've entered a few things into the fairs in Tucson when I lived there, and here as well. I've not run away with the show or anything, but I've gotten a ribbon or two. I'd like to get more into quilting as I think that is a wonderful heirloom/keepsake. I crochet, and have made baby blankets and afghans, dragons and even the old woman who lived in a shoe, not to mention tiny sheep and snowflakes for my Christmas tree. Cross stitch is another of my favorites, although as I get older and so does my eyesight, that may be problematic... I got a lighted magnifier, which I hope will help.

I really like feeling the satisfaction of finishing a project, and having that sense of accomplishment. Sometimes, when I've worked on something for a very long time, I can't tell any more if it looks OK, all I can see are the mistakes. If something is beyond redemption, however, generally it never gets finished. I love to give these crafts as gifts to people who are special to me. I feel like it makes a better gift with my time in it, than I could pay for with money. It also feels so much more personal with that investment. Then, occasionally, I will come across that gift after I have done other things and time has passed... and it feels good when that person might say, remember when you made this for me? Even if they don't say it, I usually think about that time, and it feels good again.

I was talking to Carl today and we ending up brainstorming about a crafting group that would post their crafts online, and kind of build a local community that could also interact more widely online. It sounded great to be able to craft with friends, and share project ideas and all sorts of stuff... I may have to do it! Oh, it may not go anywhere in a wider world, but it would sure make my world (and hopefully theirs too) a brighter place. Interested?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Endings and beginnings

Check-out from school was pretty easy and painless today. Well, except that I had to make three trips to the line because I had forgotten something. Still, compared to my usual having to grade all day, it was EASY. I always look forward to the summers as a teacher. I've been fortunate enough not to have to worry about working during them - which is of course not to say I'm anywhere near rich and care-free - just, I've managed to manage. The thing is, when school starts again, I'm pretty much ready for it to start again, too. I suppose when I'm not, it will be the time to start doing something else instead.

I have a friend who has been at her job for about 25 years, and she is very good at it. She hasn't always been appreciated, though, because she will tell people what they don't want to hear. Now, she doesn't go following them around to do it, but if you ask, be ready to get the truth back, whether it is pretty or not. She is hating her job, right now. She changed jobs - or at least workplaces - and still, it's not good. I have told myself, if I hated my job, I would look for a different one. Same thing if my job made me cry. Still, now that I have 10-12 years vested into my job, the thought of starting over is rather daunting. I would like to retire some day, and I would like to get a retirement that I could survive on. hmmmm

Starting over is not an easy thing, and it goes beyond our natural fear of the unknown. Still, I have been in several situations where starting over was exactly what was needed, and even though I didn't choose it, it felt so good to be somewhere new. I was happier for the change, even though the transition felt pretty bad. Another thing we must all consider is that there are many ways to get paid, and not all of them are financial (teachers know this well). What payments do your alternatives offer? Sanity, hope, personal growth and satisfaction? Once you have the basics taken care of, maybe those are worth more than the money...

So here is to endings... Raine has ended her days in pre-school. I've ended another school year. The graduates I know, both high school and college have gotten their diplomas... And the beginnings that follow... new jobs, new schools, new friends and new opportunities. May they all be what we hope.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


So... have you heard enough about how high gas is? I certainly have, and felt it in my wallet as well. Is it time to think of alternatives? Of course, it is waaay past time. And I don't mean just cars with higher gas mileage, although for years I've wondered why the American public bought into the big huge vehicle craze. Actually, in a way I haven't wondered... its advertising, and keeping up with the whoever-lives-next-door, or whatever. I wonder more why we are such sheep, and follow these made-up trends and buy stuff just to buy it. Yes, that's a "we" in there. I may not be as bad as some, but I have my moments of consumerism, too. Baaaaa

So, anyway, I have been thinking about the driving I intend to do over the summer, when it is not a required to go to work thing. Raine will have swimming lessons at a reasonably close pool. We'll plan trips to the library, and I think to some of the local museums. Plan is an operative word, here, though. I don't want to just go jump in the car everyday. We tend to like to go to Sonic when it gets hot. This year, maybe not so much. I'm not intending deprivation, or hardship, just thoughtful resource usage.

I've also been thinking about pedal power. It's been a long time since this fat butt was on anything more pedal-y than an stationary bike. I have neither the balance nor the coordination to have any business on a bicycle, if I fell (which I would) I would break something and the medical bills and recovery would be more than ANY savings on gas. Still, two wheel aren't the only option, so I looked up some three-wheelers, some with baskets in the front or back. I could get to the store and home on one of those, and even carry some groceries. The site that I was looking at also made tourist cycles, for multiple people. This is just the cutest thing, and you could take the whole family, or maybe some friends...

Something for you all to think about.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I've been writing about how summer is coming, and it felt like summer last weekend, and school here is winding to a close. Well, today it hit 100 degrees. In May. Before Memorial Day even. OUCH!

I've been reading the local SCA list (ahh nostalgia) and they are planning their annual event in Ruidoso in August. Every year, there are closings because it is dry. The group frets and worries until the rains come in July and the park opens up again. This year, the forest service returned the deposit. I don't think that is a very good sign, do you?

Even though we had a "rainy day" Friday, it didn't do much more than sprinkle briefly most places. It was a dry winter, and it's getting awfully hot, awfully early again this year. I read in the news about floods and storms in other places, and I'm glad we aren't getting those killer storms, I really am, but some rain? A little here and a little there, preferably, we are a desert, and we can't handle too much at once. Still...

Monday, May 19, 2008

...and counting

Well, summer in the air was really reinforced today. It was pretty warm out, and the air conditioning sure felt good at home. That end-of-school feeling is in the air as the halls seem quieter and quieter, and people are packing up and putting away and trying to get everything set for a quick day on Thursday. We only have two half-days of finals left. I only have my 3rd period class. Twice. (the joys of A/B scheduling.) but they will enjoy lunch with their 4th period teachers as I will "enjoy" packing lunches into boxes and helping to deliver them to classrooms. Our students have proven too rambunctious for lunch in the cafeteria on the last days of school, and no-one wants to clean up after them in there. Staff luncheon is tomorrow, and grades and check-out are Thursday. I should be out of there by noon. Don't be fooled anyone, they tell you that you can turn in your grades by 3:45, but they MEAN you better have them in by 11:30. Everyone wants to go HOME!

This is the other side of the end of school coin. The teacher's flip side. Wondering if I'll be in a different classroom next year. Wondering whether I'll be teaching 9th grade reading intervention or senior English. Wondering if I'll get all the organization done at home that I would really like to do... and work with Raine on letters and reading... and get her to swimming lessons every day... and sewing, crafts, yard work, etc. At this point I'm looking forward to all of it, by the end of July, I'll be looking forward to new students - which is a good thing, because I'll have them, freshmen or seniors, on August 4th.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

summer in the air

Thursday, Friday and yesterday were cloudy days, Friday downright cool for this part of the country, and we had a little much-needed rain. Spotty. Not enough rain, just a little. Still, a bit. Today however was the first taste of summer. It was clear and warm and felt like summer vacation. I think that was helped by the various graduation parties held through our neighborhood. There were lots of families celebrating, and cooking out and being outside. It was nice, and it really seemed to start the summer for me. OK, yes, I still have to go back to work tomorrow, and Tuesday, and... but this is the last week before summer break. Memorial Day, and the "official" kick-off for summer is so close you can taste it. You can hear it in the ice-cream trucks, making their rounds... Well, sort of, anyway. One of the ones we heard today was playing tinny Christmas Carols, so out of place that we listened for a bit, knowing the song was familiar and trying to recognize it. We laughed when we finally did recognize the tune.

I like to sit outside on the porch, watching the sprinkler and moving it now and again on evenings like these. Raine likes it too, since she gets to ride her tricycle, or run up and down the sidewalk, or fight off dragons in her armor behind and armor befront. I like it as the air is cooling down, and the sun is setting, the neighborhood kids out playing and laughing. Its good. Even better? Its free AND good.

So yes, the heat is coming. Yes, the air conditioning will be SOOoooo sweet, and it won't be that long before it is. But now, the taste of summer fresh in the air, teasing you, is wonderful. And one of the best things about being a teacher? You get the students out of the buildings and on the buses. You turn your grades in. Then, you're out of the building heading for home, singing, "School's out for summer..."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

close to midnight

Last night was graduation. Somehow or another, I have followed this class since they were freshmen, and I've taught a good number of them in one English class or another, and some of them in more than one class. I was happy to see them graduate, and wish them well. It made for a later night than usual, though, as I didn't get home until about 9:30. Our principal (district?) gave us a half day off so that we could attend graduation, but I didn't go home in that time. Graduation was held at Don Haskin's Arena in El Paso, and if I had gone home, there I would have stayed. So, we car pooled it to dinner, and then to the ceremony, and had a reasonable nice time of it. Much nicer than we would have if we had each gone on our own.

When I got home, there was an episode of Star Trek beginning! (Remember that box of DVD's?) "Naked Time" no less, so of course I sat down and watched it. And then? Well, I don't rightly remember, but a shower and bed followed soon after with nary a thought for this blog, sorry to say. Bad me.

Still, here I am now, doing my "splaining." We finally got Lord of the Rings going too... I made a character -and elven huntress - but my video card was really not up to the game. Ron did a very nice thing. He went and got a new one for me today, and put it in, and what-do-you-know... the game is pretty fun when you can control where you are going. (For anyone who isn't into these games, when you are lagging you can barely control where your character is going - much less anything else they are doing.) The landscape is pretty, and the travel time between places isn't bad. I think you can customize your outfit, but I haven't really looked at that yet. One of the things that is fun about City of Heroes or Villains is that you can really customize what your character looks like. Then, you can change how it looks as you progress through the game. Most games let you have a limited change of looks as you get new armor, etc or they might have a few clothes you can wear when you are not out adventuring. We played one for a while called Anarchy Online, which had a VERY wide array of clothing. We had a lot of fun with that game interacting with the friends we made, but hunting and questing was not as good as some others.

Fran, Fran, Fran... there is soooo much more to these games than EQ!!! (which I tried but would crash my computer at the time...) All they take are money and time, and we all have plenty of both, right?

Thursday, May 15, 2008


My brother Carl talked us in to trying Lord of the Rings Online. His theory is that while the game is rather frustrating to solo, if you had a group that would go through the quests together, that group could create the story line for themselves. So, since we are handy, and like to do the online gaming, he asked us if we would give it a try. Ron has already tried the game, but the cohesive group idea wasn't part of that experience. I'm new to the game, so I'll have to learn all the game dynamics. I'll still probably push the wrong buttons and get lost in anything underground. Still, Lord of the Rings... I more or less know the story line from the books and movies. It will be interesting to try it out, and I do like the fantasy world MMORPG's.

When we got home from dinner, Ron began the downloading... and now, more than 4 hours later, it is still going on. Please understand that I'm pretty spoiled when it comes to internet access. We have cable access, and quite a network in our house (more computers than people live here). I am definitely NOT used to waiting that long on a download. Do I sound petulant? I feel petulant. I want my computer to be SPEEDY! And while it is working on this download, it is not. I didn't IM my friends, I didn't web surf... much, heck I didn't even play more than 2 or 3 games of solitaire. I watched Ace of Cakes, and looked through a catalogue and read my book (Diane Mott Davidson, not her best work but sufficiently entertaining). I'm posting now, and will leave the installer to chug away at the game while I sleep. I'll let you know how the game is, but that will have to be the post of another day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

success and failure

Next year, Gadsden High School will be piloting their 9th grade academy. In an effort to promote excellence, responsibility and achievement, We will be segregating the incoming 9th graders from the other students, and then helping them achieve the standards set for 9th grade in hopes that will also help them be successful throughout the rest of their high school program, and then through life, where ever that may take them. I think the academy will have a positive influence on our students and our school. I'm excited to see it happen, and willing to work towards it's success.

A few days ago, When the inevitable end of semester grading instructions were put in our boxes, there was a new paragraph added since last semester. This year, if a student doesn't show up for the final, we are still to enter a grade of 50% into the computer grading program. There is a reason for this, but it isn't a very good one, in my opinion. Thanks to whomever(s) decision it was, the program is set up not to take any grade below 50%. Earn a 45%, enter a 50%... earn a 12%, enter a 50%. As of now, on the final, even if you don't show up, you get 50%. Amazing, isn't it? As with other grades, teachers record in their grade books the percentage that the students earn, and average accordingly, so a failure is a failure... well, maybe unless a parent raises a stink, and then administrators average by that 50% because that is - after all - the "official" grade. Of course it gripes teachers. It sure gripes, me. I believe it also sends a very bad message about what our school and district believes about academic excellence and integrity.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

this evening

Our house was filled with the simple pleasures of fart noises and giggles. Raine discovered while in the bathtub, that putting one end of a plastic straw in the bend of her knee and blowing through the other end would make a very loud and satisfying fart noise. It was just the funniest thing she had done in a long time.

You see, my perfect, dainty, feminine daughter really isn't dainty. At five, she is just at the age where all those bodily functions, especially farts, are endlessly hilarious. She walks around testing out various sounds and asking "did that sound like a fart?" It makes me wish she had a sibling to practice with instead of testing them all out on mommy... My hope is - since she's a girl - that she will one day grow out of it. At least the noise-making part, she can find farts funny forever if she wants to.

Her glee was, of course, contagious. How could it not be? Soon we were all laughing with her, and shaking our heads in that we-are-just-never-gonna-hear-the-end-of-that-noise way. Ah well, it really was loud and wet and full when she hit it just right. A thing of... beauty?

Monday, May 12, 2008

time to worry?

I bought gas yesterday for $3.49 per gallon. I thought that was pretty high, and it hadn't taken very long to jump to that price. I had been seeing $3.59 and $3.69 around town, and even $3.79 right out of town, so I knew it was a good price for the area, even if I didn't much like it. Today, on my way home, in town no less, I saw regular unleaded priced at $3.84 per gallon. That rapid rise really concerns me. The rising gas prices, the rising food prices, the fact that some staples are occasionally hard to come by in some areas are ALL concerning me.

My brother and I plan our household shopping, and after he watched some news stories on rice, flour and other staples, we discussed whether or not we should stock up. We decided at that time not to, to see how things would go and not panic. Now, I wonder if we should stock up anyway - not because I think we should panic about food - but rather, we should try NOT to go shopping so often because of the price of gas.

I signed Raine up for swimming lessons this summer, and a swim camp. Six weeks worth of taking her to the pool every day and bringing her home. Trading rides with her young friend's parents some of those days so they can play together. Now, I wonder if that will really be a wise choice. The pool is pretty close, and staying home all day every day would probably send us both over the edge, but still, it shouldn't be a hardship for the family for her to be driven to swim lessons. I get concerned when I see that as a possibility.

And what about driving to work? I carpool... but still. How much of a daily wage is reasonable to spend on commuting? Is there a formula? I don't know it, but I'd be interested in it. I wish there were other commuting options to where I work, but there aren't. I may have to suggest something...

Bicycle manufacturers rejoice!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Summer vacation will soon be here

Everywhere I look in my house are things to be taken care of during that vacation. About the only room that is exempt is my brother's room, and it isn't that things don't need to be done, just it isn't my responsibility to see that they are. I could drive myself crazy trying to figure it all out, and putting order to it all.

So, I have been making a plan, and it starts in the bedroom (not Carl's, he'll be so relieved). To prepare for the purging and organizing process, I've been watching Clean House. I've been psyching myself up with the thought of making new pieces for my wardrobe, woo hoo! We even got some space bags to put some of the saveable stuff in so it will take up less room. My closet needs major help and organization. Not everything that is in there really needs to be IN THERE. I may even have to try my hand at upholstery. Its only been waiting on me how long?!?!? Well, I may not actually get to it over the summer, but getting prepared to be ready... Depends on how full I've really made my summer, and how quickly other things go...

Then, on to the computer room/library. Its the /library part I need to work on. I swear these books fit on those shelves when we took them down to put them into the boxes... what the heck happened? There are still boxes and boxes... and the shelves are full. I want alphabetical by author, people! Not being able to find the book I want when I want it is making me twitch. I can also change out Raine's computer desk on the way to cleaning out her room. She has so many cool drawings and art projects that I want to incorporate into a scrapbook for her. Of course I can't put all of them in it, not even close, but I love having so much to choose from, and once the pages get going, I can make some for the grandmas and the cousin and etc. Which will take us to...

The craft room!!! I love it! but it is not ready to be used, yet. It pretty much needs to be emptied and then set up. It takes more time than I have during school, of course, although parts of it are further along than they were a month ago... or 2 months ago. Plus, I need to use that craft room. I mean I NEED to USE that craft room... sewing, scrapbooking, upholstery! It is the goal that will drive the rest of the work. The reward, so to speak. If I don't save it until last, I won't get anywhere else. If I get the other rooms done, I'll have spaces to put boxes so that I can set that room up right. I can't wait! Just two more weeks...

Short, Sweet and Late

Sunday is Mother's Day. One of those commercial "holidays" that seem to be created so that we would buy gifts for loved ones. Still, I mean, MOTHER. Doesn't matter how old you get, sometimes you really want her, even after she is gone. For months after my mom passed away, I would reach for the phone to call her and tell her something. Not anything monumental, just something.

Now, I'm not writing this to be maudlin, nor get my audience all weepy. I just think that remembering that influence, that strength and support, is terrific. Here is a day when we can remember all the good things about Mom, and sweep aside all those things she did that made us crazy. Remember the good, and maybe accept the bad as - well - human. Honor the idea of motherhood as all those nice things a mom can be.

Those of us who are moms can spend a day smiling indulgently at kids and spouses, maybe even grandkids. (*insert parade wave here*) Heck, some may even get to enjoy nieces and nephews in the mix as families gather. As moms we can celebrate family and kids and life, and the love that goes into all of those things. Just as we think about the best that our moms offered, lets think about the best we can offer our kids and our families. It would be great to create a memory that feels good inside, or share one that is already there. And let's face it, we ALL like to be appreciated now and then, holiday or no.

Friday, May 9, 2008

cross this one off

Went to see Iron Man this evening. The theater was more crowded than I expected, so it was good that we got there early and staked out some good seats. Ok, so it IS Friday, and the film has been getting great reviews. I should have known it would be crowded. Still, I am the optimist.

I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone, but it WAS an exciting and techno-geeky movie. Jeff Bridges does a great job, but the bald-with-beard look is not his best. It was a good role for Gwyneth Paltrow, and she's not one of my favorite actresses. Robert Downey Jr, though. Wow. He does a really nice job with this part, and I really enjoyed it. Once again he proves what a talented actor he is.

SO, make the effort, go to the theater, although I don't recommend Friday evening, necessarily. This one is worth the price of admission. Stay through the end of the credits.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

size and health

I'm a fat person. There, I've admitted to it. Said it out loud. It's nothing new; I've been called fat even before I was. There are many reasons why I'm fat from genetic to psychological and still it all boils down to the fact that I consume more calories than I expend on a daily basis. I like to eat and I don't like to exercise. I could place blame on any number of things, as people are wont to do these days, but I'm mature enough to realize the responsibility is mine, all mine. No one ever forced me to eat so that I would be fat. OK, yes there were those childhood sessions, few as they were, of "You will sit there until that liver is gone" Believe me, liver did NOT make me fat.

Now I've also been a pretty healthy person most of my life. The only time I checked into and stayed overnight in a hospital once I was sent home as an infant was when my daughter was born, almost 43 years later (even then I went home a day early). Sure I've had minor injuries, and sinus infections and flu. I've been to the Dr. I've had my wisdom teeth surgically removed. I even got stitches once. I know many, many people skinny or not who have a lot more health problems than I do. Still, doctors - especially the ones in fashion (or at least fashionable) magazines want to tell me how unhealthy I am. Over and over and over. I feel pretty fortunate that the doctor I have now is willing to treat my illnesses as such and not tie everything to being FAT. I know people who are not that lucky.

Besides, I'm not buying that fat = unhealthy line. You die a lot quicker from being too thin than you do from being too fat. I also don't buy into the idea that fat = ugly. And I think here the operative word is "buy." OK, I'm no beauty queen. Never was, never will be, has nothing to do with my size. I see women every day who make the point to me that thin does NOT mean beautiful, any more than any other one characteristic does. True beauty is a combination of so many qualities, some of which are truly carried on the inside.

That being ranted, I have a history of diabetes in my family, and my knees are starting to limit me, and I am being treated for high blood pressure. My health is catching up to my middle age, darn it! So, it is time for me to deal with some healthy habits, and build them up so that I like my life more. Some of those healthy habits will relate to eating, and what kinds of foods I should eat more of and some I should eat less of. While I know getting healthier will also equate to losing weight, THAT is not the end measurement I care about. I really don't care if I EVER weigh the number that chart says I should weigh. Come on, you know what chart I mean. Even if I weigh that little, I know without a doubt that my butt will still be big, and I wouldn't have the figure that other women that weight have. (I know which of my family members I'm built like.)

I've been on the South Beach Diet, and I'm planning to follow it again. I enjoyed the food, and I feel like it is a plan that is healthy over a long time. These are eating habits that I'm going to have to maintain, probably for the rest of my life so that I can have the life that I would like, and be able to be at least somewhat active with my daughter. I'll still be limited by my coordination, but hey, that's nothing new... Yes, I will check my weight each week, only once a week, for that downward trend, but I will not live or die, rejoice or mourn by those numbers. I refuse. Instead, I will share other positive observations now and again. I would also love to hear positive healthy news/feedback from anyone out there reading. Recipes that you enjoy, goals that you achieve... all those good things. I don't care if you are dieting, what helps you be mentally and physically healthy?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

movies, more movies

For Christmas this past year, we got ourselves a be-au-ti-ful flat screen, big screen TV. Now, my purpose here is not to brag, for keeping up with the Joneses - or anyone else - is not my cup of tea. There are plenty of folks with home theaters that put what we have to shame, but we have been enjoying what we put together.

For you see, we also have our wall of movies. Well, there are some series in the mix, too, but mostly movies. You see, none of us has much tolerance for commercial TV. Mainly because of the - you guessed it - commercials. So, if one of us actually watches a series, and then decides he or she LIKES the series, pretty soon we have a season or two on DVD, if it is affordable. Mostly, we are on our computers, frankly.

But, back to the movies. One of the really nice things about this TV is watching all our movies again, this time on the big screen. It really looks nice, and it FEELS like a big screen. All those details you lose when you move from the theater to the television reappear on this TV. Tonight we watched O Brother Where Art Thou. What a good movie! Of course, you knew that, right? Right? And the sound track... wow. So, while it was definitely not my first time watching this movie, it was the first time on our current set up. It was so good, it made me want to put another movie in, and another, and another.

Remember how I have all those Star Trek episodes to watch this summer? They are going to look great on the big screen, too. Don't be jealous, come over and watch too!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What will I do...

next year? Teaching is one of those changeable jobs. Even when you don't change professions, you still change jobs. I have taught at 4 different schools (3 districts). I've also taught several different classes, from algebra 1 to computer applications to language arts for 6th through 12th grade. Not all in the same year, mind you, nor all at the same school. A varied career of teaching. I like the school I'm teaching at now, and I enjoy the students I work with. Many of the seniors who will be graduating this year are students I've taught throughout their high school stay. It has been wonderful watching them grow up. Don't get me wrong, I'm not worried that I won't have a job next year, I'm just not sure what to prepare for my students.

The class I'm teaching at the moment, a Tier II intervention class, for those of you who might have an idea what that might mean, may or may not continue next year. If it does continue, it will definitely change some and I may or may not be teaching it. There is a certain attraction to developing a class, and seeing where it will grow. In an intervention class like this one, there is the potential of seeing a student make gains in ways they were unable to in other classes. THAT is an exciting thing. Still, If I'm not the one leading that class, someone as or more capable will be, and that will help the students.

This week, while the principals and the department heads are working on the master schedule for next year, I will probably find out what my next job will be, whether it is a class I've already taught, or something new to me. Either way, there are positive aspects to it. I'm just looking forward to knowing.

Monday, May 5, 2008

upcoming events going on the list

During first period today, one of my friends came in and asked me if I liked Tom Waits. "Of course!" I said, "Tom Waits is very cool!"
"Well guess what?" he said, barely able to contain himself, "Tom Waits is going on tour, and he will be in El Paso in June!"


You can check out tour dates for the Glitter and Doom Tour (isn't that a great name) at and be sure to watch the video of his "press conference." If you're not amused by it, give up!

Carl, who hates theater seating and hardly ever goes out to the movies, went to the actual theater last night and saw Iron Man. He liked it very much. Even enough to make up for the theater seating. Even enough to make up for getting home at midnight on a work night. Even enough to make him not mind so much the car trouble that became worse on his round trip to the theater. OK, OK, I'll go and see it! Ron and I will probably even take Raine, who love superheros.

Finally, we got a copy of The Golden Compass today, and watched it this evening. It was quite entertaining, and fantastic. The CG wasn't too overpowering, and there were a lot of people in it that I didn't expect. OK, Sam Elliot playing.... well, Sam Elliot - or at least the same cowboy we are used to seeing him play so well. It was a nice touch. The ending does - of course - scream for a sequel... we'll see.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Watch Star Trek

My birthday was last month, and my brother got me the complete series of Star Trek, the original series. This series was my introduction to science fiction as a kid. I LOVED the adventures of the star ship Enterprise and her crew. I remember when, in 1969, they changed the time slot to 9pm. It was horrible! That was bed time! I cleverly stood out in the hall watching the television, out of sight of my parents, and would run down the hall and dive into my bed so I could answer "yes!" when they called out, "are you in bed?" I just knew I had been subtle, silent, and undetected.

Fortunately syndication brought Captain Kirk and the rest of the crew back into my life and I could watch each adventure time and again on the little black and white set I had in my bedroom by that time. I would get so excited if it was an episode I hadn't seen yet. I would practice being stunned by a phaser. OK, be fair... I've already mentioned I'm a geek.

Now, of course acting styles have changed, special effects have changed, and ensemble casts are much more common. Star Trek as an idea for a television show has come and gone and come and gone... and come... and gone. Multi-racial casts are not as ground breaking today as they were in the sixties. Doors that open when you walk up to them are taken for granted. I still want my cell phone to chirp when I flip it open, though, and I would love to hear Uhura's voice on it. "Enterprise here."

So, this summer, among the many cleaning and organizing and sewing projects and kid activities that I am planning, I am also planning on enjoying Star Trek. On disk. Without commercials, or edited for more commercials. I'll get a kick out of the overly dramatic acting, and the ripped shirts and "He's dead, Jim," just never gets old. I'll probably space them out, an episode a day to savor them. The big change? My days of practicing falling from a phaser set on stun are over.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


I wrote in a diary at one time... briefly... I never have gotten into the habit of journaling, although writers should. I guess I never looked at it in the right way, until I figured it out in terms of blogging, more or less.

I enjoy writing. I enjoy words, and the process of putting words on a page. I can't say I enjoy the rewriting and correction process. Not that I don't believe in editing, but when you get through editing, you still have to work on that next draft. Until I got a computer, I rarely went to that step. Oh, maybe with a poem...something not too long, but as a language arts teacher, I am rather embarrassed in retrospect at the number of first drafts I turned in. Now, I will say that they were not necessarily horrible pieces of writing, or at least not any more horrible than any of my classmates, but they were definitely NOT finely crafted. Ahhh, my friend the computer. With a computer, I can edit, cut and paste, correct spellings, and adjust margins, not to mention change page breaks and pick and choose fonts and font sizes. I mean! It is wonderful and fun, isn't it.

Now, writing every day in a blog, I can write to an audience - or at least feel that I do - I can and do revise (not that I'm perfect) and I LOVE spell check. I'm not just writing my thoughts to myself, when I already had them. I am talking to my friends, and trying to say something entertaining, or at least meaningful to some degree. I have to collect my thoughts, and put them into some kind of order. I have to try to make sense, and follow a storyline, or a train of logic, or something. Its fun! (OK, you know for sure I'm a geek, now - I'm outa the closet on that one a long time ago) Now that I am writing every day, or close to it, I'm going to have to start doing the writer's job of collecting ideas, observations, what-have-you to use. Collecting them in some other than an in-my-head-hmmm-that's-interesting kind of way. Well, I mean, I knew that, but now, I KNOW it... Come on Fran, help me out here. I know this is you in some way too.

And speaking of Fran, thanks for being an inspiration for me with the writing stuff.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Aren't sleeping children precious?

It's the moment of peace and quiet that every parent knows, regardless of the age of their child. That baby is home and safe and looks like an angel. They all do when they are asleep, don't they.
We are having a sleep-over tonight. Raine's best friend is finally ready to sleep away from home and his own stuff and his own parents. We hope. It only took us about 2 hours to get the kids settled down enough to fall asleep. Raine would be asleep for the night at this point, but I don't know about Ezekiel. He's in a strange place, in a bed that doesn't feel like his own, and I think he's used to waking up and finding his parents in the middle of the night. So, he may wake up, and then wake Raine up in the middle of the night. Ahhh well, if he does, then he does.

Raine has been sleeping over at Grandma's occasionally since she would sleep in her own bed. And it is definitely a treat when she gets to sleep over at Ezekiel's house. She even visited North Carolina and her grandparents that live there for almost a week on her own this year. Am I the only one that gets almost that same, "now we can do whatever we want" feeling that I used to get when my parents were out of the house over night? Did you ever even conceive that your parents might feel anything like that when you were away? hmmmmm.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

All we are... dust in the wind. Again, today. I drove to El Paso today - ok, Santa Theresa, but for almost everyone El Paso will be more meaningful. On the way home, the wind rocked the car pretty badly, as it will. My Rodeo is rather higher profile than some of the other vehicles I've owned recently, and doesn't deal with the wind as well as some I've had. Still, I've had enough practice driving in the strong winds that it isn't too much of a big deal. Still, you hang back to see how the truckers will handle the gusts before you pull up beside them.

There was also a fire beside the road, in the median and the wind had blown it across the freeway. I called it into 911, but others - not surprisingly - had already done so as well.

Our allergies also ramp up with the dust in the air. So much sneezing and runny nose and that weird way your voice sounds when your sinuses are closing up... I'm trying to remember to give Raine her claritin so she doesn't get too bad, but she is suffering, I know. Poor little boogie nose girl. When she was younger, she would come up to one of us, and tell us her boogies were fallin' out.

So, I think I better have a point here, and maybe I've actually thought of one. Things to do. Celebrate spring! In New Mexico, that often means - like today - celebrate in wind and dust. Still nature, in her strength and her beauty deserves our respect and our thanks.