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.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


... and grading, and grading. I feel like that's how I've spent my evening. That would be because I've spent the evening grading papers. One of the pitfalls of being a teacher, you know. Grading, grading, grading. Trying to get a timely turn-around, and I'm further behind right now than I would like to be, but not as far as sometimes I have been.

As much as I hate grading, would it be a motivation technique for me to tell my students that? Perhaps they would turn in more of their work just to torture me. While I would grumble at the grading, I would appreciated the grades in the gradebook, and ultimately - I hope - so would they. Somehow I think it would back fire in some way.

I'm always looking for ways to motivate my students, and its a difficult thing for me. I'm not an entertainer, and I'm not a briber, although rewards are not out of the question, I think they should fit the situation. But, I'm not made of money, so expense is definitely a consideration. So, what's inside the box with those parameters? I'm still looking...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

family dinner

For us, this means enchiladas, and family means everyone. I'm pretty lucky to have one of those inclusive families, instead of an exclusive one. We say "cousin" and it could mean practically any degree of actual cousin-ness. Sometimes it even means that you just feel like you should be related. It seems that "Papa" is a term for any older male in the family, and if you don't fit that, you're probably an "Uncle." Roxanne's grandson is really starting to talk, and he's so cute (of course, that's a baby's job, so that people will take care of you) and he tends to call all females "Mama" and he may even put your name with it too. It pleases me that one of my good friends from high school married into the family... and his father and sister have made themselves quite comfortable in the melee.

So tonight's dinner felt really good, can you tell? Besides being really yummy enchiladas that tasted good. There were two purposes behind tonight's dinner as well - beyond the normal one of, by golly I want an enchilada. First, we celebrated Carl's birthday. Yeah, I know, it was last week, but we were busy. Second, we toasted the departure of a family member. One of my cousins (see definition above) passed away this week. He had been fighting liver cancer, and finally the cancer just took over. I wasn't as close to him as some of my other cousins were, since we were not of similar age or interests, still, I'm glad we got to toast him, and wish him well on his journey to whatever comes next. I'll go to his services tomorrow as well, so his wife knows people care. After all, she's still part of the family.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


We had a cold front move through today. In honor of autumn, I suppose, or maybe just the vagaries of weather. At any rate, my hips ache. Normally its my knees, and often my ankle. Today the hips. If that weren't enough, all the greenery hatching from the rain we've had makes it allergy season around here too. And yes, that means a sinus headache to top it all off. Sleep will be a good thing, If I can get it, and at the moment, I think I can. I'm sure going to try.

Monday, September 21, 2009

new season

The new season of Heroes started this evening. It holds promise. New characters, new dilemmas, a few twists. I hope it will live up to my hopes and expectations. The new season of Castle has already begun as well. I enjoy this show. I enjoy Nathan Fillion. I'm rather glad that they haven't succumbed to formulea. At least not yet. There were a few episodes in the first season that seemed like they might just dust off some Murder She Wrote, but no so far this season.

So, this evening, I sat through prime time in front of the television (OK, I graded some papers while I was there, too) watching regular network television. Honestly, I can't tell you the last time that happened. Mostly I'm not into CSI or the like, nor the hospital shows... There have been one or two series each season - Like Heroes - that I've watched, but a whole evening???

Then there is the change of the seasons that will occur some time tomorrow afternoon. The change from summer to fall, the autumnal equinox. Time to respect the passing of the warmth, and the growing season. Time for the harvest, and the bounty, and then for the fallow earth to rest and rejuvenate. Soon, the change of the season will become too obvious. The leaves will change, and fall. The temperatures will fall as well. Halloween, then Thanksgiving and before you know it, Christmas and winter. The cycle continues, and the wheel turns, and we are only along for the ride.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


This weekend went by so fast! If that's the sign of a good weekend, then so be it! This was, indeed, a good weekend.

First, Lillian and Fran were here, and I had a good time seeing them, and instigating their desire to move back. They are seriously thinking about it. Seriously! WOot! They are heading back to Seattle tomorrow, and I wish them a safe journey. I have a good feeling about seeing them again soon, though. I really do. I know that when something is the right thing to do, it just seems to fall into place. Why is that? because you are prepared for it to. So, soon!

Second, although I was too busy (and so was Roxanne) to go sew yesterday, I made it to Roxanne's house today. We didn't even plug in the sewing machines today. But we plotted and planned. Yes we did. I got started cutting our my niece's birthday present. Roxanne organized the dress she wants to work on next, and it should be a really nice one. Lots of gathered layers, and I really think its going to move well, and she will like it. I shared some of my thoughts on wardrobe planning. I hope it does us both some good.

So the day zoomed by, and since gaming ended late last night, I'm pretty much done for the day already. Of course its not like its so, so early for that, really, but still. Hope you have had a good weekend.

ahhh the rain we've had

We had a good amount of rain last week, and another fine helping this week, as well. Its finally starting to cool things down a bit, and that is much appreciated. The thunderstorm this evening was a wonder. The rain, in places, was pretty dense. Lowered the visibility into the valley. Got whipped around a bit by the wind. We even had a couple of power flickers - not enough to shut down the computers - and a nice lightening show.

The clouds were fairly nice, for the trip to the Farmer's Market this morning. Fran and Lillian, Dev and Shannon, Raine and I went. We had a good time browsing the vendors, Raine got her face painted, and I picked up some nice onions, and greens, and a few green tomatoes. Yep I want to try frying them. The the sun came out, and the day warmed up a good bit. The heat helped draw the storm together for this evening, though, and the lightening and thunder I already mentioned.

Fran and Lillian, we will miss you when you return home. It has been really nice to share some time with you, and the thought that you might return on a more permanent basis is a great one.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

after dinner

Well, my family and my friends had a nice dinner at Carrillos without me this evening. I had to be at school for parent/teacher conferences until 7. They went well, thank you for asking. I had about one third of my students' parents come for a conference, and that isn't bad. I enjoy meeting the parents, and making that person-to-person contact. I also got a lot done in my room, unpacking boxes of fabulous books that I just wish I had space to put on shelves there, and general cleaning and such like.

The dinner went well, too, even without me. That feels kind of weird, in a way, as to some extent, I feel I am the common element... the pivot point, so to speak. In another way, and a much more important way, it is a fabulous feeling. These people are not just MY friends, they are family friends. People who can come hang out, do stuff with us one or all. That feels great!

Now, if we can just get them into a closer general proximity so they are in closer reach more often for said hanging out, then I'll be even happier.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

then there's the paranormal

Well, we had a fabulous dinner with Fran and Lillian and Dev this evening. The fact that we got to eat it with them was what made it fabulous. We had a great time talking and visiting and laughing about this and that.

Happy Birthday to Carl, and I finally remembered to not just THINK that, but actually tell him. Sigh. He enjoyed wearing his new shirt to dinner. We didn't do a lot of party stuff. OK, we didn't do any party stuff, but we did go get a festive desert after dinner.

We got home in time to just miss tonight's episode of Ghost Hunters, which - fortunately - they replay later in the evening, so I did get to watch it. This is a show about the paranormal that I actually like to watch, and don't even mind if Raine watches. For one thing, its about finding stuff out, not scaring you, so it isn't over the top or creepy. Even when something out of the ordinary happens, the guys on the show are more about how cool it was, than how much it scared them. Personally, I think there are still many things about our world and our universe that our science just isn't up to explaining yet, so paranormal - beyond the normal - exists. Is it ghosts? I dunno. Energy doesn't get destroyed though, it just changes form, so...

I think it is healthy for me, and even more so for Raine, to watch an example of how things that can be in the realm of the unknown can be interesting, and startling, but you don't have to be scared of them. Could I BE a Ghost Hunter??? hmmmm It would certainly be interesting to try it out, but I think I might not be very good at it, being nervous etc. I do enjoy watching them, though.

Of course there has to be some occasional drama. It IS a "reality" show after all. So, occasionally someone runs from a bat, or some other animal, and then they get laughed at by the others. Sometimes, I wish the editors (or whomever is responsible) would leave out the sounds and some of the other effects they add "for dramatic effect" and let us here the sounds that are actually present. Still, a show worth checking out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

champions online

Can I remember what I was going to blog about.... Oh yes. I should probably change the title of the post. Let's see if I can get to it. But for now, lest I forget in the mean-time, I'll write.

I've been playing Champions with Ron, off and on. He plays a lot more than I do. He plays ALL the MMO's a lot more than I do. So does Carl. I don't mind, really, because there are just other things I like doing as well, sewing, playing with, reading to, or talking to Raine. You know the kind of stuff I mean. There are also many OTHER things I SHOULD be doing, but, let's not talk about those, OK? So, doing other things, and knowing that my butt does NOT need to be glued to that chair any more than it already is.

So anyway, Champions. Its made by the same people who made City of Heroes, only there is more to it. That's a good thing, as CoH tended to get a little repetitive. Go into the sewers, kill stuff, step on cockroaches, run trough SEWER WATER ewwwww. Take a group with you, because there are always more of them than there are of you, AND they are stronger and harder to kill than you are. (Only no one gets killed, you get "defeated") Now the good thing about CoH, that only gets better in Champions, is the character building. I'm sure there are people who never play the actual game much, as their play time is taken with character creation. And that is the way they like it. If you don't want to spend so much time, there are levels of character design. You can delve as deep as you like, pretty much, or pretty much randomize everything. Most of us land somewhere in between. This evening, I created a pistol packing school girl, complete with pleated plaid skirt and long curls.

There are still some things that bug the heck out of me, though. Characters in CoH - and in Champions - push each other around. In games like WoW, the characters basically go through each other. Not realistic, necessarily, but you feel like you can stand your ground. In Champions, if someone comes out a door the same time you do, your character starts sliding across a room, or across the street, or something. The character that I'm playing with Ron is a little on the tall side, and sometimes has a hard time lining up to get through doors (another peeve). Then, here comes Ron and pushes past, and oops, sliding out of the way I go. GRrr. Another thing I'm not liking is the key binding process. I like certain keys for movement... and so I customize it a bit. Their instructions are to click on the place you want to chage the key bind and then type in the new key. Only, I couldn't get it to work, this evening. I'm not sure, but maybe the instructions they give should be double click or click both buttons, or click until you break the mouse, its not gonna do you any good. sigh.

I hope this doesn't come off as too much of a rant. Can you tell I just logged off? Nope, not frustrated at all.

Monday, September 14, 2009

counting days

Fran and Lillian are coming to town. Its very exciting. We'll be happy to see and visit with them. In person. I visit with them quite often, via e-mail, blog and comment, one way or another. I read Fran's blog, she reads mine. It keeps us connected and learning more about the other all the time. I talk to her about what my family is doing and I talk to my family about what they are doing. So my family - well, maybe except Raine, the last time she saw Lillian and Fran was at Dev's wedding, when she was 3 (I think) - feels quite familiar with them, as they do with my family.

Well, that's just like me.

The weather is even cooperating, too. Fran has a hard time with hot and bright, but we got a good bit of rain last week, and a possibility for more in the forecast later this week. Oh, sure, we'll still have a little hot weather, but we are done with HOT weather for the season. They'll be able to enjoy the 80's -low 90's for their visit. Probably some bright, Fran, won't lie about that. It can be bright while its raining around here. But the temperatures are down below the boiling point.

The house next door is still for sale...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

again with the pictures

But I think you should have been expecting this first one. Of course I took a picture of Raine and Ezekiel together with their spore shirts on.

I didn't get to go to Roxanne's for sewing yesterday. We had our annual, after Labor Day Weekend Gaming Party this Saturday. It started at 2 PM, and I knew I could not go to Roxanne's for sewing and be ready to be anywhere else by 2, so... I did - however - finish Carl's birthday shirt. It took a little doing, even though I lot of it was put together last weekend, but I got it done, and even put on the buttons. No, I didn't wait for his birthday to give it to him. Now he can wear it ON his birthday if he wants to. I've only had the fabric for a year... maybe 2, so maybe it's LAST year's birthday shirt. He may have to wait another couple for this year's...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

be amused by a cat

Raine is an only child. You would think that would mean very little competition for attention, toys, etc. You would be wrong. This afternoon, Raine folded up some paper airplanes and played with them for a while. She showed them to me when I got home from work. When we got home from dinner, one of the airplanes was on the floor, but Raine didn't get to play with them because she had homework to finish.

While Raine was diligently writing sentences about the book we read together last night, the cat came in and laid down on the rug... with her front legs covering the airplane proprietorially. She put her back towards Raine and lounged on the airplane, as if daring Raine to take notice. I was very amused.

Finally Raine finished her writing, and then "Hey! The cat is on my airplane!"

Raine didn't see the best part, though. While she was putting away her things, the cat played with the airplane... crinkling it and batting at it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

what? pictures again?

Have I gone camera happy or what?

Still here's Raine wearing her new spore shirt. I know you thought it was going to be too big, but not really (or at least not more than current fashion dictates).

The second is Raine with our cat, Ginger. Raine would have posed for many pictures, Ginger, not so happy about the whole thing. Still, she is one of the mellowest cats I've ever known, so of course she didn't leave or anything...

Last weekend, we got Raine's closet cleaned out, and now she has space for her new shirt, and the new, very red, winter coat we got at Sams. She was ready to wear it this morning... or at least the liner, which is designed to be worn separately, but is polar fleece, and PLEASE, way too hot still!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

fall creeps in

I was walking Raine to school one recent morning, and I noticed some yellow leaves on the sidewalk. Huh? It's still warm in the mornings. Hot in the afternoons. Well, it is finally September, though. OK, then I looked in the trees along the way. hmmmm no yellow leaves up there. AH wait! there's one. And on the other side of the tree, there's another. More yellow leaves on the ground than in the tree.

I got to thinking (dangerous, yes, I know) about those trees, and wondering if they felt about those first few yellow leaves the way most of us feel about those first few gray hairs. EEEK! get them out! It certainly seemed that way, walking Raine to school, and noticing these things.

Maybe the trees really aren't looking forward to fall this year. Look, my leaves are really all green still. Maybe the heat has lulled them into a false sense of summer security, and they should take better care of themselves - like most people I know should have.

Still, those few yellow leaves are only the beginning. Wonder whether we'll get to watch the leaves change and fall, or will it be - as it often is here in Las Cruces - that most of the leaves will be green until we finally get an overnight freeze, and then they all drop over the course of a day.

Monday, September 7, 2009

spore shirts

I finished the shirts I made for Raine & Ezekiel. They weren't awake (in one case) or here (in the other) when I got them done, so I had to photograph them hanging, which I did. Now, I have not been really happy with the results of my clothing photography on several occasions. For some reason, I can't seem to get the stillness right, or the light or some combination of those plus operator ignorance. OK, it's true. I am NOT a professional photographer. There, I've said it.

Still, this evening, after trying several different settings with unsatisfactory results, I think I hit on a setting that may be the one I've been needing to use. I think the shirts look pretty good. They are not blurry, and there is light so you can see the design on the fabric. This is the fabric that reminds me of the Spore game that Raine & Ezekiel like to play so much. I sure hope they enjoy their shirts!

I'm going to try for a little closer shot on the fabric, and if it works, I'll post it too, if this is the only picture here when you read this... well... Let's just say I won't type in all the cussing.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

i remember... i think

I think that I remember what i wanted to blog about... and you know what's funny? Yeah, it had something to do with remembering itself.

I finally remembered to take a camera to Saturday sewing. I've been trying to keep a record of the projects I've made, but when it came to going to Roxanne's, and packing up all this stuff, it never seemed like the camera called out to me. This past Saturday, I finally remembered. Here are a couple of the pictures. You'll have to excuse the blurriness, I think the camera thought the fabric was moving.

Tenna bought this fabric for her Eastern Star installation. She paid a seamstress to make tops and skirts for the women involved (OK, the women paid for their own, but you get the idea, more or less). She wanted a black A-line skirt with a band of the top fabric at the bottom. She got a gathered waist skirt with a ruffle at the bottom. She was rather disappointed. AND the tops weren't anything special either. T-shirty. BUT she had all this fabric left over, and Roxanne didn't have a top, so we looked through the patterns, and got this drape necked shirt that was harder to cut out than it was to sew. Last weekend we got Tenna's all put together. This weekend it was Roxanne's turn. We also cut out and sewed up Tenna's A-line skirt, only since she had enough of the print, we made it out of that. That print is a very versital one and will go with so many colors, so both pieces will be flexible.

I also worked on a couple of matching shirts for Raine and her buddy, Ezekiel. All that is left is to sew on the buttons. No, of course I haven't taken pictures of those yet... come on, you can't expect miricles! The fabric was so cute and reminded me of a game they both like to play called Spore.In addition, we worked on Carl's birthday shirt. It still needs some work, but maybe I can get to it tomorrow. I'm hoping.

Not only that, but Dev brought over bags and bags of fabric, donated by a friend. We're going to have a great time going through it and imagining what to sew. There is so much there! Dev is planning to get back into fencing, too... hmmmmm

Saturday, September 5, 2009


I guess that is why one would theoretically write these things down. See, I have an idea. Something that I would like to blog about. But, when I sit down at the computer, I can't think of what it is. I must be too busy creatinating.

I know I have this topic, because AWAY from the computer, where writing utensils are not handy, I think of it, much in the same way you think of something you need that is in another room, but when you get to that other room, you can't think of what it was. You know you went in there for something, and you wanted the something, but now that you are here where it is... well there is just too much else distracting you.

I remember thinking about this topic multiple times. I'm just in the wrong room right now, to remember what it was I needed.

Friday, September 4, 2009

interesting word

Yep, I'm a word fiend, too. Fran wrote recently about one of her current favorites, and now its my turn.

I play Wow, and this is no big revelation or anything, but in Wow, when I am crafting (and maybe some other times too, I'm not really sure) I get a message that says "creatinating." Usually I find myself not only reading it, but saying it almost outloud to myself. Creatinating. What IS that? I like creating... I wonder if creatinating is even better?!? I like the idea of creatinating.

Maybe "creating" was too overused, or too obvious. I dunno. but I was at it again this evening, creatinating.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I'm tired. So tired. Blame it on someone else tired. Blame what on someone else? It. Whatever "it" is. It MUST be their fault. Cranky? Oh yes, and ready to spout about it too.

I yi yi... I got Raine through her homework for the day, too. I didn't even yell at her, even though she did need redirecting at times. She did well with the math, and the reading... but writing sentences just takes all kinds of time... and gee imagine that, her mom the English teacher has standards for her to write to...

But I missed my Sewing Guild meeting, and I had been looking forward to it all week.

Next time.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

grades grades grades

Well, the gradebook program at school seems to be working now. I've been entering grades this evening. I had 3 sets, and didn't even realize I was that far behind on entering them. Other teachers are still having problems, so the administration has pushed back the progress report grade due date. Next week instead of this week. Probably just as well.

There is an added bonus because I can go through all the late work, and all the papers that the kids turned in without their names on them, and plug in those scores now. I've only been trying to do that for a week... and the pile of papers keeps growing. I can also make some calls and notify some parents that little Johnny's grade won't be so shiny because he won't turn his work in. I have one student who doesn't have any grades!!! None!!! Yikes.

I can also work on the pile of to-be-graded papers some more. I've been doing better this year, but there is still a pile. Ahhh a teacher's bane. I tell my students that if they REALLY want to torture me, they will turn in every assignment for me to grade, and make a lot of work for me. Zero's are waaayyy too easy.

Well, back to the grind...