Sunday, November 30, 2008

uncovering the past

I wrote a couple of days ago about some albums that will be out for the grappler on Tuesday morning. They had been my parents'. I've also written about unpacking boxes that are stored in the craft room, trying to find that dragon pattern. Well, not all of those boxes were packed by me. Some of them were packed... well, years ago, when my dad's house was being cleaned out and gotten ready for renting. At least that's when I think they were packed. I uncovered some of my mom's sewing stuff, and - more interestingly - some of her papers. Some of the papers are clearly trash, like the various configurations of the Amiga she eventually bought. Yup, that old. I threw them away, because they were trash, and I had no qualms doing it, but it was still almost like my mom saying "hi" to me through the years. Just mundane stuff. Nothing earthshattering or important, but familiar handwriting, and bits and pieces of the past.

I suppose many people experience that kind of thing, going through old stuff. Boxes that were stored too long ago. Unlike the albums, there was no bittersweet too bad I can't keep this. I threw trash away, like it should have been before it ever got into a box. My dad just couldn't face doing it himself. It was just a reminder that though she is gone, my mom is still around. As if I didn't know that when I have to try to out-stubborn my daughter.

We also found some great pictures. Its time to start digitizing them and labeling them for the next generation. Personal history in pictures. Hope that I can still find out who some of those people were...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

christmas crafting

I've been hard at it, you know. OK, maybe you don't, because I have been trying not to talk about it too much. Didn't want to give away gifts. Hmmm, that doesn't sound right. I DO want to give away gifts, but I didn't want to give up what the gifts were to the people getting them. I love hand made stuff. one of the things that puts me in a holiday mood is making gifts. I have, over the years, gotten the "production line" busy with dragons, stuffed rocking horses, snow flakes, bunnies, and other stuff that I don't recall right off. Its going now, and it feels great. Pictures later, probably after Christmas, but I think they are turning out well. I have quite a list to make for, too. One of these years, I'm going to request a hand made Christmas from my family, and exchange things we have made. I bet the gifts would be some of the best ever.

I usually have an easier time getting in the holiday mood. This year, it seems a little more work. Work to get the stuff out. Work to put up the tree. Work to fight through the holiday crowds. Bleah. BUT, I have a 5-year-old, and SHE is excited. We get to tease her with threats of Barbies and pink stuff, while she dreams of giant radio controlled dinosaurs. We told her she needs to write a letter to Santa. She said, "People don't do that!" We told her, "yes, they do!" and "ask your teacher." (For some reason she doesn't believe everything we tell her.... hmmmm). At any rate, she's a very good age for a fabulous Christmas. Hopefully that will motivate us. Still we are going for the simple holidays this year.

And, I suppose it is time to think about getting ready. Sunday is the last day of November, and Christmas is less than a month away. Time to dig out the tree and the decorations. I found the cards, and now for the trek through the address book and a trip to the post office. Maybe not this weekend, though. I'll be happy getting the tree up next weekend, and maybe working on the cards during the week this week. Still, I suppose its time to sing along with those Christmas carols, now.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, thank you. I hope you did as well. We had smoked turkey, and a little rain, which interfered a little with the smoking of the turkey, but not fatally. We did bring the bird in and pop it in the oven for long enough to make sure the internal temperature got to that "done" level. I made dressing, apple pie and almond pie. Carl did the turkey. mmm We had some other stuff as well, a corn dish with cream cheese and green chili that has become a staple on these holidays, and baked sweet potatoes (never could take the sweet casserole dish).

The best part was that we weren't stressed out, trying to feed a lot of people, or worrying whether this person or that person would show up, or play nice or any of that stuff. We just had what we wanted, and sat and watched a movie while it was cooking. There wasn't even all that much clean-up, since we did that along the way, too.

So, sure, I'm tired. I got up early to help with the turkey, like one does. But I'm also very satisfied in a meal and a day well done. Hope you all had as thankful a day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

letting go of stuff

Today I let go of some stuff. It wasn't even my stuff, it belonged to my parents. They had a record collection. Not any great shakes by some standards, I know, but memories none the less. Dad's swing music, some western music, even some kid music. And the Christmas music. From back in the fifties and sixties. Talk about memories.

The records had been in storage. By no means in proper storage either, just tucked away in a shed, pretty much. Now, I know people will groan and grumble about that. They could have been stored properly, taken better care of. Yep, they sure could have. My dad was around when they were put in that shed, and they were - at that time - his to take care of, if he wanted to do that. I have my own albums to not take care of, thank you.

Anyway, the shed owners had pulled them out of the shed, and delivered them to my house, in hopes that they could and would be salvaged. I pulled a few out. They were beyond dusty. Dusty would be a polite way of describing them, because the filth was not just dust or dirt. They were stinky, and something had burrowed into part of the decomposing cardboard at some time. Ewww.

I put some of them into a box, and kept the others in the bag they had been stored in, and set them aside for the grappler truck next week. Then I had to make peace with myself for my actions. I mean these albums were my parents'. Both of them are gone now. But their memories are not, and that - really - is what those albums represented. It was, for the most part, music that I own if I cared about it. If I want it, I can find it, somewhere. I don't have to have those particular albums. Which is good, because they are a health hazard, at this point. Still, I AM a Taurus, and we have a hard time letting go of things. I have been working on that, though. And here is where that practice pays off. Mom, Dad, I still love you, and I still miss you, but I am NOT keeping those albums!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

short work weeks

What is it about a short week at work that can be so... difficult. Two days this week at work. Two days. But I'm exhausted by it. I got work done, of course and stayed a little late for my class this afternoon, but by quarter to 5 we were leaving. Usually its after 6. It was just...time to go.

Then about blogging. I swear I wrote last night. But there is no proof. The blog I thought I wrote is there... under Sunday's date. What happened to Monday? I think it snuck off while I wasn't paying attention. (it was probably stomping and sulky because I wasn't, but then, I still didn't notice).

Still, at this point in the evening, the girl is in bed, tucked in under warm blankets with happy thoughts that no bed bugs will bite, large or small. I got to spend a little time with my crochet hook and yarn. Now, I'm sitting pleasantly at my computer typing. See. Sometimes I notice. SOME stuff at least. Interesting stuff? Well, no. My wouldn't you know my audience would be so demanding. I'll try and think of some of that for tomorrow...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

let the holidays begin

It is that time of year. Ok, so anticipation began at the end of last month with Halloween, but the holidays really begin this week with Thanksgiving. Although the Canadians also celebrate a Thanksgiving holiday, it is on a different day. Thanksgiving, like the Fourth of July, are uniquely American celebrations. Holidays in the modern sense of the word (woo hoo we don't have to go to work!) instead of the original sense of the word - Holy day (woo hoo we get to go to church!). It is one of the few holidays that has stayed less commercial. Well, except for the part where you buy food to prepare for the feast, or have to pay the tab else where. Oh, sure there are cards, and hostess gifts you can get. Decorations that you have to store somewhere all the rest of the year, but it - thankfully - isn't a big candy day.

It is, however, followed by the biggest shopping day of the year: black Friday. As I've mentioned before, this is a shopping day I avoid. Like the plague. We'll probably have to go to the grocery store about one more time to get the last minute items, and stuff we want to be very fresh, but the mall is not on my list this week at all.

I've done a bit of my holiday shopping already, thanks to online shopping, mostly. I'm well into my holiday crafting for the year. Yay me. Holiday crafting is something I really enjoy. One of the high points of the holidays for me. I've made disks of pictures for the grandparents. I got ink so that I could make labels for the disks, and print pictures onto magnets. I need to search for the Christmas cards I bought last year to use this year, and get them in the works as well.

Just remember, in the hectic, frantic, too many people, too much to do and not enough time that the holidays can be... I'll remember to be thankful. Thankful for loved family and friends. Thankful for a good place to live, and good people to live with. Thankful that I have the where-with-all to make a good feast, and put presents under a tree. Thankful that the seasons follow each other, and that even in the winteryest winter, there is hope of spring to come. I'm thankful that the sun rises each morning and brings light and warmth, and that I get to see it, and feel it and enjoy it. Thankful that I can go for a walk and hug my daughter, and my husband, and yeah, even my brother. Here's hoping you have a bunch to be thankful for, too.


That's what I gots here, nuthin'. So, I'm calling it a night. It's dark out so it must be a night. Talk to you all tomorrow.

Friday, November 21, 2008

feeling like a fogey

You know, one of those old fogeys. You young whippersnappers.

See, they repaved Solano, one of the north/south arteries here in town (for anyone who doesn't know their way around Las Cruces), and now that they did that, they repainted the lane lines, in a new configuration from Lohman south to Univeristy. Now, instead of two lanes of traffic each direction, there is only one, with a middle turn lane, and small bike lanes on each side of the road. Hmmmm I'm not sure I like it. Not sure at all.

And yet... I think the turn lane will be a wonder on that street. The bike lanes too. But, the lines for the traffic lights have been kinda long. It may be a way to encourage traffic through other routes, like El Paseo, which could actually stand a bit more these days. It may be so forward thinking that I just can't imagine Las Cruces being in that place, thinking that enough more people will be riding bikes that we will need more lanes for them in the future. NAH, that thought can't be there.

Anyway, it seems like a backward step, mostly, to me. So, I'm wondering if it is so backward that it is forward, and I'm just not there yet. And this from a woman who navigates around town by the stuff that USED to be there. As in, "You know, where Dairy Queen used to be..." (and that was about 3-5 businesses ago.)

Oh yeah, and not to forget... Happy Anniversary, Ron. Eight great years!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

kids & colds

Face it, when you have kids, they are going to be snotty, phlegmy messes at times. The weather is turning colder. Slowly. With many warm hours still. But colder. The wide range of temperatures, the farming chemicals (to harvest the cotton and soon, the pecans) and dust and smoke etc in the air don't help much. They all combine to make it the start of cold/flu season. We have all been succumbing to it, bit by bit, sneeze by sneeze. None of us totally under the weather, but affected, just the same.

Yesterday morning, when I woke Raine up, she had a crusty, bloodshot eye. The dreaded pink eye. Well hers isn't the bacterial, ultra-contagious kind, but the viral, my cold moved up there too kind. Contagious as a cold virus, which is also contagious, but not like the other. Anyway, I couldn't take her to school, they wouldn't have kept her. I checked her temperature (normal) and called the Dr. for an appointment just in case. Meanwhile, she is not moping around, having to stay home. She is playing and laughing, etc. Well, a little bit manic, actually, which tells me she may not really be feeling all that good, but she doesn't really know it.

Today, Ron stayed home with her again, her voice had gotten more hoarse over night, and her cough sounded worse. Plus, while at the doctor, she had gotten her flu shot. OK. Ron wasn't feeling all that great either. Remember how I said we were all fighting the cold? Well, when I got home today, it was to news of throwing up. With a cold? She wasn't coughing that much. From the flu shot? I dunno. Still, it has been my good luck that when it comes to Raine throwing up, it is generally Ron that is right there.

So another day home for Raine, just to make sure the episode does not repeat. I don't think it will, but I go for the safe side. We'll trade off again, and it will be my day home tomorrow. I think today of all the things i could get done while at home, and I'll feel lucky at the end of the day to have gotten any of them done. What I mainly hope, though, is that Raine will feel better.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

for all who

Ok, I just got pointed to a BBC Archive by Wil Wheaton, in his blog. It archives the development of the series Dr. Who. How cool and geeky is that? Don't you just love the series Dr Who? I do. Ever since the days that it was pretty standard weekend fare on PBS. The cheap special effects, the sets and costumes that demanded you use your imagination, and the brilliant writing for the series are all memorable. OK, maybe every moment isn't brilliant, maybe some of the plots and the monsters are kind of hokey. But they are hokey in a good way. In a "this hero means well" kind of way. In a "man, you really are a nerdy geek" kind of way.

I really enjoy David Tennent as Dr Who in the most recent incarnation. He's quirky, and I think he captures the essence of some of the best Dr's through the 40 years off and on of the series. I have enjoyed his companions, especially Donna, and - as I have written - was disappointed in her "release."

I know most people think of Tom Baker when they think of Dr Who. I enjoyed him and his big toothy grin emensly, but I have to admit a fondness for Peter Davison's version as well. I liked him even more when he played Mr Campion, of the Margery Alligham series. I wish I could find that on DVD. And now, the 2000's version of the Dr is OK by me, as well. That blue police call box calls to me, that's for sure.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Christmas shopping, that is. We are in "the season" of shopping, if not actually Christmas. Do you do that whole shop after Thanksgiving thing? I don't. While I enjoy shopping - and don't even have to be ready to buy to enjoy it, and I love a good sale, I don't enjoy crowds. I may not be phobic, yet, but if I subjected myself to those mobs of people and their bad tempers and erratic driving... well, I could get there. I surely could.

I have done some Christmas shopping, and I will do more, although when I was out last weekend, I could sure tell that the crowds were growing. Hobby Lobby was a mad house. Shopping online is nice, no one reaching around you, or zooming around you to stop dead in front of you. sigh. Still, I am enough of a tactile person that I like to feel the heft of things. I like to admire their true colors, and see what size they REALLY are. So, the in-person thing is pretty desirable. I suppose one day the technology will pretty much take care of that, too. I might even live to see it. cool.

Anyway, there are presents to buy and wrap. Boxes to pack and ship. Cards to address. A tree to set up and trim. I enjoy those things. I really do, although I must admit, however much I enjoy the trimming of Christmas, and the gift giving, I appreciate the made gifts, the ones that you care about, much more than the ones we buy for someone just to have something to put under the tree. It truly is the thought that counts, not the cost.

Monday, November 17, 2008

do you watch?

We don't watch much TV, really. Oh, we sit in the room, but unless it is kid's programming ( I think I've seen every episode of spongebob ever made. At least twice), we generally are viewing something from our wall of Dvd's. We watch Heroes, Ghost Hunters, and Dr Who (OK, that would be ME) and the food network. We used to watch Lost. The first season was great! Finding out about the characters and their intertwined stories was great fun. But then... there were "the others" and, well, waayyy to much of a few characters, and not enough of others.

The first season of Heroes was interesting as well, and they made finding out about the characters very entertaining. Then, when we knew about them, the second season came along. It just wasn't as good as the first. Then, with the writer's strike, and the short season, and other things, well, we almost didn't watch the end of that second season, but we did. Now, well into the third season, I'm liking each episode a little more, the intrigue is back. There are some new characters, and some changes/evolution of some of the established ones. I still enjoy Hiro, and his innocent enthusiasm. If you liked the first season, but lost interest in the second, try the show again, this season. And with TiVo, or the like, you can zip through the commercials like crazy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Well, I worked in my craft room for a while today. I emptied 4 boxes, and found a lot of photos, a graduation cap and gown (had to wear them for HS graduation for the high school I worked at in Colorado Springs), Outlandish Heralds and Bards, my cross stitching threads (and Lou's) and bits and pieces of fabric. I save them, you know. I may build quilts someday. Soon. Really. Still they need organization. I haven't gotten to that, yet.

I've enjoyed working on some crocheted dragons, experimenting with the pattern some to size them up a little. I'm happy with it so far, but nothing complete yet, so no pictures, sorry. Oh yeah, I found my display thing of crochet hooks. Yeah, like they have in the store (or maybe they USED to have in the stores). My mom got it, I dunno when, but I love it.

I went to Joann's on Saturday, fully ready to buy something. Calicos were on sale, some yarn, bottomweights, and patterns. They only had one of the patterns I wanted. The yarn was pretty picked over. None of the calicos spoke to me, and the only fabric that did, wasn't on sale yesterday. I ended up with nothing. And I was OK with that.

I wish my progress with weight were a little more evident. Well, I did all right with the first few months of the diabetic regime. I lost 15 pounds by the time I saw the Dr. most recently. I think it was over 3 months. I think that is a good amount of weight, and it tells me that I was mostly controlling my blood sugar. (since I have to pay for my own monitor, and I haven't gotten it yet.) Lately, though, I seem to have hit a plateau. Now, (I say to myself) don't freak out, don't go all wako, don't fool yourself. I weighed on a day that I normally don't, and liked what I saw. So, what does that tell me? Weigh on that day instead? As tempting as that is, its just a head game with myself. Think about why there would be the difference between that day and the normal day (which was back to the other weight). Water weight? Better control on days earlier in the week? I am trying for a balance of figuring out what is up, and playing those head games. The ones I don't want to play at all, but it is soo easy to fall into the trap. It was encouraging to see that lower weight, and feel like maybe the plateau is starting to slide, but I don't want to fall down the slippery slope of scale games... turn around three times and hold your breath... when I weigh myself. I do want the information to be helpful to me, and help me manage my diabetes, but I don't want to become a slave to the scales, either. SO, it is a good "test" for me. I'm not sure quite yet how I'm doing on it, though, the next week or so should let me know.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

what happened?

I didn't blog last night? What is up with that? I don't know. I didn't consciously think not to, but here it is, and there it isn't, so...

Here we are now, and it's already Saturday evening. Sunday morning, more accurately. A nice evening of board games for Carl and I while Ron sat them out, staying home with Raine. He's not a big board game fan.

No, we didn't play Monopoly or Sorry, or any of those board games. We played Railroad Tycoon and Puerto Rico. And I lost miserably. At both games. And still had fun! Honestly, I don't mind losing, even coming in dead last. I don't always. Occasionally I even win. But, I don't mind losing, especially when the winners are good winners... You know, no gloating. Strategy is fine. A poker face I can deal with. Gloating gets really old really fast. And really, so much of a game is timing, and I'm not good at that. I was on the cusp, both games, of starting my run for the money. Too late... AH well.

So, you say you've never heard of Railroad Tycoon or Puerto Rico? Try your local gaming store, or online. Strategy games are a great way to learn something (anything in my case) about history. They are also a great way to spend 3 or 4 hours (and sometimes more, depending on the game), and learn (imagine that) strategy. And they make a great gift too! (just thought I'd add that for the shopping season)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

movies and books

I haven't started reading I am Legend, yet. But I will, oh, I will. Fran's comments yesterday got me thinking about reading a book vs. watching a movie. I'm a reader. Always have been. I enjoy movies as well, although these days, I don't go to the theaters as often as I used to. DVD's in the living room are more my speed. (with some kind of craft, preferably.)

My problem with movies is this: you have to leave to much out of the book to fit it into 90 minutes. Even when the movie is wonderful, they have just left out so much. Parts that I loved! Parts that I wanted to see! So, if I read the book before I see the movie, generally I'm disappointed in the movie at some level. Now there is a way around that, sort of. If I see a movie today for a book that I read 20 years ago, then I'm OK. I don't remember every detail of the book and I can enjoy what they put into the movie. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy of movies was like that. I know they could not possibly include all the richness of detail that JRR Tolkien included in his books. There is just too much. No, really, too much.

So, my general preference is to watch a movie first, then read the book. I enjoy the addition of the character's thoughts, the additional scenes, and what have you. I feel my experience with the story has been enriched instead of robbed. Still, there was an exception to this "rule" as well. I read the book for the original Star Wars, by George Lucas, and it was pretty much word for word with the movie. I felt cheated! I wanted the extra, and I was really disappointed. I haven't read any other Star Wars Universe book. That's how disappointed I was. (ask me how many Star Trek books I own, on the other hand, and my geek will begin to show again.) Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading I am Legend, even though it may be some time next year before I can get to it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

two things

First, I made this little dragon. He's kind of fuzzy in the picture, I think I was too close with the camera. He's only about 6 inches long, so he really is pretty small. The pattern worked out pretty well, and I was able to put him together in a couple of hours. Still, I'm looking for the pattern for a much bigger dragon (or dinosaur), and still no luck uncovering it. Raine liked this little dragon, and he went in her backpack for a trip to school this morning. He even came out of the backpack at home this afternoon for some play time. She also managed to take him to bed with her - yes, that's her spider blanket in the background there.

Second, I was still thinking about I am Legend today, and (now you will understand why I have a BA in English, and teach it in high school) I was thinking about the nature of the story. It is really a rather ironic tale because in becoming "legend" (a story that is told for a long time) the character really lost his story. The legend of the man is being told by a person who knew him for only a matter of hours, and didn't even take with her the recordings he made of his research (another story). His personal story, much of which was only told in flashbacks (his dreams of his memories of what happened to begin the disaster, and what happened to his family) was lost with him. So, in becoming history, his story was lost. Believe me, I know I'm over thinking the whole movie, but it is thinking and wondering about stories, and pulling them apart a little that makes them so interesting to me. I have not read the book this movie was based on, and if you had asked me yesterday, I would probably say that I wouldn't go out of my way for it. At this point, however, it is much more of interest to me. I would like to see if that is part of the original story, or "just happened" in the movie. I would also like to know if the "reporter" (the girl who takes the blood/serum to the survivors) knows more of his story, is more familiar with him in the book than she is in the movie.

Everyone geeked out enough for the evening? me too... good night.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

i am legend

Nothing like a review for a movie that is just in the movie theatres. Wait. The paragraph should start, This is...

Ah well. We picked up I am Legend at Sam's this past weekend. It was very cheap, and we had been picking it up and putting back for months, saying, "hmmm, I would like to see that. I don't know if I want to own it, but I'd like to watch it." Well, losers that we are, we never even got around to renting it or anything. Then a couple of weeks ago, we almost decided to buy it, but the copy they had rattled in the case. Not a good sign. This week, everything was hunky dory, so...

So much for the saga behind the movie purchase, and on to the movie review. OK, spoiler alert. I'll give you that warning, to be fair, for those of you who haven't managed to see the movie yet.

If you didn't know, I am Legend is an apocalyptic story about a mutated virus that cures cancer, but turns deadly in its own right. Incredibly contageous, it decimates the population, killing most outright, leaving a few survivors who are immune, and others who are "changed." It stars Will Smith, who pretty much carries the movie, and does it reasonably well. The man can act. The monsters are quick, strong, violent and hungry, but can't stand ultraviolet light and are mainly done in reasonable CG. I know that they can do wonderful stuff with CG, but a little goes a long way for me. So Will is a military scientist who must find a cure for this virus, which he is immune to. The science in this movie is rather lacking, fo a man who has a laboratory in his basement. He makes multiple copies of his video log, but mentions nothing about what he does to change the various versions of his "antidote." For someone like me who grew up on Star Trek, and was way too happy to watch Next Generation, etc, a little scientific nonsense speak would have even helped here. He also reported that the creatures had completely devolved. Except that they had a leader, who took it personally that Will captured his girlfriend for testing and was smart enough to use Will's trap design against him. hmmm doesn't seem completely devolved to me. The other complaint I had was the "convenience factor." I mean the timing was everything in this movie. On the one hand, I get that pacing is important, and things must move along, but still, when it interferes with my willing suspension of disbelief, well, it's too much.

All in all, I would recommend this movie as a DVD pick. I'm sure I will watch it more than just this once, and enjoy it, and maybe even see something I missed in this viewing. It was watchable, but not surprising.

Monday, November 10, 2008

and even monday

The day to today was rather blustery, off and on. Do you think of Winnie the Pooh on a blustery day? I do, and did. The clouds blew in and then blew away. The wind had a chill in it. We're forcasted for more of the same for the next couple of days. I bet the leaves blow down this week. The trees in our yard will be naked for the winter.

It was a nice day of not trying too hard, but getting a few things done. Got a little Christmas shopping done. Yay, me. Also did some preparation for Christmas by going through a lot of Raine's stuff, trying to get rid of some of the stuff she doesn't play with any more to make room for new stuff. She doesn't part willingly with much, but then, what kid does?

I got all the parts of the shelves out of the box in preparation for putting them together, but then I got busy in Raine's room, and there it all sat. Ron came along and put it together for me while I was otherwise occupied! I thought that was really nice, and woo hoo! they are put together and ready to load up. There was space against the wall for them, the floor all swept and everything. I'm really psyched to think that room may actually come together sometime soon. It has been a while since I could put my hands on all my crafting stuff, and my hands have missed it.

Anyway, it was a lovely day for soup, and so we had some. Beef, mushroom and barley. A hearty soup. One of the nice things about colder weather is SOUP!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

for a sunday

Well, lets see. Today was a nice day for a Sunday, just as yesterday was for a Saturday. We had our weekly chores to accomplish, which we did, plus a little maintenance on the house, patching grout in the new shower, which Ron did today and I will seal tomorrow. We probably need to seal it more often, but we were paying attention, and didn't let things get bad. We are still learning, as this is the "new" shower and the "new" tile work that we remodeled with. We have a certain amount of forgiveness with wetness issues here in NM, because it is so dry here, that you never have to worry about it doing anything but drying up.

Ron and I got to play WoW, and made it to level 25 this weekend. That was Ron's goal. At level 30 we can get mounts, but the levels will start going more slowly now, as it takes more and more experience points to advance. Ive been working on some of the character development skills in the game, like cooking and fishing and leatherworking. They are an amusing way to pass the time in the game, but only somewhat connected to the level of your character.

We played DragonQuest last night, with Ron being the DM. I have to say that I am enjoying this world, and this character, even though the character started out very young, with limited skills. Sometimes the weaknesses of a character are really what make it fun in the long run. We all tend to roll badly, so we laugh at ourselves, and each other about it. In a way, since everyone does it, it doesn't make anyone feel particularly bad to roll so poorly so often. Then, too, we all cheer when anyone gets a critically good roll, especially if it is just at the right moment. Ahh the luck of the dice.

Tomorrow, I'll have to get Raine up and off to school, but I won't have to go myself. I'm hoping to get the new shelves up in the craft room, and start putting craft books, magazines and patterns on them. Not only have I seen actual wall in there, but (gasp) worktop surface. Uh, huh, its coming along. Slowly, but along. I'm thinking of copying my friend Cheryl, who has all kinds of pretty stuff hung in the window of her kitchen by shower curtain hooks on a rod. I have all sorts of crystals, some stained glass and other cheery stuff that would find a good home in the windows of the craft room. I'll let you know how it goes... unless I get distracted...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

for a saturday

It was a nice day today. The weather here is finally turning cooler, but the leaves are still in the trees, and still mostly green, even. One night soon, we will have a freeze, and they will all turn crunchy and fall out in one day. Most of the leaves will still be green at that time. Welcome to southern NM. Still, it was sunny and beautiful out, and Ron got a lot done on his storage shed project. I got our cookbooks out of a box and onto a shelf. I went to lunch with my cousin and we had a delicious lunch and a nice, long conversation about everything and nothing. It was great. I even went shopping at Walmart, which I try to avoid because its usually such a zoo. It was a zoo, today, too. Still I looked through the Halloween leftovers, and bought Raine a couple of things at 75% off and some long pants for school. I also found an inexpensive shelving unit for the craft room to put up all the magazines and craft books that I have been getting out of the boxes. I looked for cardboard magazine holders, but no luck on those. I'm hoping staples (or some other office supply store) will have some.

Raine got to go play with her friend, and his mom had gotten them both these very fun hoodie jackets of robots and ninjas. They had a blast playing robots all afternoon! They are very cool, and warm, all at the same time, lol.

I'm rather looking forward to more of the same kind of day tomorrow, actually. Getting all those mundane chores done that always need doing. Maybe a little WoW, or a little crafting, maybe read my book, if my new glasses will let me. Thinking I might hear that my friend Cara might have her baby soon, even.

Friday, November 7, 2008

long weekend

Well, despite job and economy woes, I'm determined to enjoy my long weekend. We are living in uncertain times, my friends, and "the little guy" is - as usual - paying the tab. OK, I feel grateful to have what I have, but things could happen that would take it away.

I know I have spoken about the financial woes of the school district I work for, and some of the options that have been discussed as steps for the district to cover their losses. Today we "voted" on whether we would A like to take a week off without pay (well, except for the 20 odd people who will be taking off more than a week, if you know what I mean)or B have 70 some odd people in the district be RIFed. In other words, teachers and staff are paying 1.5 million of the district's debt out of our salaries. Oh wait, some of those employees aren't making salaries. They are working hourly. When was the last time you wanted to go a week without pay at Christmas on an hourly job? Yeah, me either. At least my loss will be amortized over the remaining paychecks of the year. What happened to the other suggestions that were made by the union?

So, OK, the district manages its debt, whatever. The do it by basically making us "agree" to allow them to break all of our contracts instead of the contracts of only 7o some odd people. And it is true that I would not like to see all those people let go. Still, where is the trust? What happens to the relationship between employers and employees? Am I wrong to feel betrayed? I mean, if I have to look at things fairly, when I got married, I moved to Colorado Springs in the middle of the school year, breaking my contract with them. The district did not hesitate to hire me back when we moved back to Cruces. Should I take this in that spirit? I'm having a hard time doing that, as you can tell, since I keep writing about it. Is it time to look for a new job? Where? What about the rest of the family?

Why is it that when things start lining up to go your way, it also seems like they are lining up to get shot down...

Thursday, November 6, 2008


OK, I couldn't stand it any more. I still haven't found the pattern I'm looking for, but I found one for a smaller dragon. I was going to wait for the yarn until I found the pattern, but I couldn't wait any more!

This evening after dinner, Raine and I headed to Hobby Lobby and looked at the yarn. We bought a few skiens. Nothing major, but Raine got to pick a color for her dragon. I thought she would go straight for the red, maybe even go for a flame effect. Nope, she went for blue. A nice royal blue. Then we walked down the aisle some more, took a bathroom break, and returned once more to the yarn display. "You should buy some red, Mama," she advised me. "For what?" "For my OTHER dragon." Hmmmm only one dragon, I told her. But you can change your mind and have red instead of blue if you want. She thought about it and ultimately picked the red, which was very pretty, "because it isn't pink." Then we looked up and down the aisles of Christams decorations, which were pricey even at half price. We practiced looking with our eyes and not our fingers. We had a great trip to Hobby Lobby.

So, why did I break when I did? Well, a friend who also plays with yarn wants to get together (hopefully tomorrow) and craft some together after work. She works where I do, and there may even be some other teachers wanting to join us. I'm really looking forward to it, even though so often Friday after school is a head home sort of time. Well, we are not planning to do it at school, so that will feel relaxing mentally and physically. We can enjoy the crafting, the changing weather and the start of the weekend all at once.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

been a day

Stayed late to work with my group on the class I'm taking. Although the class is rather lame, discussing the idea with this group has really brought me some insights into best practices which I've really liked. The class is a TESOL class, which involves strategies for teaching students who don't speak English as their first language. The class materials themselves are not earthshattering, and indeed are in many ways disappointing. Still, the class was paid for by the district ( who are having problems paying a bunch of their bills - as I mentioned before, what a mess) and I have enjoyed the learning I've done, even if it wasn't necessarily the learning they intended.

The aforementioned budget shortfall has me rethinking my job choices. I mean, how happy can I be with a district which will give me a 2% raise, and then - not only will I probably have to give back at least half of that, I may loose even more. The contracts will be broken, it is just a question of how. So, how can you work for a district, company, whatever that breaks trust with you? hmmm. and, yes, I consider breaking my contract to be breaking my trust. I'm not worried about them changing my assignment, I'm pretty much figuring that is going to happen. I'm OK with that, but taking some of my pay???

Then there are all the programs that the district has been trying to develop (including but not limited to the one I've been working on, a tier 2 intervention, that the state is asking schools to implement). There are many programs that we just aren't going to have the money to pay for now. I think THAT is really what is going to hurt the district for a long time. We aren't meeting AYP, and are on an improvement plan from the state. Almost all of the high schools in the state are, I think. This budget shortfall is not helping us improve ANYTHING. Class sizes are going to increase, pay is going to go down - at least for this year - despite having contracts. People are going to not be replaced if they retire, and others may be shifted from one school to another, even in the middle of the year.

It really doesn't sound good to me, on more levels than just complaining about my personal finances. I think it is going to be more disasterous than even that. Not what I want to contemplate, really, but I can't hardly help but speculate. I just won't do any more right now. Bed I can handle...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

the new president

I think it is about time we had a black president. Now I've said it. Now, it's true. We actually have elected the better man, and yes, I can say "we" because I voted, and I voted for Obama.

There are people who have been so brainwashed by prejudice, and by religious zealots that I have heard rumors that he will start killing jews, and other outrageous claims. I don't understand where these rumors get that foothold. Oh, I understand where they come from, all right, from an eyes-open attempt to deceive and mislead people so that they can be manipulated. I may not like politicians much in general, but I wouldn't believe for a minute in the country of the USA, today, we would elect anyone who had holocaust or genocide on their personal agenda. It is neither socially acceptable, nor politically correct, and politicians, if they want to stay in office, must pay attention to those things.

Anyway, I got new glasses last evening, and my eyes are still adjusting to them, so I'm headachy and tired, and ready to head to bed. Congratulations, America! One small step for man, one giant leap for America.

Monday, November 3, 2008

m night shamalyan

At least I hope I spelled that correctly.

We just got done watching The Happening, his latest movie. OK, so we're slow. Movie theaters, although they tend to have nice air conditioning, often lack comfortable seating. The popcorn and sodas are expensive, and they don't pause the movie when you need to run to the potty. So we have a pretty extensive collection of movies on DVD, including - as of Sunday - The Happening.

The movie was sold in a 2-pack, with the newest version of Planet of the Apes, for about $15. To me, this was not an auspicious beginning. The movie hasn't really been out all THAT long. Still, we like M Night's other movies, and own them, and if one is to be wrong about these things, $15 is not too high a price to pay. Heck, we'll probably even watch Planet of the Apes some day.

So, since we have all been wanting to see it, we plugged it in and fired up the DVD player and sat around in the comfy chairs. Now, for a movie about a lot of people dying, which everyone who has seen even one commercial or trailer for this movie knows is IN the movie, it is not an incredibly violent movie. OK, the everyone is killing themselves scenes are not the easiest parts of a film I've watched, either, but the suggestion of gore is really as effective as the actual fake blood spattering the camera lens is any day. For a "horror" movie, there is a lot more story, and a lot less gore than you might think. I suspect that is why this movie did not do as well as some of his others, in general. The story is a reasonably good one, loosely a romance, with nature as the killer villian... at least, probably... and if you like his movies, you'll probably like this one. If you are looking for non-stop blood curdling death, you probably will be disappointed. If you're not looking for that, you may want to close your eyes now and then...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

typical sunday

Today, pretty much, was a typical Sunday for me. We did loads and loads of laundry. The weekly shopping trip to Sam's. We managed not to eat out. Carl made sweet and sour chicken. From scratch. Even the sauce. Yes, even the sauce. I know because I helped with that part. Ron worked some on the shed he's been trying to put together. I almost emptied out a box of crochet magazines and books. I had to wipe the dust (and other stuff, but we won't think too much about that, la la la) off of them with clorox wipies.

In other words, I did some stuff, not working too hard at any time, but progress got made. That is kind of my favorite way to do household chores, kinda slow and steady, moving a bit from one thing to the next and then back again. Take a little time out to play a game on the computer for a bit, then back to the chores. Raine watched TV until she was watched out, then she put her shoes on and went out to play for a little while. I wonder about her and playing outside. We had no problem going outside to play, but then there were three of us, and we had each other to play with. She's an only and I wonder if that is part of her thing about not wanting to play outside. Maybe we whined and complained more than I remember...

I well, I got up too early, and I'm going to try to get to bed a little early to make my Monday just a little nicer. Hope you all have a good week! Vote on Tuesday!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

daylight savings

Don't forget to change your clocks. It's that time again. Is it just me, or does there seem to be some sort of convergence here? A confluence of energies... Halloween, going off daylight saving time, presidential elections... all rather centered around this weekend. Should I beware what may fall from the sky?

Speaking of the sky, I hope you got to see the moon tonight where you are. It was a little fingernail sliver, and when I saw it, it was on the way to setting. Turning from clear to ruddy as it neared the horizon. Lovely.

We had lovely split pea soup for dinner. Home-made, of course. We got a three-pack of smoked turkey legs at Sam's a few weeks ago. I used one to flavor the soup, and it was very yummy. I think this is a recommendation, in fact. We wanted something that would be pretty easy to put into soups, or to flavor beans or the like when cooking them. So far we used one leg in the split pea soup and another in a batch of black-eyed peas. There really is a good amount of meat on the leg, and not much fat, but the smoke flavor adds a lot of richness. Good for those use less red meat diets. The turkey legs can be put in their own bags in the freezer for easy pull out and pop in the pot-ness.

So, I hope you had a lovely, relaxing Saturday, too.