Wednesday, December 30, 2009

just a few more pictures...

Here are a few more of our Christmas images. Raine has been bothering the cat more than ever, much to the delight of both. Here they are in a mutual admiration conversation.

Before we left for North Carolina, we opened a few gifts at home. Carl gave Raine a very cool ton-ton sleeping bag (as in The Empire Strikes Back). It has a light saber for a zipper pull, a plush head, arm, leg and tail, and the fabric on the interior of the bag looks like intestines. Raine loves it.

We went to see the movie Avatar, which was good. Raine thought the 3D glasses were cool, while I just thought she looked really cute in them.

Finally, we made it home, and flew into El Paso in good weather, spent the evening without a drip of moisture in the air, ignore those clouds, will ya? And in the morning.... winter wonderland.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


While in North Carolina, we went to see the Biltmore house, built and occupied by several generations of Vanderbilts, and now a najor tourist attraction in the area. The house is humongous, a castle, really. There is a sweeping circular staircase that rises four floors (or was it five?) THere were numerous bedrooms, each spacious enough to have its own Christmas tree. There was a banquet hall with three fireplaces, each large enough to stand in. That room had a two story Christmas tree in it, with gift boxes as part of the ornamentation. They were the right scale. It was an amazing house to see, and imagine living and/or working there. They had several of the staff bedrooms on display as well as pantries and kitchen areas.

They don't want you to take pictures inside, though, so I didn't. They also do a portrait which they sell. One outside by the front door, and one inside. Both came out well, but I Ron's mom has them, and I doubt they would be happy if I posted them anyway. So I took some outside, on the main lawn, which was snow covered and picture pretty. Ron wanted some pictures of trees, too, so I took a few with the snow in them.

I don't know what it cost to get it, but it was beautiful. The grounds are lovely in the winter, and I'm sure they are only better in the summer. You can walk through them on paths, and I'm sure that would be an outing in itself.

Monday, December 28, 2009

return and report

We made it back from North Carolina. The trip was very nice and we had a great visit with the grandparents and I'm very glad we did it. I'm really glad to be home, as well. Fran suggested a couple of picture blogs, and I'm glad to oblige. Today I'll do some of the general pictures, with captions...more or less.

We had sort of a white Christmas, as it had snowed the Friday before we got to North Carolina. The first picture is of the woods that surround Ron's parents' "front yard." Ron misses those trees still.

We went to the science center and aquarium where we got to actively explore a lot of science and math concepts. We also got to watch their small collection of sharks and stingrays get fed, and even touch a shark (hey, I was too busy touching to take pictures). Raine got her hair trimmed that evening, and even let the stylist use the curling iron on her for the first time!

Finally, Raine enjoyed painting this year, she started with some ornaments that Nana had gotten, then went on to Christmas creatures. Finally, she and Poppop painted piggy banks for each other.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

the big eve

So here it is, Christmas Eve day. One of the most anticipated days of the year for those under the age of... 20? Well, Raine, at least, has been looking forward to Christmas Eve for a while, now. Of course we have some anxiety... Will Santa find her here in NC? (some of her gifts are here, but her bike stayed in NM) Will she get what she has asked for? (the jury is still out on this one...)

Last year, her most asked for toy was Spike the dinosaur, a huge rc dinosaur (costing $130 or so) that we figured she would play with for a couple of hours, then would take up space in her already crowded bedroom. She didn't get him, and she seemed really happy with the gifts she did get. This year, much to my surprise, the only item on her list to Santa was... Spike. Now, not only do the previous considerations still apply, but she is also a year older, and Spike is really getting out of her age range. BUT he is what she is asking for. The parents' dilemma once again.

Santa will not be leaving Spike under the tree, but I think he will be leaving Raine a note. She plays and plays with her bionicles, so, she will get to see an equivalent amount of bionicles and get to choose between them. Then - whatever she chooses - it IS her choice, and she should be happy with it.

Still, I keep thinking of the Christmas that I got what I really, really wanted, and yet, it was one of the most disappointing Christmas gifts ever... Is this when she's going to learn the lesson of being careful what you wish for?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

the really rich

Yesterday, as part of our Christmas holiday visit, Raine and I went with Ron's family to the Biltmore Mansion in Asheville, NC. Oh My Goodness. The grounds surrounding the mansion are amazing, even before you get to the castle... uh, house. We walked through the restored rooms like the library, the dining room and the conservatory, up the grand staircase to some of the fimly and guest bedrooms (each with its own Christmas tree and fireplace) through the servant's rooms (pretty nice accomadations on their own, really) and down to the basement for the gym, bowling alley and swimming pool, then back up the the kitchens (and the kitchen servant's rooms) with about 5 pantries, and a walk in refridgerator. Then out front to the snowy front lawn area. The ground were beautiful. The views from the house were amazing. The conservatorship has been well done, and is admirable. The grounds must be lovely to walk/hike through although we took a pass on it yesterday through the snow. They had lost a number of trees to the weather, but clean-up had begun already. It was a good day. Interesting to see how some of the "other half" lived. It would be cool to have seen it in full operation, with staff and all, but not even the Vanderbilts can afford to keep the house up these days...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I wish you...

A Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Blessed Yule... whichever sentiment matches your mood and/or beliefs.

I'm leaving tomorrow on a plane to North Carolina, and hopefully a little snow. I'm taking Raine to visit with her Grandparents for Christmas. We'll get to do some fun stuff, like visit the Biltmore House, which I'm really looking forward to, and maybe get some good bar-be-que while are there.

I'm not sure what the computer options will be, or how much opportunity I will have for blogging while I'm gone, so, don't miss me too much while you are waiting for Santa to arrive. I'll be keeping busy, and have pictures and thoughts to share on my return.

Friday, December 18, 2009

favorite card

I'm going to share my favorite Christmas card of the season with you all. It was hand made by Raine, and as you all know, I'm an annoyingly proud Mama. Oh well.

The first image is the cover of the card, and I bet I'm one of the few people who has a Christmas card complete with an evil laugh. The next is - of course - the interior.

Merry Christmas to you, too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

shopping talent

It may be a good thing for my budget, but I have limited talent and patience for shopping online. On the one hand there is so much out there! On the other hand, there is so much out there. Sometimes just thinking of something I might want to shop for, narrowing the possibilities, is overwhelming. I've been trying to think of a very cool gift for Raine this year, thinking I could shop online and... and.... and it just is too much. I don't even know where to start.

My other problem is that while you look at a picture of the item, and most often read a description, that really doesn't satisfy my shopping needs. I want to look at it up close. Pick it up and feel the heft, turn it around or upside down. Shopping should be visceral for me. All those pictures are more like looking at a long slide show of someone else's vacation. Even if they went somewhere you really want to go, their photos don't trigger the emotional/sensory memories for you that they do for them. Sigh.

Carl and Ron are wonderful online shoppers, Carl especially can find the coolest stuff to order. So I know it CAN be done. It can. Hmmm maybe when the 3-d comes? It will you know, but it still won't be tactile. Think they'll ever get that one done?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

green chile enchiladas

Carl made some tonight. They were soooo yummy. You're gonna want these, Fran and Lillian (yeah, I know, like you didn't as soon as I mentioned them).

He's been working on his cheesy sauce, and man, were they good. We had our cousins over, and there were many plates scraped clean with a fork, and would have been licked had it not been for "company" manners. I bet you thought we might not have any...

Anyway, I'm not above teasing you with them. Anything to encourage you to make your way this direction sooner.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

all about

...the end of the semester. I'm getting my ducks all lined up and ready to roll. Tomorrow is the first half-day of testing. The kids who would do it, wrote the essay part of their exam today. I have a few grades to enter into the computer, and about 10 pieces of make-up work (OK, maybe 15) to grade and enter... Scantrons for the tests tomorrow and Thursday. I should be able to have my grades in and complete by Thursday, which is good because that is what the administration would like. (oh, don't notice me rolling my eyes, here. Its a good thing you don't have visuals.)

Friday will be a short day of turning in stuff, and a (hopefully) quick meeting. OR jury duty, which-ever. Then, the stress will be over for the semester. Winter break will begin. Two weeks of shopping, traveling, visiting and no school.

Try not to hate me for my vacations. I have to work with 9th graders. I need all the sanity I can get. I like 'em, but they drive me bonkers, sometimes. (repeat after me.... better than 6th graders, better than 6th graders..... OK better now).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas spirit

Fran wrote her post the other day on how she just wasn't feeling the holiday spirit this year. Fran, I'm with ya. I don't know what it is, really. We have a kid in the house, who is very excited about Christmas. She came home one afternoon with very important news, "Mama, do you know that Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is on tonight?" Of course we found it and watched it. We've been pulling out our assortment of holiday movies to watch, as well.

There have been many years that I have enjoyed planning for Christmas decorating, and creating some crafts for the season. This year, not so much. Oh, sure, I got fabric for rocking horses, and Roxanne and Tennie and I worked on them like crazy for the past couple of weeks... but usually I'm thinking and planning and creating in August, September, etc.While I was at Roxanne's, Landon pulled out the dragon I crocheted last year. I thought, wow, has it already been a year since I made those? What happened to me this year?

We did decorate this year, finally. The tree is up, and pretty. (picute included) We added a couple of strings of read lights to the white pre-lit stuff, and then pulled out a lot of red and white ornaments (along with whatever struck Raine's fancy of course. She did a lot of the decorating this year, and did a great job of it too. Ron hung lights along the eaves, for the first time in several years, and the house looks festive, now, too.

Raine and I will be traveling this year, for Christmas, and since Ron won't be able to go, I know I'll miss him. Christmas will be kind of spread all over the place this year, some here, some in North Carolina. I'm trying to get psyched up for it, I really am. Maybe once school gets out, and the end of the semester pressure is off, I'll feel more of the spirit. I hope so.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Yep, there's space, all right. I'm staring right at it. Again. Some more.

It's that time of the year when my brain is pretty much fried: the week before finals. OK, I'm going to be giving semester exams, because my students will be returning to me next semester, but still. We all try to hold out to the end, but sometimes, they're done, I'm done, everybody is done. I kinda think that this is one of those years.

It hasn't been an easy semester for me, the learning curve has been high, and the patience required has been off the scale. Still, I'm encouraged that next semester is looking better. In fact, I'm looking forward to it. Although the students will be the same, my co-teacher is changing. I'll take a fresh start of almost any flavor at this point, and run with it. I get the feeling she will too.

For those of you who know her, Alicyn Green-Wall (also known as Mistress Toragana) will be working with me next semester. Yeah, I think it will be good. And yeah, I know, I spelled one - if not two - of her names incorrectly. Sigh.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

not reading

I'm not reading enough. You would think - as an English teacher and all - I would read, read read. I LOVE to read. My daughter will even leave me alone long enough to let me read these days. So, what's the hold up? It isn't like my to-read list has gotten any shorter... although I may have kind of mis-placed it.

What is the problem, then? Its a vision issue. Its not a new vision issue, though. I don't think my glasses have suddenly gone south or anything, even though it may be time for a new pair. Its that age-related vision issue, the one that makes you need multiple prescriptions. You know, bifocals, trifocals, etc. and with my eyes, at least one lens is really thick. There seems to be a "sweet spot" where I can actually read easily... IF I can find it and keep it. It isn't a very big spot.

So I've been re-thinking my general glasses policy (one pair). I'm wondering if a near/middle distance pair that I could read or cross stitch with, then watch a little TV with would be possible. Then, perhaps a middle/far distance pair for driving, and general active/outside activities. I'm wondering if having the transition between 2 prescriptions would be more useful and usable that the transition between 3 is.

Any one have any experience with this? Anyone?

Monday, December 7, 2009

another serger milestone

I didn't even blog about sewing over the weekend. I felt the lack, so here goes.

After serging the edges on many fleece blankets for Christmas gifts (and I have to say, I think they are a fabulous gift), my machine was rather full of fluff. When I changed thread this last time, it wasn't sewing right. I thought, well, I've messed up with the threading, and/or this fuzzy stuff is wrecking havok.

First things, first, I cleaned the machine with little brushes, and canned air and more canned air, and then I swept. yikes. Then, I tried rethreading. Then I ran a test seam. Then I threaded it again. I found the instruction manual, and used that as well. (even). Still, one of the loopers was very loose.I could figure out which one, but still didn't effect much of a change, no matter what I tried. I gave the whole thing a rest for a few days, not wanting to get too frustrated, and to give myself time for ideas to percolate.

Sunday, I worked on it some more. I could tell it was a tension problem, so I made sure that looper went properly around the little tension knobby. Then for good measure, I checked the other threads and their tensions. I noticed that there were a couple of oil points where I had been opening and closing a cover, so I dripped a drop of oil on them. When I tried my test seam that time, it went just fine. I edged the blankets I had waiting on that serger for a couple more gifts.

I felt quite happy that I had worked patiently and diligently enought to solve the problem that the machine was having. They all do at one time or another, and the more I understand about them, the better I will be at using them. I felt like I crossed another serging milestone. Yeah, I still need to check the instruction booklet to make sure I get it all threaded correctly, but I diagnosed and problem solved and got the machine going again. I didn't let that be a reason to push the machine off to the side and not use it for six months or so. I felt like patting myself on the back. I called Roxanne, so she could pat me on the back, too.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

new post

So, as you can tell, my imagination has been running in the other direction. Ha.

Raine lost another tooth Saturday evening. Not as much trauma this time as the first, so, not as much problem. We couldn't fine her litle tooth box for the tooth fairy, but we found a plastic easter egg, and it worked out just as well. What is it about that gap-toothed smile on a kid that is just cute? Maybe it is - in part - our understanding that it is part of that growing up process, but it still means their kids.

Fran you'll be glad to know that I'm still working on my novel. Most of its going on in my head at the moment... but its forming into something. Something good, and complete - I hope. And something worth reading all of, as well. But its nothing you can look at, yet.

All in all, the weekend was probably more relaxing than it had any right to be. And I relaxed more than I probably should have. I have way too many papers to grade, still. Sigh. My wish is for a good week coming up this week, and for the sanity to persist as the holidays approach.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

i wish

I wish I had a great idea for a post this evening. I'm just kinda out of energy and out of ideas. Not complaining, about it, mind you, just am.

I enjoyed reading a bookseller's - used books - blog this morning. He had listed a good many "fail" conversations with people who had asked him questions at his store. Fran, I'm sure you've had a good many of these conversations yourself, or very similar. I take away some amusement, of course, and a sad feeling inside for the people who just. don't. read. I have three classrooms of them this year, and it is something I absorb (because I find it hard to believe on such a basic personal level) a little at a time, and I can help but feel that one limits oneself making that life choice. At any rate, here is the link, if you are interested:

I mentioned in an earlier post that while in Colorado, the frequency of snow gave me pause. Well, it is snowing again, here. It is rather sleety this time, and was blowing around and not sticking to anything, so I can't imagine it will amount to much, but still, twice in one week is pretty amazing. If I were a skier, I'd be ecstatic, but I'm way too uncoordinated and fat. Still, winter is definitely coming this year.

And, above all, its almost Friday...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

well, do I?

For the months of November, December and January, I'm serving in the local Pettit jury pool. That means about once a week I have the possibility of needing to go into court to see if I'm going to serve on a jury. Monday was one of those days, no problem, I didn't need to go in. Tomorrow is one of those days, too. Problem. (well, of course or I wouldn't be writing about it, would I...)

See, here's the deal. You call into their message phone the night before your assigned day and listen to the message so you know whether or not you need to show up, and what courtroom, and what time. Only this evening when I called, the message was for today. Yeah, the one that people yesterday needed. It says no one is needed. For today. As in Wednesday, December 2nd.

So, I ask myself and those around me, does that mean I don't need to go in tomorrow? Could they possibly have said the wrong day and time? (I mean it is only part of their job, getting these messages right) Argh. Then, the question is, do I just go in to work, call from there and maybe have to drive back into town right away? Do I hang out at home until the courts open so I can find out whether I need to go or not, then I'm late to work (although I've left a message with the principal about what happened all ready, and they have me down for a sub). What time does that court open anyway?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

not so much

I enjoyed our little nod to snow... and our 2 hour delayed start to school.

This evening, however, I feel cranky, achey, and cold, cold, cold. That's just not like me, so I'm heading to the shower to get warmed up, and to bed under the quilt to stay that way.

Monday, November 30, 2009


The end of the semester is fast approaching, and I need to give my students a mid-term. Before I give it, though, I have to design it. Sometime in between grading all those papers I brought home and since the gradebook is online now, the principals can tell at a glance when you're behind with your grading. Still, it sounds like work, doesn't it... Well, no place for that here right now.

Well, unless you count wishing for snow as work. Of course we wish for it, we don't get it every year. I think we had some about 3 years ago. Since we don't have to deal with it all winter long, it becomes something to wish for instead of something to dread. When I lived in Colorado when Ron and I first got married, I remember how weird it was that first winter, when we got snow about every 7-10 days. I mean, there was already snow, and here we were, getting more! What was up with that? We also dealt with a blizzard while we lived in Denver, so having those experiences under my belt have confirmed that I think snow is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there... except it can - occasionally - come and visit me, too... as long as I get the day off when it does.

So, I saw a few flurries today, but nothing that actually stuck to anything. We'll see what happens over night.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

weather report

Well, it started raining off and on Saturday afternoon, and its still with us. Nothing steady, just kind of off and on, with occasional heavy. It pauses long enough for at least some of it to soak in, and it has been just lovely. Really giving that "beginning of winter" feeling.

And yes, we do actually have a possibility of snow. Not so much for tonight, but through the day tomorrow, and into Tuesday. Cool, huh. I love those days where it starts to get snowy in the afternoon, and you know it's going to come down all night long. Magic, here in New Mexico. It makes us dream of snow days, and just being home, and playing outside, and drinking hot chocolate. Oh, yeah, magic.

So, here's to a little dream of magic. A nice end to a holiday weekend, that was a pretty nice little holiday. I might put the quilt on the bed, even, just because.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

saturday sewing production line

Well, we edged a lot of fleece to make blankets/throws for gifts. I think there were 15, and I have 2 more to do. We decided to make stuffed rocking horses, as well. About a dozen of them. While they are not in and of themselves difficult, we noticed - after we had done (or thought we had) all the cutting out, leaving tiny scraps - that one of the pieces was missing. An important piece. Sigh. So, off to the idea place, and we come up with a solution...

We got an extra sewing day in this week, thanks to Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful way to mostly avoid black Friday. We'll need it to get these projects done, I think, and some extra hands as well... Still, we got started on construction today, even if it was prep construction. There will be a lot of stuffing involved, and some hand sewing as well, even if it isn't a ton on each one, doing it a dozen times tends to add up.

I think the last time I made these, I kept the proto-type, because it was... well... proto-type-y, and they got better after that. Just keep saying, "they'll turn out fine, they'll turn out fine..."

I think we'll both be happy when the holiday sewing is done this year, and I'll bet we start it earlier next year...

Friday, November 27, 2009

feeling the love

We had a nice time visiting with our cousins for Thanksgiving. The food was good, and not too stressful. Almost everything had been done ahead, and so no one had to work too hard. We really got to visit. We could tell that Bob and Louise were really happy to have us, too.

One of the things that really stood out to me, was that after dinner, one of Louise's friends popped in. She came over just so she could meet Carl and I. She said after 32 years of hearing all about us, she wanted to meet us. How sweet is that? How cool? She came in and gave me a hug like she'd known me forever, and asked me "what are you working on?" She and Louise craft together, and she's seen the many things I've made and given to Louise over the years. When I told her that Roxanne and I were making stuffed rocking horses for Christmas gifts, she was happy, and moved on to meet Carl.

She didn't stay but a few minutes, but what a cool thing! Made me feel all warm and loved. Just what you need for a perfect Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ready set go

Today we (mostly Carl) smoked our turkey. The bird smells wonderful, and looks great, but still needs a couple hours in the oven to cook all the way through. Still, its ready to go in the car to Alamogordo. So is the dressing, which went together pretty well, also. There is broth for gravy, although NOT giblet gravy. That just leaves the green beans, which will be simmered at Bob & Louise's.

I think that makes us ready for Thanksgiving, tomorrow. Are you ready? I think this is actually one of the less stressful Thanksgiving holidays we've had for a while. I love family get togethers, and those with friends, as well, but I am not the perfect party hostess. Casual is much more my style. I'm out to enjoy, not impress. I think we've achieved that this year, and going to visit Bob and Louise just feels... right.

So up and at 'em tomorrow morning. We don't even have to be that early. But we'll go, and enjoy. Hope you can do the same!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

cross stitching

I love cross stitching, and I've made quite a few projects, big and small. I even inhereted some cross stitching supplies and unfinished projects from my friend Lou, who knew we shared enjoyment of the craft.

The last time I worked on cross stitch was when we were remodeling our house... right after I got my first pair of multifocal glasses. Most of the time, I had to take the glasses off to see what I was doing, and then put them back on to see anything else. Rather annoying. I also needed lots of light. and got a project light as a gift. I ended up putting that project aside - besides the vision issues, there were also "mistake" issues.

I'm not sure that it is a good idea for a person to try to finish a project someone else began. I can cover my own mistakes pretty well... but combining my mistakes with hers, well, things begin to compound, or cascade or something. You wouldn't think they would, necessarily, but they do. eventually, I'll probably finish that project, because there really isn't that much more to do. Others, not so sure about.... but that is something for another day.

Back to my idea at hand. Somewhere along the line, I made quite a few cross stitched Christmas ornaments on perferated paper. They turned out well, and each went pretty quickly. I'm thinking that may be the perfect thing to try cross stitch with again. I'll get to try out my project light, even.

Raine and I can be doing similar types of projects, too. She is doing quite will with the plastic canvas project, too. It is coming along nicely.

As for the glasses issue... I know I could get a pair of reading glasses... but I don't like switching. Still, if I could get a pair that was reading, and middle distance, one that I didn't have to contually search for the "sweet spot" for close work, I might enjoy it more.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Its time for those Thanksgiving plans to be firming up, isn't it. Who's hosting the feast? Who's making the turkey. Maybe even more important, who's making the stuffing/dressing?

In our continuing bid to reach out to family, and not just retire to our own little world, we are going to Alamogordo to visit some cousins for Thanksgiving. Wednesday, we'll be smoking our turkey, and doing most of our part of the cooking, and then taking it all with us when we go.

It didn't seem like a difficult choice of plan, really, once it got thought of. Bob and Louise have spent many a holiday dinner with us at our parent's house. It almost doesn't seem like the holiday is complete without them. Still, they are older now, and it isn't as easy as it used to be for them to hop in the car and head on over. They were very pleased for us to suggest hopping in the car ourselves, however. The nicest thing is that while I'm sure the dinner will be yummy, and we'll all stuff ourselves too full, the dinner really isn't the important thing. We could have sandwiches, or cereal, and be happy to visit for a while.

When you're lucky, THAT'S what a holiday is about...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Ron and I had our ninth anniversary yesterday. I had to check in my ring. We had them engraved with the date, which is good, otherwise our anniversary would always be the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to me. I would say that we celebrated, but really, we just did our regular Saturday stuff. I think we'll probably save it until after payday, and then go have dinner at the Japanese Kitchen again. Still, we remembered it, and marked it with each other.

Although our marriage is not without flaws, because people are not without flaws, I think Ron and I are well suited to each other. There are moments when I can't believe we have been together for 9 whole years, and I still feel like we are newly-weds. At other moments, our relationship seems timeless, like its just always been that way. Both kinds of moments are nice.

I certainly am glad he is a part of my life, just as I'm happy we have Raine. I lived a long time on my own, but I can't imagine doing it now, without them.

Happy anniversary, Ron. Many more to come.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

just like a kid

Well, the weather has cooled off, the leaves are dropping, and the heater has been running. Raine rediscovered her bathrobe this week, so she's been enjoying wearing it. She's enjoying it so much that she is finding her lightest pajamas to wear, so she'll need to warm up by wearing her robe. Isn't that just like a kid? At least the ones I ever knew. She even wants to wear it in bed, to sleep in, but that is where I'm drawing the line. She has plenty of warm covers, and plenty of warm pajamas, of course. She doesn't need to wear it to bed. Of course that is MY definition of need vs. HER definition of need. Still, I don't think either of us needs to fight with long tails or ties when I'm taking her to the bathroom before I go to bed, and she's basically sleepwalking in there.

So, she can wear it for a short while in the morning, and over her clothes or pajamas in the evening, and enjoy it, and get some wear out of it, before she grows out of it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

doing this

I'm sitting here, at the computer, getting through my begin-to-blog routines (just have to look at cake wrecks, first) and wondering what the heck I'm going to write about. Should I not write? Well?

But this is my procrastination tactic so I won't have to grade a few more papers... no, I must blog. Can not grade.

Still do not have topic...

Stayed late at work so a couple of students could catch up on some work. Got some work done myself, but not all that needed doing, of course. So I really, really don't want to do any more grading... Hmmm. Wait, is that something shiney?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

crafty-ness passed forward

So, I was looking in one of my Christmas craft books, thinking it might be time to cross stitch some Christmas ornaments, when I cam across a cute kitty holding a mouse by the tail done in plastic canvas. Yeah, the stuff everyone insists on making a cover for their tissue box with. Well, this one hangs from a door knob and stays away from the tissue, and I thought it might be the perfect craft for Raine.

I checked it out with her, to see if she was interested, and she was. Off we went to Hobby Lobby for some plastic canvas and some blunt plastic needles. Tonight i cut out the little mouse body, and she got started filling it in. It is going to take some practice, but the pieces aren't too large, and she is doing well, so far. Even a bit excited to be taking it on.

If she gets the kitty done, she plans to make a creature for Ezekiel. I don't know why not. I hope her grandparents enjoy her efforts. I think they will...

I hope this is her first steps in a lifetime of loving to make things.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Today was a beautiful fall day here in New Mexico, the likes of which we don't often get. The sky was clear, the air was crisp, the leaves on the trees turning to yellow (at least in our yard).

Oh sure we had a cold snap in October, but then temperatures climbed nearly into the 80's again. This time, I think fall means it. It has been a treat this year to watch the leaves turn. It seems like every autumn in recent memory, they've been green until the frost, and then they all fall out of the tree the next day. It is weird to experience that leafy shower, instead of the gradual approach, letting us get used to the idea of winter, and naked trees.

A breeze kicked up this afternoon, and I noticed more leaves in the yard than had been there before, so I suspect they aren't long in the trees at this point. Still, ahhh... autumn.

sewing report

We got Roxanne's dress finished, and she was very happy with it. I don't have a photo to share, because - of course - I forgot to take my camera. I'll get a photo, though, and share when I can. It was definitely a project that had a learning curve included, and that was good as well. The other project for today were some Christmas presents. I serged around the edges of nine pieces of fleece for blankets/throws. They will be snuggley and soft and cozy, and a pretty easy gift that is nice for the price. There was lots of fuzzy stuff in the air... fna - as Lou would have called it - or maybe phna. Anyway, not bad for an afternoon.

I'm reaching a landmark, by the way, with the serger. I've almost used up one of the cones of thread that I got with the machine. (some of the lines use more thread than others) I started off with only basic white and dark thread... and I know my collection will be growing soon, and more as I find the good stuff on sale.

I also got to thank my friend Cindy, who got the machine for me, encouraged me to use it, and told me ( more than once) that I would really like using it. She was right, of course, and I knew she was, but still, I had to get there at my own speed. I let her know that I finally DID get there, and that she could even tell me "I told you so..." (although she was too nice to actually say it).

My next goal with it? Well, after holiday sewing anyway... is to practice some of the embellishment techniques I've been reading about. Hmmm maybe I should practice rolled hems next, and get brave enough to change the settings and all...

Friday, November 13, 2009


Applebee's did a nice thing this week, feeding active duty military for free for Veteran's day (if I have my facts remembered correctly). I'm sure it brought them business that amply made up for that generosity, and indeed, we were willing to support them, for their support of Veterans.

Except... that it was Friday. And busy. Now, the item on my to-do list is to consider when I'll be going back. It won't be soon, and it certainly won't be on a Friday. The service was slow. I mean, I understand busy can contribute to somewhat slow service, but the wait we had between being seated, and ordering even drinks, well, it was way too long. Our server seemed a little new to the job, and hopefully he will improve with time and experience. The food, though, was about the worst I've gotten at any Applebee's. I consider a chain like that to have a dependable if not stellar cast of entrees, but not tonight.

I ordered the chicken and penne bowl, with a side salad. Ron had a rueben. Raine had mac & cheese, and probably got the best of all of us (I mean, how bad does it have to get to mess up Kraft Mac & Cheese?) The server forgot my salad, and we had to remind him when he brought the entrees. The chicken was skimpy, the noodles overdone and the alfredo was somehow... off. Ron's sandwich looked good, but he said it was soggy on the bottom and the corned beef wasn't very corned... The best thing was the salad... the one that almost didn't get there.

When the bill came... and the server had to go for it twice... the salad wasn't even on it. Now usually, I will point out something like that, even when it means I'll pay more. Tonight, however, I didn't. (although I did mention the irony to Ron that the best plate of food on the table was the one that wasn't on the bill) The server didn't even ask about the quality of the meal, and the manager, who is usually asking at each table about customer satisfaction, was nowhere to be seen. I just paid what the ticket said. Well, I did leave a tip for the server... he'll probably get better.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

oh my head

So, I've been on Enalapril for about a month now... and I've had this nagging headache. Yeah. I put the two together, and looked up the side effects, and yes, headache is one of them. Its not always bad, but sometimes it just pounds. Then of course when I'm tired, like now, its not fun. My eyes don't want to focus. I just want to sleep.

I also read that this drug can dehydrate you. Well, I take a diuretic - also for the high blood pressure - and well, I went and got a big glass of water to drink before bed, hoping that will help some.

I'm kind of disappointed that I'm having this side effect, because I do want my blood pressure to be under control. I also understand that this drug help prevent the kidney damage that might occur as a diabetic. hmmm I hope there is something equivatlent to try.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

it was

...a good day. Well, mostly. Raine and I had a nice day. She did her homework and her chores. Then I took her and her friend to the park for a while, then they played here, and even made some aliens with Martian Matter. (that stuff is weird, by the way, but they enjoy it)

Nice to have a hopeful cast to Raine's behavior this week, after many weeks of not so good, especially last week. BUT we got the consequences - both good and bad - written down so all would know them, and we could be more consistent. I'm not fooling myself that everything is fine, now, more like keeping my fingers crossed that we'll have a whole week of good behavior at school. Still I know she is one who must test the boundaries.

So, I'm hoping she'll get to play Spore, again, and so is she... and if not this weekend, maybe next.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

midweek holiday

It something that doesn't come along too often, really. I'm willing to stay away from work for it, though. Well, all right, I brought some work home with me, but I don't have to go anywhere to do it...

I thought about staying up a little late, but then started nodding off, so I think I won't. Besides, since she doesn't have to get up, Raine will be up bright and early in the morning.

So, to Ron, Lillian, and Mom, and all the other veterans past present and future, thanks for serving our country. Thanks for being willing to take on what others could not or would not. Thank you for enduring hardship and boredom for those moments of accomplishment, bedlam and glory. Thank you for putting your life on the line if needed, for following orders, for questioning orders, for being the strength of the nation that I choose to live in. Thank you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

thank you fran

For putting up with a little insistent weirdness from me today. Not only putting up with it, but doing so with grace and tact on a what could be a loaded topic.

I think complementing people on a job well done is important. Sometimes it's the only pay they get for it. Being put in an awkward position doesn't take much talent or grace, but getting out of it gracefully can be magic.

Thank you for a little reassurance and magic.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

busy day, good eatin'

So, it was a busy day, today, what with the Ren Fair, shopping, more shopping... more shopping... and then dinner. With the usual chores thrown in for grins.

The Ren Fair was nice. Beautiful day for it, not too crowded, but definitely not empty. Raine and I enjoyed ourselves, got a few goodies, talked to a few friends, and Raine even got to take a canoe ride around the park pond. The Arts Council made a few changes, and I think they were for the good.

Shopping, shopping, shopping... picked up a new small spatula to deal with eggs in the morning. Got a couple of new patterns, and some fabric for a top for Ron's mom. And then we went to a new restaurant here in town. It's called Japanese Kitchen, and well... yum. We had heard commercials for it and had been talking about going. We weren't even sure exactly where it was, or whether it would be open on Sunday, but we found it, and it was. There weren't many people there, and the servers needed practice, but the food!!! mmmm. We decided the best thing was to order a variety and then just share what we ordered, so we got a chef's mix of sushi (yes, the real stuff), a combination plate of california/sushi rolls, some tempura vegetables and shrimp, and a bowl of Udon noodles with chicken. It was just the right choice!

The sushi plater was a boat, which just delighted Raine, and she enjoyed some shrimp sushi. We asked what each fish was, and the chef was happy to come tell us. Carl found out that the mackeral was one he particularly enjoyed. I got the tuna, and some crab, and they were good. The sushi rolls were also tasty. Although we expected Raine to be happy with chicken and Udon noodles, she tried the tuna roll, and pretty much just ate the whole thing. The tempura batter was light and crisp. I got some bell pepper, and it was fabulous. There was also some sweet potato (one of my favorite ways to have sweet potato, I think) and zuccini, along with shrimp. The bowl of noodles was very generous (I'm not positive we finished it) and the noodles and the vegetables were delicious. The chicken was cut into real bite sized pieces, and not just tiny bits disappearing into the broth. Of course, it was not cheap, but for the formality of the restaurant, I think we got good value for our money, and this is a great place for a fancy night out in Las Cruces. We'll go back, for sure.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

roxanne's dress

Roxanne got inspired by a picture in a catalog, and she wanted a dress. She had some fabric that she loved, and we went to the store, and she picked out some other to go with it. The dress has a kind of modified halter bodice, which we modified for modesty, and kept the elements that provided shape. We got the bodice constructed today, except for the zipper. The one she had wasn't long enough, we decided. Then, as we were adding tiers of gathered fabric for the skirt, we discovered that we had gotten the top two tiers in the wrong order. And of course, by then the tier that we had first was firmly ensconced in the waistband, not to be ripped apart... at least not by either of us. Well, we decided that the tier that should have been there could benefit from more fabric, which would then give allow it to be gathered to the tier that will now be above it, and that would be better anyway. So there.

One of the things that I love about sewing with Roxanne, is that we are not afraid, nor devastated by our mistakes. We decided when we started that if something didn't come out right, we would not be upset (disappointed maybe if we couldn't fix it to our liking, but... ). Instead we have used our creativity to try and figure out fixes for things, and then if we just don't like what was created, we donate it, if its wearable, and move on. That gives us some creative license that we might not have allowed ourselves otherwise. Giving ourselves permission to make mistakes, and move on also gives us the freedom to really create and innovate. It also lets us make the mistakes and learn from them. Just like we're learning from making this dress. (well, yeah, and a few other things too) Still I think it was a cosmic plan, since I forgot to take my camera and couldn't have taken a picture of the finished dress, anyway. So, we couldn't finish it.

Yeah, that's my story and I'm sticking to it...

Friday, November 6, 2009

weekend plans

The weekend has arrived. Whew. Not a moment too soon. I have papers to grade, and grades to put into the computer grade book, but...

Roxanne's for sewing tomorrow. I'm looking forward to a little sewing therapy. I found a book in my library of serger techniques that I'm taking over there for Roxanne to peruse. It has some way cool ideas about using the serger for all kinds of fancy schmancy sewing. It will take practice, but, wow. One of the things on our to do soon list is work on some embellishment, and here are some ideas and starting points.

The Ren Fair is this weekend, as well. Although there have been many years where I dressed up and helped provide ambiance at our local Ren Fair, this year will not be one of those. That doesn't stop me from taking a few hours to stroll around and admire the beautiful hand crafted items that abound. Maybe - if we're lucky - get a little Christmas shopping done as well.

Then... its work again on Monday. But let's not think about that now.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Yesterday was rough, but today is better. I'm still cranky, but at a different level than before. It's also nearing the weekend, and my students only have a half-day tomorrow, and since its homecoming, there will be a rally for the last hour of that. Yeah. weekend.

Monday, November 2, 2009


I have it. Bad. This is a challenging year at school. I really like to teach, but I'm not getting much chance at it this year. I'm an optimist, really, and I keep hoping, but it's difficult to wade through all the discipline issues. Constant.

So, there's a level of frustration. And yeah, it would help to "talk about it." At least some. I know there are ears that would listen sympathetically, at least on occasion. I know that they are there, and I have taken advantage of some of them. Really. But the person that I would really like to be able to talk to about it - and a lot more stuff - really isn't listening. Not that the person wouldn't listen, but... well, there's some avoidance going on, and I'm not insistent. I mean there are times when making someone do something looses the intent.

Anyway, tonight, I'm not a happy person. Thank goodness that tomorrow can be a new day.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

sunday sewing

Since we didn't get together yesterday, it being Halloween and all, Roxanne and I worked on her dress for a while today. Its got several tiers to gather for a skirt, and we got the string in those, ready to pin each tier to the next. I also got the bodice basically constructed. Next week we get the whole thing put together, and I'll get pictures. Then we're on to our next projects. We're gearing up for some Christmas goodies. (I know, what a shock...)

In the mean-time, I did work a little on Ron's coat on Saturday. Its close to being finished, although it still needs a little handwork and a lot of button holes. Still, I got Ron to model it for a few pictures. Aren't you the lucky readers...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

happy halloween

Yes, it was. Raine got to wear her bionicle costume. It wasn't as cold as it had been for a good part of the week, but once the sun went down, it probably felt pretty good. We visited a Halloween "party" sponsored by some local radio stations, and Raine and Ezekiel got to show off their bionicle costumes, and score a little candy. Later, Ezekiel came by our house (with his folks) and they joined Ron and Raine on a trip around the neighborhood. Raine really enjoyed handing out candy at our house, as well.

I really enjoy Halloween in our neighborhood. There are quite a few young kids, and they are really cute when they come trick or treating. Not every house gives out candy, but quite a few do. Enough to give the kids plenty of candy. Thats for sure. Most of the kids we saw were elementary aged, and we gave out almost all the candy we bought. With the young crowd like that, the trick or treating is pretty much done by 8, and that's pretty much to my liking as well.

Oh, yeah, and don't forget to set your clocks back if you are in an area that changes to and from Daylight Savings Time.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I must be getting old

Yesterday, as I was walking home from taking Raine to school, in the first really cold weather we've had this year, huddling in my jacket, and glad that I had gloves on, one of my neighbors walked out to get something from his truck wearing a pair of shorts. No shirt, no shoes - not even socks, just shorts. He is pleasantly built, being all buff for his fireman job, but that was not what went through my mind at that moment. What I did think was, man, that just makes me cold to see.

I almost said something of the sort to him, as I walked by, but then - being shy, and not on a speaking basis with the man - I refrained. Then, I thought, he might be kind of hurt... some old fat lady walks by him with his pretty biceps and all, and all she can say is something like, seeing you out here like that just makes me cold. I'm sure that isn't why he works out. I'm sure he would much rather think about making the ladies hot, not cold (even if they aren't desirable ladies).

So, then, I was both glad I had not said anything to him, not wanting him to be hurt by it, and not knowing him at all to know how he would take the remark, and I was amused at myself thinking about his reaction if I had said it. Of course then I just thought, you know, cold here is barely winter in a lot of places (it almost got down to freezing... the trees still have their leaves) and it wasn't like he was out to stay in that chilly morning.

Still, I think its a sign, when an attractively built young man shows off his physique to no positive effect. Sigh.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

horror not horror

Yesterday I worked on Ron's coat, getting the lining and the shell put together almost all the way around. Now, after the last of the bits are sewn together, it needs ironing, topstitching, button holes, buttons and a little hand stitching attaching the coat lining to the sleeves. So, some time, but do-able. Just not tonight. While I was working on the coat, I got to enjoy Ghost Hunters. You know, I really do enjoy the show, and one of the best things is the attitude they really try to foster about exploration and experience, not just fear. Sure, things startle them, and one of the investigators has a lot of phobias (just not ghosts) that he deals with in the dark places, and every now and then the investigators do the "can you make a noise?" "What was that noise?" thing, in a way that makes me roll my eyes. Overall, though, I find it much more entertaining and interesting than the shows where they go some "haunted" place to get scared so they can scream and run.

So, I guess that brings us to today, doesn't it. Today, Raine went with her friend Ezekiel to his school fall festival, which (according to his mom) was a bust. Oh well, she gets to have a sleep over at his house, and eat pizza and popcorn and watch movies. She'll love it. No, I'm not a horrible mom, letting my kid go on a sleep over on a school night. Neither of the kids has school tomorrow, as it is their parent/teacher conference day. Yes, I - on the other hand - DO have school tomorrow. Sigh. One of the reasons I would like to work in the same district that she attends school in. Anyone listening???

We did our usual Carrillo's thing, where the salsa was really, really tasty. Yep, better than usual. There were yummy chicken tacos to be had (and drenched with the tasty salsa), and satisfaction all around. Then, when we got home, we broke out the movie that Carl and I had picked up at Sam's a couple of weeks ago. Yep. Drag Me to Hell. Sam Raimie. Carl saw it in the theater, and I think Dev did too, but I did not get to. What they've said about it is true, it's VERY Sam Raimie. And very entertaining, if you go for his stuff, which - face it - most of the people I hang out with do. Me too. I don't want to spoil it if you haven't seen it, but I will comment that it makes you not only want to clench your teeth on your lips to keep them shut, but hold your hands in front of your mouth while you are doing so...

Yep, we clenched, we bleahed, and we laughed. I gotta recommend this one as a keeper.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

what to write?

Well, I got the sleeves into Ron's coat. I got the lining sewn together. Tomorrow, I'll work on getting the lining attached to the shell, and then its a matter of buttonholes and sewing on buttons. I think I'll be able to do some each evening, and get it done for Halloween. Of course, Ron, may spend a good bit of Saturday sewing on some buttons. I hope he's going to have the time and inspiration for pumpkin carving.

Ron starts his new job on Monday, and does his out-processing on Friday. He's pretty happy about the change, and I'm glad that he got the job he wanted. It will mean different hours, but I know we will adjust. He will actually be working fewer days, with 12 hour shifts instead of the 8 hours he does now. He's looking forward to putting in fewer days. Can't say that I blame him.

Other than that, I just keep thinking its Wednesday today. Are we there yet?

Monday, October 26, 2009

a geek moment

This evening's Castle had some good moments, and the one I geeked out on - and will now relate because I just can't stop enjoying it, topped them. Hey it doesn't even spoil the plot!

So, it's the Halloween episode, and Castle is getting ready for the fun. In the opening scenes, he is trying on a costume... an oh-so-familiar set of clothes. He walks out to model it for his daughter, and she asks what kind of costume is that? Space cowboy, he answers. No such thing, she remarks. Besides, didn't you dress like that about 5 years ago? she asks... HA HA HA HA HA (oh, that would be me, laughing my ass off)

Yes, he was wearing his Mal-wear. Still looked shiney in it, too.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

getting ready for halloween

One costume down, and one to go...

It was a bunch of applique. I pretty much used two spools of thread to get it all done. Still, I think it came out pretty well, conveying the idea of Bionicle, without copying exact pieces or anything.

Opening side seams on the top, and crotch seam on the bottoms really worked well to facilitate the applique, and using the serger to restitch them worked like a charm.

Oh, and I think Raine approved, as well. She tried it on, and posed for pictures... and then didn't want to take it off. Not too long until her bath time, so she got to wear it for a bit.

Now, Ron's coat still awaits. Oh, and so do the dishes... oh well.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

kids and boxes

There is just something magical about a big, empty box, isn't there. When Raine and I got to Roxanne's this morning, they had one, pushed up against the wall, where kids and cats could play. Raine was immediately drawn to the box. After finding one of Roxanne's cats, Raine crawled inside the box, and then the cat tried to play with her, reaching a paw into the box from the top or the side. Raine soon came out, and then the cat went in, and soon, string was added to the mix.

Raine tired out two cats with box and string. She then moved the box under the table and made a little cave out of it, which she played in and around for a while. Then, it got quiet. hmmmm. I walked around the table, lifted the blanket, and found Raine, curled up, asleep in the box. Now, Raine is not normally a napper, but she slept for about half an hour in that peaceful cave of a box, cute as anything.

Roxanne and I, meanwhile, got some good sewing done for my niece, who's birthday was this month. We started early, trying to get it done in time, but with one thing and another, we will have to send it out late. Roxanne was getting over being sick, but really, really wanted to sew today. So we ended up with 2 skirts, a pair of pants, a pair of shorts, 2 tops, and a jacket for Shelbi. If you can't tell what the pattern is, there are several different pegasus on it. I still have a little handwork to do, and then, into the mail.

Next weekend, we'll finish Roxanne's dress, and do some cutting out of the next projects.

Friday, October 23, 2009

another review

Its a good idea to reflect on events, and assess how you've done, what you've learned, and where you will go, next.

The past week was a challenge in several ways. First (and second... well, and maybe even third) there was work. Teaching is a challenge. There is planning, and presentation, and motivation and assessment, all mingled together in something more like a chunky stew than a batter. You pull out these pieces with your spoon, and work on whatever happens to land in your mouth... hmmm... so to speak. Well, on top of the normal stressors, this week has been a week of "flying solo." Not really more of a big deal for me, exactly... although, it is a problem when I see students needing help, and I can't get there... You see, this year, I'm teaching a couple of inclusion classes with a special ed teacher. When she and I are there together, it works pretty well, but this week she wasn't. And, because there is a teacher in the room, it wasn't a priority to assign one of our limited number of subs to take her place. Its not a big deal for one day, but for a whole week? not so good. But I've thought about some thoughtful ways to encourage other teachers to support our efforts, in some small way. And I've advocated for our special ed teachers, who have a great number of expectations piled on them.

Did you hear about Hawaii's school district reducing their contract year by 17 days? Budget problems, and they were going to lower their teacher's salaries, so they decided to reduce the number of days in their contracts. Gadsden almost did that last year. Five days instead of 17, but it could happen. Our state government is reducing the amount of money they are spending on education. Because New Mexico ranks so high in the eductaion numbers, don't ya know... (like hawaii does.) The hypocrasy involved with these decision astounds me. OK, I've lived long enough that it doesn't astound me, but I do see how much the educational system is really valued by the support that it receives. (not so much, it would seem)

Then there are health issues, and reality checks. And those cookies that Ron had to bake this evening. I managed to bag them without eating one, thank you. But I had one earlier, when they were warm. I got the strips, I did. And insurance even sprang for them, yay. Now, I have to make myself USE them, so I can own what I eat, and deal with it in a way that will benefit me. I have to say that one of the things that keeps me closer to the right mind-set is being able to exchange ideas, thoughts, encouragement, recipes, and all the rest with friends like Fran and Lillian. That kind of positive talk branches into so many areas of positive action. Thank you so much.

Sigh. SO, still, and all, it has been a good week. I'm looking forward to sewing with Roxanne tomorrow. She's feeling much better, and has not been contagious for a few days now. I talked to her this afternoon, and she sounded so much better, too. She said she might poop out early, but she really, really wanted to sew. I know it will go along way to recharge my batteries for next week.

Change what you can, deal with what you can't change, and try to find the wisdom to know the difference. Yeah, I know, I'm not original...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

hold on

It did my Tauran self good to answer the phone this evening. It was my Canadian friend, Anne Marie. You know the one that I met while we were both living in Tucson. Yeah, that's the one. You know how those of us of the sign of the bull stubbornly refuse to let go of much of anything, or anyone, so to get a call from out of the blue was fabulous! We laughed and chatted for a long time, and exchanged e-mail addresses (and e-mails). It feels great to be back in touch! Really!

Oh yeah, so why did she call? She and her husband are heading for Arizona next month and she was hoping we would be able to get together sometime during their stay. Oh, man, getting together with Anne Marie? Definitely on my to-do list. On my calendar may be a different story, though. I will look and try to find a feasible date because it has been Wayyyy too long.

Friends. Hold on to 'em. They are precious.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

pride and ...

I did something dumb this evening... Not dumb enough to get anyone hurt, and darn it! I just don't respond well to intimidation - or other people's feelings of entitlement. Went to get my prescription filled at the grocery store pharmacy, and was hoping - of course - for a close parking slot. I was driving along the rows, deciding which one to turn into, and Ohhhh one on the end and the car is pulling out so I'll pull in and kind of through, and then back it in, straight. Only, there was (and I didn't see her at the time) someone else waiting for the spot. Well, we all know that you don't always get the spot you want, and my car did technically hit the slot first, so... I expected her to yield, and she expected me to. I was nicer about it, but I didn't leave. So, we sat there... (I TOLD you it was stupid). Cars around us left... pretty soon, a nice young man from the store came out and attempted mediation. Since the woman in the next space was leaving, I told the fellow, I would take that next spot, (because it really IS a stupid thing for them to have to call the cops over). If there had not been a secondary spot, I would have suggested he stand in the slot, and make us both leave and let someone entirely different have it.

Then I went into the store, to turn in the new prescription, and OF COURSE that woman was there, waiting to pick up her prescription. I didn't go look at here, so how do I know it was her? Because she was talking very LOUDLY and INDIGNANTLY about the whole thing (presumably into a phone...). I was amused, actually, by that. She did not confront me, nor did I confront her. In fact, I turned in the prescription, said I would pick it up tomorrow, and I left. Then, me and my car were gone when she left. I am not about the drama, but more about the point. I made a point, right? It wasn't her spot just because she wanted it... Well, OK, I told you in the first place it was STUPID!

Oh, and the A1C test results were better than I had thought they would be, so no change in diabetic medication, but adding an ACE inhibitor for the blood pressure. Doesn't mean I'm moving back into that condo, though. I am back on a straighter, although questionably narrower, path. Just don't take my parking slot!

Monday, October 19, 2009


Yes, even though I really try to be realistic and straightforward with myself, I have taken up a residence on the riverfront. A nice condo, evidently, but I'm only renting... In fact, I'm moving out as we "speak."

I went to the Dr this past week, to get refills on my high blood pressure, and insulin medications. Well, when the nurse took my blood pressure, it was high. What? I've had it tested a few places this week, keeping a log... high every time. Not the same numbers every time, but... I HAVE been taking my medication, darn it! regularly! OK, so sometimes these things change. I haven't been walking as much as I need to, etc. (Ahhh, the river looks so peaceful from here.) And my job is more stressful this year than it was last year.

Part 2 (there usually is one, isn't there). I also went to get my blood drawn for the A1C for the diabetes. Well, here I know I haven't lost weight since the last time I had it drawn. It was down that time from the time before. That was when I started scoping on riverfront property I'm sure. Oh, I know there are changes I've made permanently. No regular sodas. I check carbs on almost all packaging... then many times I set the product back on the shelf unpurchased. But there are those chips with dip at Carrillos. MMM yeah. bad me. And of course those aren't my only transgression... although I must admit that I'm learning to feel when my blood sugar is too high, and not like it (negative reinforcement is a good thing for me). On the other hand, doing something to get that experience... not so good.

Then, last summer, I got a blood sugar monitor. I don't remember exactly why, but, I did. An inexpensive one, since insurance wasn't paying, and it only came with 10 testing strips, and those suckers add up! Anyway, I tested then, and the number was good, so that was that (yeah, 1 test on 1 day). I'll take that condo on the end, it has beautiful view of de nile. Anyway I pulled it out again this week, after the Dr's visit, mainly because I mentioned I had it, and the nurse suggested a log, along with the BP one. Well, even with the instructions, I managed to waste about half of the strips I had (that original 10) on taking the samples incorrectly. DOH! but then Ron helped me and pointed out the correct way to do it. The two samples I've taken since, were both high! argh! I'm pretty unhappy with that, and I know it's my own doing. So, I'm also pretty unhappy with myself on that behalf.

Tomorrow I go back to the Dr. for test results, hopefully, and a discussion of the necessity for a prescription for testing supplies. I have actually brought them up to him before this, but I'll be more insistent this time. I called into the office today, and told them what kind of monitor I have. Gotta keep myself in working order! Either that or live and die in denial...

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Last day of fall break, and back to school tomorrow. It was nicely calm and fairly relaxing, even with the normal Sunday chores. Ron and I got to play a few hours of WoW together (couples' bonding in our family). Raine got to go with Ezekiel to our local corn maze. They had been about 3 weeks without each other, and had missed each other sorely.

After computer games, and a teensie bit of shopping, I got to work on Raine's Halloween costume some more. Did I mention she wants to be a bionicle? Well, I got the top done during the week, and took some time to get started on the pants today. I'm probably about halfway done on them. My idea of opening the seams so I can do the applique on the sweats is working like a charm. I'm pretty happy about that. Still the applique will be kind of the background for the foam bits that we need to really get started on. THOSE are what will make or break the costume for Raine, I think. Although, realistically, she'll probably be pretty happy wearing the sweats as a costume for a while... except that they will be kinda hot a lot of the time... Oh well, NM.

I also got some stuff printed to go on our new word wall in my classroom. I'm trying to get my students to really be able to talk about stories and analyze them. Language barriers don't make that easy. Neither do the apathy barriers. sigh

school, tomorrow, huh...

Saturday sewing

(Has it really been since Tuesday since I've blogged??? Oh, my, where does the time go? I mean, I know I'm on fall break, but...)

So, this week I had Saturday sewing at home. Roxanne was sick, and I hope she feels better soon. Really soon. She sounded terrible when she called me to tell me she was sick. So, Ron and I worked on a coat that we had cut out for him quite a while ago. It could have been while we were living in Denver, I'm not really sure. Maybe we had already moved back... A while ago. The coat is based on one from the last part of the 1700's, and we cut it out of black denim.

Today we took it out of the bag, and looked through the directions, and had at it. I sewed while Ron ironed. We both took turns pinning, etc. We got the sleeves done, and the pockets (man, that coat has BIG pockets!) done, and we're about ready to put the collar on and then attach the outer layer to the lining. It has flaps and stuff so that will take a bit, but the coat is looking good.

So, here's the thing about Saturday sewing that I want to pass along to you: the regular use of my sewing skills has really made a difference to me. I feel much more confident of the skills. I feel like I'm a better seamstress, and better able to take on a wider variety of projects, and some more difficult ones, as well. I look forward to doing just that, in fact. I don't know exactly what they will be yet, but I'm sure the challenge will come along on its own. This coat really isn't as difficult as I thought it might be.

Of course, I know that practicing a skill improves it, but I didn't realize how ready I was for "the next level." Nor did I know how much fun it would be to get here, and how much I would appreciate being here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

to work or not to work

Well, I don't mean in general, I'm specifically talking about tomorrow. And maybe Thursday as well. I thought this week I would be able to get some work done in my peaceful classroom this week when everyone at GHS is off, but Cruces schools are not having fall break, so Raine would still be at school. The only thing is, she started running a fever Sunday, and then after most of the day went well on Monday, it popped up again Monday evening. Well today she was fine, and tomorrow - finally - she's heading back to school.

Maybe I can get out to MY school, too. Desks need to be rearranged for the new seating charts. Cleaned too, for that matter. I've got plans to make and copies to run and papers to grade. Yeah. Doesn't that sound like fun? But it should be quiet, and have fewer distractions than I will get at home, so, I'm heading out there. Tomorrow. You betcha.

...I'm going to call first, though, to make sure there is someone there and the gates and buildings are open...

Monday, October 12, 2009

still processing

Although we didn't get a lot of gaming done at the gaming convention, we did go to some seminars on writing and creating games (not necessarily all in one seminar). Good insight from people who have been/are there doing the job. Good enough insight that it is taking me to process some of it on the way to being inspired. Inspired to what? Write. Maybe even create a game... Who knows.

We also got fabric. Who's surprised? Anyone? Bueller? No? All right, I'll admit that didn't come from the con. I just felt a break from the usual fabric store was in order. One of the pieces was a cool fleecy piece that has swirly grey and black ghosts in the background and big orange skulls tossed liberally around. Needless to say, Raine loved it. I edged it on the surger this evening, and voila, a blanket. Since we got 2 yards of it, it will cover her up for a while, too.

I also got some fabric for Dev. This is not an easy task, to be taken lightly. She wasn't there to be able to check her opinion on it either. The thing is, it's fabulous garb fabric. I know there are those who are likely to be nodding their heads as they read this, knowing just what I mean. It's not even hideous, fabulous garb fabric. It's black, and purple, and definately not period. But she can use it with either side facing out, and it has textural paisleys in it that will show either way. The added bonus is this: if Dev hates it (although I don't think she will) I'll keep it and make something out of it. Win/win. One creativity inspiring another. I love it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

rincon 2009

Well, we made it to Tucson, and to the gaming convention. I had fun playing 18XX - a train game from the company that made 1830, 1850, etc. It is supposed to be a "lighter" version. A quicker version. It must be, because we played a complete game in less than 4 hours. I won on a technicality. The guy who "ran" the game for the con actually had the highest score - by about $30 - but since he couldn't officially win, that would be me. It was a good game and I felt like the strategy that I've developed basically paid off, and not just because of the people I usually play with play the way they do... if that makes sense.

Of course, we went to this con for two reasons... one is that Wil Wheaton blogged that he was going to go, which allerted me to it's existence. The second reason that we went is that I'll pretty much use any excuse to go to Tucson and visit my friends Steph & Pete, and their family. So, it was pretty much a good weekend even if only for that visit.

So, since I've enjoyed reading Wil's blog, and I wanted to hear him speak, we took advantage of our opportunity to do just that. Wil read from a couple of his pieces, and was VERY entertaining. I would recommend going to see him if you ever get the chance. He is also just a very nice guy. It is refreshing to meet them now and again. And, yes, he did game at the con. In fact, we had to wait a few minutes for the Munchkin game he was playing to be done before he came to speak. He was worth the wait. Look! I even got a somewhat blurry photo to "prove" that we were in the same place at the same time...

Fun was had.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

fashion and style

Really, I feel like I have very little fashion sense. Mostly I just don't care what is in style. I grew up in the 70's, and I wore those clothes. I've been scarred.

Still, I like to sew, and I know what I like. I appreciate some classic stylistic elements. I understand the basics of garment construction, and fitting (although I also realize there is more practice to be done in the fitting).

I've even been sewing quite a bit. Thinking of wardrobe building, and planning. Participating in it, too, to some extent. I mean I have actually finished a garment or two for myself, even though most of what I've made has been for others.

So, what am I leading to? Just this. I finally sat down and watched a couple of episodes of the runway show (OK the name escapes me at the moment) You know, the design show for fashion designers. I enjoyed the challenge element of the program, and realizing that I could make those designs - although many of them, I wouldn't... Does that mean I'm going to try out for that show? Nah, although if I did, I would want a plus sized model. So there. I really don't have the sensibility that those judges are looking for. I don't have their tastes. That's OK with me, I wouldn't touch some of the stuff they liked a lot. I probably respect the advice of the guy in the suit who checks on everyone's progress more than the judges. AND I like the way he phrases his comments. Helpful, but not leading.

So, anyway, I sat on the bench at jury duty orientation today, evaluating what people were wearing. Thinking about what worked, and what didn't, and thinking about some ideas I've been playing with. I think that is where at least some of Roxanne's and my sewing is going... Trying to create some style for us. I'm sure some of it will be disastrous, but I'm OK with that. It's a learning process. I'm getting ideas, I tell you, IDEAS!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

guest post

OK, anyone who knows me, or has hung out with me any time at all, knows I have a daughter, who I'm disgustingly fond of. I regale anyone around with her latest exploits and adventures. So yesterday and today, Raine wrote and illustrated a book. I'll help with the translation for those of you not used to reading 1st grade phonetic writing.

Her book is called The Funny Fly, which you can see on the cover.

On the first page, the fly is sleeping in a flower where a caterpillar is munching on a leaf.

Then, the fly flies around and sees a yucca on a cliff. This isn't really a cliff, but a step, but the fly is small.

Aaaaa fly said the other bugs. (I think the fly is going crazy here)

Oh no! every bug shouted. Fly is a funny fly. Every bug shouted again. (that is the fly sitting on the step, looking crazy)

Finally, the fly pushes his tooth out with his tongue, POP! Fly is a funny fly, the other bugs shout.

Monday, October 5, 2009


So, I found out today that there is a gaming convention happening in Tucson this weekend. Really??? yep. I mentioned it to Ron and Carl, hoping they might feel like going, and hanging out at a gaming convention in Tucson, visiting Pete & Steph in the off hours, and maybe even go for sushi while we're there.

Ron jumped at it. Steph jumped at it - even though she and her family will be leaving for CA and Disneyland on Sunday. Wish I could afford to follow them there, but that will have to be another time.

Carl? carl? what do you think?

I even jumped up and down and pointed... ok, e-mailed Phil & Cheryl, hoping they would want to go as well. I'm psyched.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

another sunday

With the same old chores. Some of mine I just didn't get done today. Sigh. Why is it that procrastination just doesn't feel as good as it used to. Still, it was for a good cause. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Ron's birthday stealthed by this weekend. He doesn't like a big to-do. He doesn't even like a little to-do. Heck he wouldn't even give me ideas for presents, although I finally took him to the book store, and that worked all right.

Raine and I made Jody (her beloved stuffed dog) a t-shirt today. No, I didn't take pictures, so there. It was just a thrown together thing, which - if I recall my time as a kid putting together doll clothes out of scraps of material - can become some favorite things...I might even show her how to do the wrap-around the was one of our go-to fashions. I think I'm going to have to make a Raine's tub of scraps...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

another rainy day

Beautifully rainy. Cool, and refreshing. A cold front has come in, and brought clouds and rain. Of course, its the weekend of the fair, so, you know, it could be wet and well attended. Oh, well...

Me? I got the fabric for the bionicle costume, and got it through the washer and drier. While it was working, I serged around some flannel I have for some baby blankets, and then pulled out some spongebob pajamas that I had cut out for Raine. I got them put together, and she's wearing them to sleep in tonight. I think she likes 'em. I made them a nice snuggle-y flannel, but then didn't make them totally winter pj's because a lot of the time, those are just too warm around here. So, they are sort of in-between season pj's. We get a lot of in-between weather before our two weeks of winter (and the days aren't always consecutive).

Anyway, the clouds starting breaking up about the time we left for dinner. After gaming, though, they are back, low and heavy. Reflecting the light from the city streetlights, so they are kind of pinkish. If this were late December or January, I would say we might be in for some snow. As it is, probably some more rain and cool weather. Yum.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I spent about 2 hours in Walmart today. I swear you walk into that store, and it is worse than the casinos in Vegas for sucking the time away. I needed to go, though. There were Things to Get at Walmart. You know the list. Sometimes you have it too, don't you.

First, it's that time of year again. Yep, time to plan a Halloween costume. Last year, Raine was a space alien. (see attached picture) This year, she wants to be a bionicle. Last year, I could and did sew up a costume for her, no problem (well, not unless you count the glitter that still haunts the craft room). This year we're going to start with sweats. Black ones. Then I'm going to applique pieces for the bionicle onto the sweats. Oh, but that is not all... The bionicle will need a helmet, and some shoulders, and some "feet" and please don't forget the weapon. Raine has some boffer stuff we can enhance for that. So, anyway, if we can put it together, I'm thinking awesome.

But, back to Walmart... see, it does suck you in, doesn't it... sigh. Went there, got the stuff. When I emerged it was more than 2 hours later than I went in.

So, I got home, and we went to Carrillos for dinner. Yummy chicken tacos. Back at home, Raine got out her homework, and I got out mine. The costume? HA! Grades are due tomorrow. I just now got them all in the gradebook and entered into the computer. Yeah. SO, here I am typing instead of toddling off to the shower and into bed. What am I, crazy???

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

time flies

OK, I've talked about autumn already. The cooler weather. Waiting for the freeze to make the trees drop all their leaves simultaneously. blah blah blah

Now its time for the OTHER side of fall. The flies. The sticky, slow, horrible ones. The bloated ones that don't even buzz. They drone. On, and on, and on... Yeah. Those flies.

As if flies weren't disgusting and yucky enough at their best, there have to be these end of the season ones. Flies that put the others to shame. Flies that make those early, innocent flies seem like a treat. Yeah.

Time to check my drink before I take a swallow, just in case. Oh, yeah, sometimes there will be one in there every day. yuck. Time to carry around the fly bane. Yes, I mean the fly swatter. But, these flies are hip to that. They know what it means, so they fly off, only to return when you finally set it down and turn your attention to something else.

Oh, when will that freeze come? Not any time soon, so we'll be "enjoying" these flies for a while.

Monday, September 28, 2009

bank of america blues

So, there is a silver lining for everything, right? And for the housing mortgage disaster, the upside is that interest rates went down, allowing even people who weren't in danger of loosing their homes to refinance at a more favorable rate.

So, sometime in July, I succumbed to an offer from the bank that currently holds our mortgages to call and find out if we could combine our first and second mortgages, getting out from under a balloon payment, AND if we could qualify for one of those lower interest rates. The salesperson I talked to on the phone went through some numbers with me, and it seemed like it would be do-able. We would need to fax some documents, and have an appraisal (to the tune of $400). It would "lock in" the interest rate. So, I did it. She even gave me a number that the house should be appraised for to get the deal to work, and it sounded reasonable.

The documents were faxed. The appraiser came and went. School started... and finally Bank of America sent us some paperwork to sign, and fax back some of. In the mean time, could we fax them some documents... a list that was pretty well identical to the first list of already sent documents.

Hmmmm I say, what happened to the documents I already faxed?

Did you fax them to the correct number?

Well, I faxed them to the number I was given, and each time you ask me to fax them, you tell me a different number. Which is the correct number? Do you have ANY Of the documents? Which ones - exactly - do you not have?

Wait.... wait... wait... and still waiting. It is now the end of August... any updates? I haven't heard from you about which documents... anyone? anyone?

more waiting... and now it is the end of September, and still no reply from them.

Is this just a scam? What is the deal? I would think that Bank of America could deal with this process a little more competently. Now on my to-do list... call again, being put on hold for a long wait, WHILE I'm at work because of course no one I need to talk to is in the office when I get home. Gather up my documents, including the appraisal thank-you-very-much and take them somewhere else, I guess.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

facebook, a second take

Some time ago, I wrote a comparison of Facebook, and Ravelry. Its time for an update, I think.

Some thing age better than you thought they would... and some things don't. Facebook has become some thing I enjoy much more than I ever thought I would. It has some fun games, and I like games. I've been able to keep a connection with some friends, and even better, create a connection that is more active than those I've had with some people I really want to keep connected with. Just yesterday, I found one of my cousins and his wife. That really made me happy! Now, I still think Facebook apps can be a little spammy. So I don't and won't send everything to everyone. Nor will i post every score for every game I play, although a few of the high ones will likely appear. Gotta see if I can keep ahead of Dolores with the jewel game.

Ravelry, on the other hand, I don't visit nearly as much as I did for a while. I looked at the groups, and read the threads. It was gossip-y and friendly... and I found I spent way too much time doing it with not much value for my time. I still love that they have a repository for patterns, and that it is a FABULOUS place to share crafts. I just don't spend as much time there, right now.

I still am not into Twitter, though, that has not changed. Really. My life just isn't that interesting. Neither are the lives of most of my friends. I mean, I love them and all, but I don't need to know their every thought or bowel movement, any more than they need to know mine...


Friday, September 25, 2009


A sentiment I don't usually bandy about, although I do - as many of us do - feel that way, oh, long about (you guessed it) Friday.

Its been a calm evening, and peaceful. I got to watch the first episode of Dollhouse for the season. I wish it weren't playing opposite Medium, but oh well. For a series that is supposed to be about a group of people who get programed with a new personality each week, (which has kind of been done as well as it needs to, thank you Quantum Leap) it really isn't about that at all. Oh, sure, those people are in the series. Echo becomes someone new each week. But the series isn't really about that. It is about what is happening to these "doll's" brains. Which conspiracy are we theorizing about this week, and well, who's obsessed with Echo/Caroline. I really would like to see more of the evil villian Allen Tudyk... but I don't know if that will happen. I'm beginning to think the programmer guy is a doll, just as the doctor was - although there were hints about that along the way.

Anyway... the time has come for me to bid farewell to Friday, and welcome a shower and sleep.