Tuesday, December 28, 2010


So, the table got cleaned off, and the boxes got emptied... and today, the grappler came and hauled away the detritus. (and the boxes, and the bags of leaves that we raked, too). We ate Christmas dinner at the table. I put my new lap-top there to plug in and get the updates, etc. It's been useful, and put to use. The in-laws have flown home, now, though.

What to do, now? Well, a jigsaw puzzle, obviously. I bought one and opened the box. Carl came and helped put the edges together, and now he's working on the sky while I work on the mountains. It's been years since I've worked on a jigsaw puzzle, and I enjoy them.

Hooray for kitchen tables!

Monday, December 27, 2010

new year's resolutions

Are you thinking about them? Are you? The new year is less than a week away, now. I have been thinking of mine. It is nothing new, believe me. Be healthier. That's mine. Simple. Important. I'm sure it sounds familiar, even.

Here are some of the things that I'm going to do to be healthier:

Swim. The new city pool (I think I mentioned taking Raine there) does have a couple of lap lanes, and they are open in the evening. I'll get a 30 punch card, and get there 2-3 times a week, and it should last me about 10 weeks, which will put us near spring. If I go now, while the pool isn't too crowded, it will already be a familiar thing when it is more crowded. At least that is my theory. Raine's enthusiasm for going will also help out some.

Food diary/blood sugar diary. I know, I know, I should already. be. doing. this. It's accountability, which I resist. I also know I need to be serious about it, so I must bite the bullet, and get real with myself and just. do. it.

Here's the part that really makes it more real to me. I'm not waiting until New Year's to start. tomorrow. Yep. The house is returning to more of a normal state, instead of a festive one. I think its a good time to do it, whether it be New Year or not. Here's to health.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

true grit

We went and saw the new True Grit this weekend. Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn worked surprisingly well, for me. He's no John Wayne, but still, he is very good at creating characters, and this one is no exception. It is weird. If I hadn't seen the original, I would be very satisfied with this version. Over all, I'm sure the acting is better. The Coen (is that right for them?) brothers did a great job. I'm much more appreciative of modern acting styles, than the 60's style. All that being said, there is still something that draws me to the first film. I'm not sure its even a rational something. I guess I need to watch it again to make a better comparison. I'll probably be disappointed in the original.

I was distracted by the stilted dialogue a little. The... formal use of language (for lack of a better description) by the band of outlaws talking to each other didn't seem natural. Yes, I'm sure it was intentional, and dialectic, but the actors and their characters seemed to struggle with it. Also, even though it is rated PG-13, I don't think it is as action/adventure-y as most kids will enjoy.

Still, overall, I recommend it!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

holiday cheer

We had a really nice Christmas. Raine opened the most presents, and had a great time playing with her gifts. She got an aquarium, and is VERY excited about going to pick out a couple of beta fish to go in it. It has the divider, so they won't fight. She was also excited about new goggles, to wear to the indoor pool when we go again, probably next week.

We had a lovely dinner of turduckhen. If you haven't had one of those, it is a boned chicken stuffed inside a boned duck, stuffed inside a mostly boned turkey. The turkey has drum sticks and wings, to help it have the look of a turkey. We get ours from a cajun place online, and the stuffing they put in is a cajun rice stuffing, and is pretty tasty. We also had mashed potatoes, squash with cream cheese and green chili, salad, and croissants. MMMmmmmm

One of the best things was that we got to see John and Shelbi. It was a brief visit, but friendly, and we got to share some gifts and some hugs with them. Its been a few months since we've gotten to see them, so it was nice for that as well.

Hope you all had as nice of a Christmas as we did.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

the stockings

Well, the grandparents arrived today, and there was much silliness from a young girl (can't really say small any more, she's approaching my height...ack). I talked them out of a visit to Walmart. Thank goodness. On the day before Christmas Eve?!?!? and _I_ was going to go with them?!?!?

Tomorrow we dig out the stockings and the stocking stuffers. We plant the Santa gifts and then wait for the big morning of festivities and opening of the gifts and all the rest.

Carl's gift won't be under the tree. No, I didn't make a shirt for him that I didn't finish, but that is a good guess. I took him today and made him pick out the shelves he wanted. I made him drive his truck even, so we could haul them home. Now, finally, about 7 years later, he can unpack some of his books, and shelve them. Its all part of my nefarious get rid of boxes plan. (LA LA LA I can't hear you say that something will happen to make us pack them up as soon as they are all taken care of, LA LA LA)

Anyway, I hope everyone has a festive Christmas Eve, celebrated in your manner of choosing, creating or continuing your family or personal traditions and wishes for health, happiness, peace and love.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

..and even cleaner

The boxes are taken care of! Woot! We found Carl's espresso maker, and a coffee maker, so we cleaned them up and tried them out. Can you say too much caffeine? um yeah.

Now there are still pictures to hang on the wall, and some cleaning to do, but I'm pretty happy with getting that accomplished. I LIKE having the table available... for putting things on. No, really, I like to be able to sit there for a meal, even if others don't care one way or another. I like that I can use it to cut something out. Or to work a jigsaw puzzle, or play a game at. I hate when it is just storage.

Took Raine to swim in our new indoor pool today, too. She had a blast. It has an interesting design, and to me, there really isn't much "pool" there. Still, I suppose the playing in the water is more important to more of their customers than actual swimming is. It's pretty convenient to my house, and although $5 a pop for me seems a bit pricey, I am considering a 30 punch pass (Wooo $10 discount) and trying to get some laps in a couple times a week. They also have some exercise classes that are a little less, and maybe if I through one of those in, too... well I sure need to put more effort into my exercise and be healthy routine. Like on a DAILY basis instead of a few times a week. And, while I don't love how I look in a bathing suit, I do enjoy swimming as exercise.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

tabler cleaner

Remember last month and I was cleaning off the kitchen table? I made progress then, and today I made more. I unpacked 3 boxes that held my mom's crystal and moved things around in the cabinets to make room for the pieces. Opening the boxes and unwrapping the stemware and glasses felt rather like Christmas. I had forgotten how pretty her crystal is.

Of course it was bittersweet, though, which is one of the reasons to boxes sat unopened for so long. I thought about my mom, and what we did at the holidays. I missed her some, of course, as I thought about her, and how she bought all of that crystal, and her good china, and a silver tea and coffee set all before she got married. She had a good job, and few responsibilities at the time. She didn't wait until she got married, like a lot of women did/do. That was a basic trait of my mom. She worked for what she wanted, and chose it, and got it for herself. She didn't let anyone tell her she couldn't or shouldn't. She didn't necessarily argue with them, or anything, she just went and did it. She would tell them, "I told you so," though. I miss my mom, but I'm glad I've had her strength and stubbornness to see me through, and to see in my daughter and know it will also serve her well (once it quits driving me up a wall...)

There are still a couple of boxes stacked in the corner, and I have decided which pictures to hang, and those things need to get done, but I suspect most of what's left will either have a place waiting for it, or will be heading for the trash. It will feel good to have the table ready to be used for Christmas dinner.

Monday, December 20, 2010

mark it off the list, or not

Well, today I worked on a few things from my list. First there were the chores, of course, not the least of which was supervising Raine with her chores. laundry, check; dishes, check; cat box cleaned out, trash taken out, trash container by the curb. Check, check, check. Yay.

I also got Carl's birthday shirt finally finished. The hem, the button holes and the buttons. Now I can quit wondering why he doesn't wear it (oh yeah, I haven't FINISHED it yet!). I should probably work on a couple more for him. That one fits him pretty well. Hope I can remember what I did to get it that way.

I also got to teach Sara how to do granny squares. She is wanting to make an afghan, and she can crochet, but doesn't have a lot of experience. I figure that granny squares are easy to get the hang of, are fairly versatile, and all that. She picked it up pretty quickly and we discussed possibilities like one big square, and how to put the blocks together, and did she want to alternate colors. I wasn't trying to tell her how she wanted it, or anything, but more getting her to actually decide what she wanted, so she could plan yarn purchasing etc. I want to see it when she's done.

Well more chores tomorrow, and getting the place spiffed up for visitors. Then sewing! Those things are always on the list for me, and so is helping out a fellow crafter. I'm glad I can celebrate getting to acknowledge doing them more than I really want to mark them off the list.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

a moment of metacognition

I posted on Page-by-Page today. It wasn't a long page, but it was there. It doesn't matter that the reasons I had for falling behind were good ones, it was still difficult to pick up the thread on that, even only 7 pages in. I hadn't expected that. Kind of positive feedback for keeping up, because getting in step again can be a challenge in and of itself.

I have to say that challenging myself to that writing seems to have been a good thing for me. putting words on a page isn't particularly difficult for me, per se. Keeping my head above water on creating a story over time is more so. In a good way.

I find myself looking at books in a new way, even Raine's books - she's reading the beginning chapter books now - and I am aware of pacing and chapter formula (for lack of a better description). Ah ha, I think to myself the thing doesn't just come into being, there are bits and pieces, recognizable to one who can recognize them. I'm becoming one of those people. I feels good.

Now, I have no illusion that what I'm writing on that blog will be a major work of new fiction. It's too raw. It's too unedited. Still, whatever comes out will be editable, if it seems worth the effort, and if it isn't perhaps the next thing will be. Whichever, I'm coming closer in many ways to creating something, here, not just starting it with no real idea of where to go. It is, and I sincerely hope it will continue to be, a learning experience.

Friday, December 17, 2010

morning mountains

One of the scenic features of southern New Mexico, and Las Cruces, is the Organ Mountains. They are visible from virtually everywhere in the valley, and since they are east of town, they provide a handy - and oft used - directional marker. They were named, so I understand, because the peaks, which are kind of jagged, resemble a pipe organ through the central portion of the range. Well, at least the central portion near Las Cruces.

There is good hiking up in them thar hills. Some abandoned mines attest to the past and hopes of gold, and other minerals. There is a now-abandoned inn with the remains of a tramway tucked in the pass north of where the highway now winds through the mountains. The range rather marks the edge of the White Sands Missle Range, and is home now to quite a few oryx.

In addition to their landmark-iness, as I have already mentioned, they are indeed scenic. Most days they are a mixture of purplish and bluish greys. In wet weather, there is a bit of green added in. Some days they almost fade into the horizon, while other days they seem to loom over your shoulder. They are fabulous for watching the moon rise, full and huge from behind their craggy peaks.

This morning, as I got on the freeway to drive to work, I noticed the cloud cover. Not the clouds in the sky, the ones covering the mountains. Obscuring them beautifully with fluffy, foggy greys in light and dark. It was beautiful. It was amazing. It was winter in Las Cruces.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

week almost ending

Well, Raine gave me her cold. Darn it. If I could just, I dunno, peel off my nose, I would be fine. Very strange looking, but fine.

Have to go out to school tomorrow to check out. While I'm there I'll make some copies to start the new semester, and clean the desks so they are spiffy when I get back. But that's it. Really.

Then vacation starts. With a cold.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

cats and trees

Last weekend, we put up the Christmas tree. Twinkley lights and all manner of decorations now cover the branches, thanks - in large part - to the efforts of Raine. She had been waiting, and not very patiently, for the tree.

Evidently the cat had been waiting for it too, and as soon as the festooning was finished, she promptly curled up underneath for a nap. She's napping there now, in fact. It's a good thing, too. She can keep a proper eye on the tree skirt. It must be unruly, because every time I go in the living room, it has been rearranged. She must have to subdue it periodically. Maybe it's trying to get away, and she has to use her power over gravity to hold it in place, as well, making all those naps beneath the tree necessary.

Monday, December 13, 2010

finals week

I didn't realize that it had been so long since I blogged. Really, there isn't much interesting to say. Ive been getting ready for finals and grading papers. This week, I'll give finals and then grade them. In my off moments, I'll probably be sleeping or wishing I was sleeping.

Raine and I did get our Christmas tree up and decorated. She did a good job of spreading out the ornaments this year, and with the help of a little step stool, even got them near the top of our 7 foot tree. Have I mentioned how tall she is getting?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


One of the things that never goes off my list of things to do and enjoy is gaming. Role playing games especially, but I do enjoy some World of Warcraft on occasion.

The newest expansion was released last night, and Ron and I played a little this evening, starting characters in one of the new player races that they just opened up. The beginning area is different than the previous ones, in form and in function. Interesting experience. Of course I played longer than I should have and will make this pretty short. Still, as a review, this isn't much of one. I know other places will get much more into the intricate details than I will. I will say this though, I'll play more of it. Yes I will.

Monday, December 6, 2010

one step closer

Yesterday, I went through how I had done on my weekend to-do list. Today, I'm happy that I got one step closer to ready for the end of the semester.

When I got home this evening, I got started on my final, and then just worked on it until it was done. WOoT! Now to get the copies made. A classroom set is enough, I think, with a few extra, for the unforeseen.

One of the things that took longer than I would have liked was the numbering. Generally speaking, anything that one of those office suites can do automatically, I don't want them to. It just annoys me with its mindless insistence of doing whatever that thing is. Like numbering. Sigh. Every line. Then, because I copied and pasted some of the questions from one document to another, then wrote some questions before those, I had to renumber. Pretty much meant doing it over and deleting the ones I didn't need. I should have just turned it off. A lot of those automatic formatting things just need to be OFF while I'm using the program. I don't want it to correct my grammar, if I want to check on the spelling of a word, I will. Just let me type.

So anyway, Final Exam. Check.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

let's recap

The Christmas tree is in the living room. Still in the box, but in the right room. That one is still on the list.

I did better with the computer, reloading Open Office and AVG. I got to work on my Page by Page blog story some yesterday, and even posted a page. We are almost to the end of Chapter 1. Even though Chapter 1 isn't long, being able to see the end of it is huge for me. I'm on a learning curve for story planning and pacing. I don't think I'm good at them yet, but I'm in a place where the technical knowledge they represent is important writer growth. I got Civ 5 loaded and running. The graphics are nice, but play seems slower than other versions. They changed the production trees. Still, troops can embark, so you use ships for defense/offense but not for transport. Interesting. I'm not sold on it yet, though.

I graded some papers, too. Not as many as I should, but I will spend some time entering grades into the computer on Monday, and that will be good. I'll get some more graded each day this week.

I got to sew with Roxanne, and that was really nice, today. Calm and peaceful without her grandson. I love that little rascal, and I do enjoy playing with him when he is there, but he definitely cuts into the sewing time. That said, people time is more important, and he won't always be willing to trade raspberries with me, or squeezy hugs. I better get while the getting is good. I did some good troubleshooting on the serger. We use that machine so much, I sure am glad now that I overcame the hesitancy I first had. We worked on Christmas gifts, and we look forward to being able to put a little more time in on it during the Holiday break.

So, before it gets too late, I'd better off to bed with me.

Friday, December 3, 2010

items on the list for this weekend

In no particular order:

Decorate for Christmas. The tree (artificial of course) is out of the shed and in the house. I went through the lights, and threw away the string that immediately started smoking - I'm quick enough to recognize that as a Bad Sign. Gave a few other strings away, along with the tree that we used to use, and some of the decorations I didn't want any more. Now, I still have plenty to use, and room to store a new set of something that twinkles just the right way. Raine has been asking all this week, "Can we decorate the tree today?" I keep telling her "Saturday!"

Load Open Office back onto my computer. I saved a lot of data. Not all I should have, perhaps, but more than might have been expected under the circumstances. I was ill, and not firing on all cylinders at the time, so I just have to cut myself a little slack. Still, if I want to get some more pages done so I can continue posting on that blog, I better get busy. I have ideas, I really do, but they won't write themselves down, now, will they.

Grade papers. The end of the semester is coming up QUICK! My students have a couple of assignments they need to finish up next week, and then the week after is finals. Did I mention that quite a few of them have make-up work to do? Well, a lot of them do (even if some of those are in denial). They can turn it in until next Friday, but we all need to know who still needs to do what.

It sounds like a pretty good list, to me.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

mee...and my.... compuuuuterrr!

You got the tune behind that, right? And the little bit of really bad soft shoe? Yeah. it wasn't your imagination, I actually put that there.

So the computer is in much better working order, and by that - of course - I mean FASTER. I haven't had time to log into WoW, but probably tomorrow. Thank goodness for weekends.

As for me, I'm feeling better too. I went to work and didn't collapse, although I am pretty tired right now. Still, that's a good thing as it prompts me to get to bed at a decent time and get enough sleep to make it through tomorrow. The antibiotics are kicking in well, but I still have a tight neck and a headache (probably because of that).

So, with my update done, and having used up my energy on getting through the day, I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


So I got the latest version of the game Civilization this week. One of my favorite games from the days I played it on my Amiga. Strange though, my computer did not want to load it. I tried and gave up quickly since it was almost 11 PM. Next Carl tried (it is very nice having truly technical people in the house when it comes to dealing with computers), but he had the same problem. Then it was Ron's turn.

Evidently I had gotten a virus that had corrupted some needed files, and they weren't going to be fixable. New hard drive time. I got one and Ron worked on installing it for me in the quiet hours of the night last night, while I slept off the chills I got from having a sinus infection. (worst case of the chills I've ever had. Yes, I did get antibiotics today)

You would think a 2 Terabyte hard drive wouldn't slow a computer down, would you? But it has. Games like World of Warcraft are much more frustrating than fun in that state. Ron is going to work on it again tonight. He's on the night shift this month, and likes to keep his sleep as regular as possible.

Are you asking? Of COURSE I forgot to save my bookmarks and favorites. SIGH.

Monday, November 29, 2010

back into the grove

Or at least the routine.

It was difficult to go back to work today. I did get to play the sympathetic part to Raine, though, who also would have gladly stayed home again. I'm sure it was good for both of us to face up to it, and step into the routine again, for about three more weeks. Yep, that's it for the semester.

So the leaves fell off the trees Friday, then Sunday - and today - the wind blew and blew. So now, even without all that strenuous raking, they are mostly gone from my yard. How convenient. It was strange (although why it should have been, I dunno) to see that the pecan trees throughout the valley were pretty bare, too. Still sometimes they seem to hold on to their leaves a little longer. I think it was the wind, there, too.

Now, if I can just ease my way through this sinus infection as a viral one, that will get better with repeated use of the neti pot, instead of having to take off to get antibiotics.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

leaf drop

About a week ago, I mentioned that I was surprised that our leaves were still hanging on in the trees, and we actually got a little color change before they all dropped off... in one day. Evidently, yesterday was the day for the drop off. I went out to my car, which is generally parked under one of our trees, and the windshield was covered to about half-way up with leaves. There was a pretty good pile on top, as well.

I took a picture of the windshield from inside the car with my phone, and if I can manage to import the photo, I will. Hey, it's a learning experience for me...

Hey! what do you know, I figured out how to get it here... eventually.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Some of the goodness of this holiday is eating the leftover turkey and dressing and... well, you get the idea.

So, it's Friday now, and the weekend nears, then back to work on Monday. I've had a wonderful week of vacation, and if the table isn't totally cleared off and around, it is very close to being at least cleared off. Yeah, there are some boxes back in that corner that I could go through, and the good news is probably that most of it can be thrown away or donated somewhere. Except for the cord to the griddle. I hope that is in there. Somewhere.

I didn't get as much sewing done this week as I had hoped, but somehow sitting down to about a dozen button holes seemed... procrastinatable. Is that even a word? Well, I'm sure you get the gist of it. I did get to Joann's today. braved the crowds and the lines there and got some patterns and some fabric. Some for Christmas gifts, and then Carl wanted to make a few grossing guard Santa hats again this year. It's something he came up with a few years ago, and made one for himself, and some to share with the teachers who help with traffic after school. Bright orange Santa hats for the holiday season. He got requests this year, even.

I did get that new blog started, which means I got some writing done this week, too. I'm pretty pleased with that. I'm sure I won't get a page each day done, but if I can get at least 5 up per week, I think that would be doing pretty well, actually. I may soon be sorry I didn't start with a short story, though. We'll see.

The new Harry Potter movie is, of course, out. We braved the theater this evening, and it wasn't anywhere near as crowded as I thought it would be. Two and a half hours long, is pretty long, but I enjoyed it. Won't go much more than that, because I don't want to enter spoiler territory, but the actors have grown up in their abilities as well as their ages.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

giving thanks

This time of year, I miss my parents. I miss being in their house, with a ton of people lined up to come over. Yes, I even miss helping out in the kitchen, where - among other things - it was usually my job to make the pies. Sure, I help out with the Thanksgiving feastivities here, and they are mighty good, but I miss those days.

Those are the holidays I remember. The turkey would barely fit into the roaster pan, and after the foil was wrapped around bird and stuffing, the lid would rest happily atop the foil, more like a hat than an actual lid. (it wouldn't meet the top of the roaster pan until after the turkey was taken out)

The house smelled fabulous. The friends and family members would chat and visit and there would usually be a TV set up in the living room for the football game while we set out the long, red table in the den. That would be the "adult" table, while the kids made do with the dinner table in the kitchen.

We would laugh about Aunt Peg, and Uncle KC, who would schedule as many Thanksgiving dinners as they could fit in, and feast at every one. It was Aunt Peg who fussed at my mom one year, because she had chosen to get nice paper plates to eat on that year, and Aunt Peg wanted the good china. (not that she was helping with the clean-up, mind you)

Now, I'm not complaining about the Thanksgivings we have. Far from it. Tomorrow, we will take turkey, dressing, and some other goodies to Alamogordo to visit our cousins, and eat with them. We did it last year, and had such a good time. If we hadn't done all those past get-togethers, we probably wouldn't have ever thought of doing any such thing last year, either. It pays off in memories to hold, and memories to build.

So, thanks, Mom, Dad, and all of those family members, and friends who still feel like family members. Thanks for giving me some warm memories to hold on to. Thanks for setting a fabulous example for creating memories for passing forward as well. Things change, and yet, they somehow stay the same, as well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

page by page by page

Page by Page is the name of the new blog. I got it put together yesterday, but only got in the first page of the first chapter today. There is a preface claimer and disclaimer as the first entry. I worked on planning it a bit today as well, as that will be essential, especially as the story progresses... if it will.

Anyway, give it a try. Let me know what you think. Fran, you will notice there are familiar bits as well as unfamiliar, so I'd like your feedback as well!

The clearing of the table continues. Today, I dealt with framed photos and art. Decided which pieces to put up, and which to store, and which to take out of the frames to deal with later, and put into books, etc. I got so busy, I even went through a box of the same from the craft room as well, and threw away a lot of Dad's paperwork that he had saved from his working days. Saved more family history stuff, though. I even put aside a few photos to send to John and Shelbi. One of the prints needs a framing repair, so I will hopefully see to that tomorrow in my running around and preparing for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2010


It was a lovely day, today, and I got several things done that I was wanting to get done. Of course there is still more to do tomorrow. There always is. I got a start on Dad's stuff. Tackled the box with the papers in it, and was able to throw away most of them. Found and kept some family tree info and a good number of photos. That done, the next bit will be easier. Might even hang some pictures tomorrow. That would get them "put away."

The cleaning and purging of stuff is a real process for me. On the one hand, I keep stuff. I like my stuff and i have a hard time letting go of it. On the other hand, I'm trying to make a conscious decision to live in the house we have, and keep the things that fit here, and get rid of the rest. In the long run, we will all be more comfortable using our space if it isn't jammed full of stored stuff. I'm talking myself into letting more of it go. I really am. I know it will feel good to have the dining area back. I'll like getting to use it for more than storage. Sorting and getting rid of stuff, though isn't always easy for me. It just isn't.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

the nm fall

Here in Las Cruces, you will very likely not see the leaves change color. Often the weather is warm, up until a serious cold snap, and then after a few days of freezing weather, the warmth will return. After that freeze, the leave, still green, will drop of the tree, often in one day. It is interesting to watch the leaf shower happen year after year. I've been expecting the freeze this week. It got cold, but not cold enough. Instead, the leaves on our non-bearing mulberry out front are turning a cheery shade of yellow.

Fall is in the air...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

fun and games

Yes, I must say that I am enjoying this holiday week, so far. This morning, Carl, Raine and I played a couple of rounds of Creationary. If you haven't heard of this game, it's like Pictionary, except with Legos. There are several ways to play, but we like when one person has to build something from Legos, and the others guess what it is. How do you know what to build? Well, you roll a die which gives you a category and then you draw a card and build the item that fits that category on the card. It can be a challenge to the builder, and to the guessers, and fun for all.

We also played another Lego game, called Lava Dragon. The game board is made of Legos, and there are little Lego game people who climb the mountain and have to avoid the lava, until they can get to the top and call the Lava Dragon. Lego came up with these cool dice that you can fit lego pieces on, and then you kind of create the die as you play the game. Kinda cool.

There are several other Lego games out there, and some of them look really interesting. I think there is a Lego mousetrap game, for instance, and a racing game. The flexibility of the games is what I find interesting. Whoever came up with the idea of these games is a genius!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

fighter practice

Well, my first return trip to fighter practice was... disappointing. I thought I had made plans to meet there with Dev, even if we were the only ones going to show up, but that was not to be. Raine and I went. If anyone else did show up, they came after we left. We didn't stay that long, really, so that would have been pretty easy. So, next week, Thursday is - of course - Thanksgiving, and probably not much chance of me showing up then. Maybe the next week, although I think that is going to be the Sewing Guild meeting night. I haven't gotten to go to Sewing Guild in several months. Like since school started. So, it will be another 3 weeks before I can get there again. Not an auspicious start, really. Still, better than no start at all, I suppose. I did actually get there.

On the up-side, I got a little exercise walking around while Raine ran (so she got more). Wow, campus has changed some. The new dorm buildings are sizable, and reasonably attractive, at least in the dark. I hadn't realized that they had gotten to the Alumni dorms already, although I can't really recall the last time I paid attention to it, either.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

shower epiphiny

I wasn't going to blog this evening. I was grumbly, and whiny and I didn't want that to be my inspiration or my topic. I mean I stared at the blank area and all, but didn't type.

Then I took my shower, and was just thinking about this and that. Oh, I know, ideas are my strong suit. Follow-through, not so much, but ideas? I got 'em! I was thinking about Fran's story blog. It didn't really take of like she was hoping. Like I was hoping, too. Does that mean a story blog wouldn't work, though?

I mean, people are trying out new paradigms of publishing on the web, in different media: music, comics, magazines, and of course, blogs. I started blogging as a way to communicate, but also as a discipline of daily writing. What if I take that discipline a step further? I mean, I have this story in my mind. I've been working it out and planning it for a good while, now. I've even written up some of it, but of course it isn't anywhere near finished... Would it make a blog? Would anyone be interested in reading that? I mean, I feel like I'm a decent writer, but it would be my "first novel" with all that implies. A page a day novel. In blog format. Hmmm.... Am I crazy?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

something's going to break

I keep hearing about budget cuts for next year, and the possibility of further financial crisis. Its going around, still. It affects many, many, many people, and yes, I know I'm one.

The school I work in, like others in my district, my county, my state, struggles with the mandates of No Child Left Behind and meeting Adequate Yearly Progress. Now, believe me, I am a believer in education standards. I believe that all students CAN learn, and I would sure like them to. Sometimes, frankly, it just isn't in my control.

There are things that can help me do my job, like having adequate supplies (I get a limited amount from my employer, and as many as I want to buy - and students who feel I should buy theirs as well.) and a class that is not overcrowded. Studies have shown that a lower student to teacher ratio is helpful in both class management, and learning. English classes are supposed to have a maximum of 25 students. With more budget cuts, I'm sure that will be further from true than it is now. Especially in 9th grade, which traditionally is the largest class, and is usually my assignment.

On top of budget constraints, the pressure to perform better, to meet AYP, and to increase graduation rates mounts. I get less of the things that usually help, and I am supposed to do more with what I get, and with more students.Teachers are being put in an increasingly untenable spot, and pretty soon the responsibilities and pressures won't be worth the salary. The salary certainly won't be adequate for the hoops one must negotiate before one even becomes employed. They are nearly that now. I would have serious second thoughts if I were entering the profession now, that's for sure. The equation doesn't add up. Something is going to break, and it won't be pretty.

Monday, November 15, 2010

my holiday entry

A little early you say? The fact is, with these lists, you simply must plan ahead. So, I have.

This year, the school district I work for decided to combine our fall break with Thanksgiving. A part of it, at least. As a result, I have the entire week of Thanksgiving off. WOoo! Well, being the time planner that I am, I have decided what my "chore" for those days will be. You know, besides getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner, and sewing and playing too many hours of Civilization.

About a year and a half ago, I accomplished clearing off my kitchen table. Yeah, you can tell we don't use it all that much, or it wouldn't have stuff piled on it in the first place. It bugs me though. I would LIKE to be able to use it as a kitchen table, or play games on it or whatever. Instead it is piled with stuff. Right after I got the area cleared for general use, my step-mother passed away. The family items we got from her house came home with us, then. Many of them were just kind of piled, and not really packed away or anything. Many of them have been sitting on or around that table since then.

Now, I will say in my defense that what we got, besides marking the passing of my father's wife, stirred up the grief and loss of my father who had passed about a year and a half earlier. It also stirred up anger at them both because of how they both handled their estates, which was not, in either case, what had been explained that the plan was. Guess what. It does absolutely no good to be angry at a dead person. None at all. But those items set those feelings off and I haven't been ready to deal with them. I think I can now, at least enough to get them put away properly so that they aren't sitting on that table any more. Its just time to do it, and get past it, and move on.

So, that is what is on my to-do list for the week of Thanksgiving, you know, beyond the usual stuff.

Oh yeah, and anyone who watches Castle... did you enjoy the Firefly reference as much as I did? Yeah.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

i love a good sale

Today I went to JoAnn's Fabrics. They are having one of their sales, and I like to go look at (and touch) fabric every so often. Thank goodness, I didn't NEED anything beyond looking because there were a lot of people getting stuff. OK, yeah I did buy a piece of fabric for a baby blanket and 2 patterns, and my total was about $6, but I stood in lines to get it done. Most of my looking around took less time than standing in line. Sigh. So, while I enjoy a sale, I wish I had gotten there at a less busy time, whenever THAT might be.

Actually, I have plenty of projects in the works, so my main purpose for going was to look and feel. Not being able to feel the fabric is one of the things that saves me from buying fabric online. The way the fabric feels is such an important part of choosing it, for me. It is also one of the reasons I enjoy fabric in general.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

family serendipity

Thursdays are our days to go to Carrillo's Cafe. Delicious Mexican food made by the very friendly owner at a reasonable price (our dinner comes out to under $10 per person, even including a generous tip). We enjoy our weekly visit to Carrillo's, and since we've been doing it for years, friends and family know that's where we'll be.

This evening Roxanne called to make sure we were going to be there, and said that she and her family were going to join us. We had a nice visit and meal, even though there were a couple of emotional outbursts from her almost 3 year old grandson. Nothing long or overblown, just typical almost-3-year-old stuff. About halfway through the meal, Roxanne's mom called, wondering if we were at Carrillo's, because they wanted to join us. We were happy - of course - for them to do just that. We even ordered for them, to cut out some of their wait time.

So, we ended up sitting in Carrillo's longer than usual, but we sure did have a nice time, and it was wonderful to spend some time with the extended family. I had to tease Roxanne's mom, for some family history. When I was growing up, HER mom would call our house, looking for her when she wouldn't answer her home phone. Sometimes, she was even at our house, when my folks would ask my dad's cousin over, but not her parents. Sometimes a few guests are enough, and the whole crowd isn't necessary. Not that my great-aunt knew that. So I teased her about calling to see whether her daughter was with us... even though she hadn't, but the serendipity was there.

I feel fortunate to live near these cousins, as I have for most of my life. In the absence of my parents, they serve as an anchor of family. Oh sure, I have other cousins, first cousins instead of first cousins once removed, and second cousins, etc, but I grew up around Roxanne, and her mom and her sister and brother. They are precious, too.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

thank you, veterans

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day.There have been many years that I did not get Veteran's Day off in the past, but this year we do. Cruces schools do not, but Gadsden schools do. My plan for tomorrow is to spend some "me" time at Coas bookstore, and to finish up a sewing project, and I'm looking forward to both of those activities.

Still, I am aware of the veterans in my life. People who worked and sweated and got dirty and did the stuff that needed to get done to protect and serve the country I live in, love, and appreciate. Thank you to my grandfather Hess, who served (too young) in World Wars I and II. Thank you to my mom, and her brothers, who served during the Korean conflict. Thank you to my husband Ron, who served in Europe, and in Asia. Thank you to Charles Miller, one of my father's best friends, who served in WW II, and his son Trey, who was a proud Marine. Thank you to so many others, who I work with, talk to, am friends with, wish well to, who have served as well. Who live with the consequences of their service, both positive and negative, and tend not to make too much of either, for the most part.

There was a Veteran's Program, held at GHS today, put together by one of the teachers, with the participation of many of the school's organizations. Expectations might have been that it would be second class at best, in general Gadsden style. In truth, it was lovely, and moving, and if it was not perfect, it was heartfelt and respectful, and a good job for high school students, who are not professional at these things. The program was nice, the performers did their best, and the audience was appreciative. Good job, Panthers!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

more fair fun

Yep, I'm out of inspiration, but I still want to keep up on the discipline of blogging, so I'm going to share some more pictures of Raine, and her friend Ezekiel having a great time at the fair.

They got to ride the rides, and they helped the magician during his performance. They had a great time! Thanks, Carrie for sharing the photos with me.

Monday, November 8, 2010

trying to be... inspired

Fran's contest has inspired me a couple of times, but I don't want to be the only, or even necessarily the main respondent. I want to see where others will take the story, too. I can hardly hold my fingers back from typing, though. Its like a fun conversation, but without some of the constraints of conversation. But I don't want to monopolize the whole thing with my point of view.

What else is inspiring me? I don't want to talk about how frustrated I am with my students right now, and how I feel like I'm banging my head against the wall with them. ARGH! I would much rather be inspired to create. To encourage the inspiration of others to create as well.

Is there such a thing as artisan advocacy? That has been my recent line of wondering, thinking of ways to update the idea of a county/state fair. Thinking about why the competitions are all but empty, in this day of DIY and crafting shows. Do people just watch on TV and make things vicariously? I don't really think so. Did you know you could compete (at least in NM) if you were a professional artist? I didn't, but you can. Would that be something you could bring to your etsy shop? Would you check out the etsy shop of someone who's wares you saw displayed at the fair? Would you go to the fair if you knew that talented artisans were displaying their wares, and selling them as well as competing? So many questions....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

back to sunday sewing

Yes, I went to Roxanne's house, and we worked on some ongoing projects. She did the edging around a garment for me while I worked on the embroidery machine, putting paisleys around the bottom of a top for her. It is clear that we need more practice with the embroidery machine, and so this top is good for us to work on. The thread we have is perhaps not the best to use, it seems to fray easily and break. Well, some spools are worse than others about it. The thread was free to me, and I certainly don't mean to complain about it, as that is the perfect price for something that I'm basically practicing with. Not that being a "practice piece" will stop either of us from wearing the garment practiced on proudly.

My dress still needs button holes, and buttons, and some other handwork to be completely finished, and then it will appear as an entry in my Createlivity blog. That's for another day, though. Maybe near the end of this coming week, as I get Veteran's day off from school, and wouldn't making things be a wonderful way to spend the day...

Now that the time has changed, and Daylight savings time is gone for another year, it was dark, or nearly so, when I left Roxanne's. There was the edge of blue sky with the dark descending in the west. A mere fingernail moon hung in the fringe of the night, taking a little more time to set than the sun had. It was beautiful.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

ren fair 2010

It was a lovely day to visit our local Renaissance Fair. The sun was shining, and I should have taken a hat but did not. The weather is more fall-like and while it was warm, it was not melty hot. There were some beautiful arts and crafts there, and I could have spent hundreds of dollars there. I did not, but we did get some Christmas shopping done, and cards for some of the other booths, who also sell online, for later, when the available funds don't need to go towards Christmas gifts. There were many people there, as usual, but one of my favorites was missing.

There was no Society for Creative Anachronism encampment. They were marked on the map, but when we went to the spot, no one was there. Not a single banner or tent. Not even that. Sigh. There have been many years where I have been at the Ren Fair in the capacity of entertainer, SCA or not, and the years I did it as a member of the SCA were very memorable. But - as Stephen King says - things move on. The group of people I "played" with are no longer here, or no longer active. Off and on, I think about getting involved again, but the people I loved, the ones I would want to be there, still wouldn't be there. I know, I could make new friends, and I probably should. I could help again, and the shire I helped build years ago could - potentially - thrive again. I feel sad that it has all but disappeared. Like the people who were like part of my family at the time.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

no more

Well, I was seriously ready for some Project Runway this evening on the television. Only one problem, the finale was LAST WEEK. Yeah. I remember. Gretchen squeeked to a win. With panties. Yep, several pairs with several different outfits, including the pair she was wearing with the diaphanous skirt. Really? She had to wear a see through skirt, so we could all see that she was wearing those things, too? That's supposed to make them fashionable?

Oh well. I must admit that several of her pieces were very nice, and it wasn't all black or anything. Seriously, what IS it with black for everything?

I was rooting for Mondo, though. I LOVED, loved, loved how we worked with prints, and he matched the seams perfectly. MAN. I do not have that attention to detail. I probably should, but I just don't. Still, he didn't win the top prize. I wonder, though, how many calls he got later that night offering him a job.

So, I'm missing Project Runway. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

fair fun

I sent in my first part of the ongoing story in Fran's blog. I'm sure I have a link to her blog off to the side here (*pointing randomly, knowing you'll find it*) if you want to check out the contest story, or maybe even participate appropriately.

In the meantime, I got ahold (yeah, its a word) of some photos taken at this year's Southern NM State Fair. One of the activities near the gate was a cool set of large, clear plastic balls, that kids could get into and attempt to maneuver around a pretty large wading pool. The wading pool had water in it, so traction was non-existent. Looked like crazy fun to me. When we went, it was nearly dark, and they looked busy. The next day, Raine went with her friend, and here's what they got up to.

Monday, November 1, 2010

writing contest

My friend Fran is having a writing contest on her blog. At her blog? Anyway, the teaser, the prompt, went up yesterday. I've been cogitating on it, and I'll write something. Soon. But last night it was too late for me and my having to get up in the early morning self. Tonight it may be too... but I can feel some story starting to creep into my imagination.

She did a different contest, earlier, rather a mystery set-up. I had great fun filling a story into it. Thank you Fran, for giving those creative inclinations a boost. Like you, I find keeping a blog to be an exercise in writing, although mine is more... blathery... than yours. You really try to have a message, and I'm much more... well, I'm not sure casual is really the right word. Stream of conscious? Maybe?

Anyway, I look forward to entering the contest and participating in the fun. I also look forward to seeing what the other contestants have written. Oh yeah, it's fun to see who wins, too, but really, it's the journey, not the destination. Wait... I think that might fit in with my story... nobody copy me, ok? lol.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

halloween done right

Halloween is not my favorite holiday. Oh, sure, it can be fun. The decorations are cool. I have to say I have enjoyed making costumes for my favorite - and only - daughter, too. Still... it just isn't.

When I was growing up, my brothers and I had a great time dressing up and wandering up and down all the streets in our neighborhood trick or treating. We knew a lot of our neighbors, and we would check out our friends' houses, and some neighbor or another who had a particularly scary set-up. It was all in fun.

Then came the days when car-loads and truckloads of people would cruise through the neighborhood, and keep coming past 10 PM. Adults, who just should have been buying their own candy, if they wanted it. You would hardly see anyone you actually knew. Not so much fun any more.

Now, I live in a different neighborhood, one with a lot of families. It's not a pretentious neighborhood, that anyone is likely to just go cruise through. There are lots of young kids who go to the same school my daughter does, and Halloween seems more fun again. Not every house goes in for passing out candy. Really, that's OK by me. We get lots of family groups. Elementary and preschool kids, in cute costumes. They get mesmerized by the decorations. They stretch to reach the doorbell. I even get an occasional "Thank you, Mrs. Honeycutt!" They start a little bit before dark, and by 8PM, they're done. Well, after all, most of us are off to school or work in the morning.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

spoiled alert

Wait. Should that be spoiler alert? Nah, we definitely got spoiled tonight. You see, we ate enchiladas tonight. Home made ones. With the family gathered around, with 10 children running around and playing. The best kind of casual family gathering. I fried eggs, while Tennie and Roxanne built stacks of delicious enchiladas. When we reached critical mass (no more filled plates would fit into the oven to melt the cheese), everyone lined up to get theirs. All this while more plates are getting filled. Want a special order? This is your time to make your request.

There were beans, of course, and chips and salsa, sour cream (one of my favorites) and pickles. Enchilada dinner as usual, Las Cruces style.

So, what was special? It was the first big batch of enchiladas made with this year's chili crop. It was delicious, of course, and hot. Not as hot as some years, but definitely up there. So now, there's a freezer stuffed with bags of red chili, ready to be transformed into red enchiladas, or whatever else hits our fancy. MMmmmmm

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

done with it

I got Raine's costume finished. The white glove are so her fingers look like claws coming out of the sleeves. What do you think about that for a brainstorm? I'm pretty pleased with the new configuration for the wings. I think they work well, and look more wing-y. I like the movement that having the detachable sleeve allows. I think that will be a more comfortable arrangement in the long run. She's pretty happy with it, too. We'll slick back her hair and do some face paint on Halloween to complete the dragon.

Now, if I could only find (and then remember) the right setting so that my pictures aren't so blurry all the time!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

...sung to the tune of...

Earlier this evening, I started to blog. I sat there with the window open, staring at the blank page. Oh, sure I checked out Cake Wrecks, and The Customer isn't Always Right, but... hm.... nope, still nothing resembling interesting. Oh well.

I mean, I was planning to take pictures of Raine in her costume again, now that it is basically finished, and - with Carl's help - the wings are better. She got busy with friends. Kids. Isn't that JUST like them? yeah. Here are a couple of pictures of the wingier wings I hope aren't too blurry. I would leave it at that, but then I got to thinking about some of my process with that costume, and then I wanted to talk about it. Wait. So, why am I writing about talking about it instead of just writing about it?

I love the process I went through to create Raine's costume. Oh, sure I want other people to think its cool. I really want other kids to want one like hers. Then she'll think its cool too. Right? But I enjoyed envisioning the pieces, and how they would come together. I've enjoyed building it, piece by piece, and I can critique it here and there, and I've thought about what I would do, next time. Next time? Huh?

I think I could get carried away with this. Oh, sure, I actually do have ideas for another costume, based on some of what I already made. Um, yeah, I DO have the fabric, too. But, but... its a gold and red dragon, instead of a green dragon. Well, yeah, I do understand that Halloween is getting close. Yeah, she CAN only wear one costume... at a time. But she LOVES dragons. Yeah. Carried away.

I have more carried away-ness though. Sort of. I keep wondering how marketable these would be. Would kids really want them? Would parents pay for them? Would parents want one? Would I be able to sell them through Etsy? (I think that would be cool). How much time am I ready to spend on this, anyway? What about parts?

Then the brainstorm hit. (*and the music swells in the background*) Wingsleeves! (are my heart's desire) I think that I could make a sleeve, with a wing attached that you could add to a costume, or, pretty much anything you chose to wear it with. They might be sleeves to tie on, as in Renaissance garb and other versions could be sort of shrug-like. What do you think? I am really asking for feedback here. Would YOU want these? Keep in mind that I would have to practice, you might actually get some...

Is it a bad sign when just thinking of a name for something sets off the music in your head? (LA la la LA la la) Wingsleeves.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

perspective and distance

I went to a funeral today. I went to show respect for a man I knew casually, who became part of my extended family, more or less, when his daughter married one of my cousins. Later, the two divorced, but this man and his wife attended family dinners, and parties and what-have-you with wonderful grace and acceptance and cheerfulness. I felt I could respect that by attending the services held today.

Funerals are not easy. It is never easy to say that good-bye to a loved one, and the pain and emotion can really cloud the memory of the ritual. There are good reasons for the funeral ritual, though, as there are good reasons for many of our common rituals. While I do in general understand the need for and the place of these rituals, I don't always feel the need to participate intimately in them. I think, for me, funerals are the exception.

You learn something important about the person who has died at their funeral. You see the people who cared for him or her, and you can kind of see their various circles of influence: family, work, faith, friends. Sometimes they overlap, and sometimes not so much. When you aren't as emotionally involved, you can still gain a measure of respect for the person, and the various legacies they leave behind. The memories that are shared. The impact of their actions and their lives on others.

In some ways, it would be nice to be able to understand more of these aspects at the funeral of someone dearly loved, instead of being focused on the loss itself. I don't know how you would do that though, for that is, essentially the heart of a funeral.

Friday, October 22, 2010

happy clapping

WOo Hoo! There is progress being made by Peter Jackson on The Hobbit. Casting is being done, and so its one step closer to being on my screen. I really enjoyed the Rings trilogy, and I thing Jackson did a fabulous job on them. One of the best things was the job they did on the characteristics of the various races. Yes, my fangirl flag is flying on this one.

Of course, I'm just not celebrity struck enough to go read up on all the actors, or anything. I just want them to do their jobs, and do them well. I want to be mesmerized and entertained. I want to be in awe of the landscape, and cheering for the good guys. Honestly, I want THIS to be the version of The Hobbit that defines the work for me.

Here's hoping. And waiting.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

thurdsay not friday

I wanted it to be Friday today. All day. But, no.

Tomorrow morning I go to parent/teacher conference with Raine's teacher. Raine is still having behavior issues, and I'll take Raine with me, so that we can ALL talk about them, and the consequences, and everyone will know what everyone said, and will know that everyone knows.

On the other hand, I've heard and seen evidence of Raine's learning. It's like she leveled up in reading this week. We read for 15-30 minutes in the evening, once she gets ready for bed. I could tell she was at a thresh hold because her reading had changed some. She would read a phrase 3 or 4 times, trying to get a feel for it. Then, this week, magic. Where we were reading 1 chapter in 15-20 minutes, now we are reading 2 in the same amount of time. We read 4 chapters two nights in a row! On the last chapter, I could tell she was getting fatigued, and her attention would start to wander... but wow! Improvement! I can also tell that her number sense and math skills are improving. She will talk to us about things like counting by 2's or 5's... or even 4's. Won't be long until we're working on memorizing the multiplication tables. (yep, I'm gonna make her do that, even though she'll use calculators like crazy, I'm sure).

Beyond that, Carl came up with a solution for the wing issue. I'm pretty sure it will work, and we'll put it in trial over the weekend. If we like it, there will be pictures...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

costume update

After a weekend bout of the stomach flu, and several early morning calls to the bathroom, I went to school, got ready for a sub, then came home. I rested. I hope I can keep feeling better. I REALLY hope that Raine doesn't catch it.

In the afternoon, I plugged in the sewing machine and worked on Raine's Halloween costume. Ron worked on grommets, and we got some pieces tied together.

The picture is sort of blurry, and there was no flash, as the camera was running low on battery power. Anyway, there are the sleeves tied on, and the wings tied together, and tied to the sleeves. Not sure I'm crazy about how the wings "work" but Raine seemed pleased. The claw effect with the gloves works pretty well. The only thing I haven't made yet is the shoe covers.

So, here's hoping the general response will be, Wow! Where did you get that costume? Instead of the snide, Where did you get that costume?

Monday, October 18, 2010

a ring

Ron and I will celebrate our tenth anniversary, next month. Early on, when we were traveling back and forth from Colorado to New Mexico, Ron set his wedding band on top of the car and then forgot to put it back on before we drove away. We heard it slide off the top of the car, and although we stopped and searched, it was - of course - gone. We really couldn't afford it, but we ponied up and replaced the ring.

When he started working on the construction crew, which sometimes involved electrical work, Ron found a ceramic band that wouldn't conduct electricity and wore that.

Yesterday, he surprised me with a whole new set of rings. Hematite. Beautiful, glossy, deep gray bands. One for each of us. One of the coolest things? They are magnetized, and will stick to each other. As you can tell, I like. I like very much. Some people may go for gemstones, and I will admit those are beautiful, but this is MY style. Totally.

Friday, October 15, 2010

regular Americans

A couple of things, working together, got me thinking today. Yeah, I know, it must be a mistake. Still, It seemed like fodder for a blog, so here goes.

Part One: Bill O'Reilly went on the program The View, and whatever else it was he talked about, I saw the clip where he talks about the Mosque that is proposed to be built near where the Twin Towers went down. His point was that the mosque should not be there because Muslims killed us. Two of the women who are on the view, Joy Behar and Whoopie Goldberg both objected to his wording, saying essentially that it wasn't ALL Muslims, but extremist Muslims that did that terrible crime. Bill O'Reilly got loud, and the two women walked off the set.

Part Two: This morning, as I got in my car, to drive to work, the radio personalities on the morning show that I listen to were evidently referencing that program, and those events, and had said something like, regular Americans agree with Bill O'Reilly. I didn't hear what they actually said, so I am not pretending to quote them. They had a caller who asked them who they meant by "regular" Americans. They responded politely, and then the debate started on exactly what a "regular" American was, and if that term was offensive. Evidently there was indeed some debate on that issue, but I felt like that debate sidetracked the heart of the issue. THAT was what got me started thinking.

It seems to hinge on the idea of "regular." Who is a "regular" American? Certainly I feel that I fall in that category. My family exists within the median income of our area. We attended public schools, and my daughter attends one now. I was born in America, and can trace my roots back to American colonial times. Still, my ancestors - at least some of them - were immigrants. Perhaps I'm smarter than average, and with a Master's Degree more educated than many. Does that take me out of the "regular" pool?

Setting aside the issue of whether a mosque should be built near ground zero, let's consider a few things. Regular Muslims did not attack us on 911. Extremists did. Extremist Christians can be just as violent and murderous, as Timothy McVeigh proved in Oklahoma. Bill O'Reilly is, to my mind, an extremist. His views are designed to cause drama and contention, and that's what he gets paid for. Without the controversy, he wouldn't stay in the spotlight long. Sure, there are "regular" Americans who believe what he says, and agree with some if not all of his views. If agreeing with Bill O'Reilly is what it takes to be a "regular" American, however, you can count me out. How big a step is it from agreeing with an extremist to actually being one? I don't know.

Of course, there are those who would consider my political views extreme, if only because they don't mirror their own. So. What is a "regular" American? I'm not really sure. I'm not sure the radio personalities came to any conclusion this morning either. I had to turn the radio off, and go into work. To my mind, Joy, Whoopie, and the morning caller all had the same basic idea. Don't blame everyone for what extremists are willing to do. So many definitions of "regular" and no context to compare it to. What are discriminating minds to do?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

celtic music

I really enjoy Celtic music. It is lively, and joyful, and there is just something about the harmonies that reaches me. Because of my interest in Celtic music, I've listened to more folk music and decided that I really enjoy a lot of that as well. Notice I said fold, not country. Yeah, there is a big difference. Not so much into the "pop" music all those kids listen to today. Yep, fuddy in my duddy.

Anyway, I just spent a very pleasant hour (or almost hour) listening to Celtic music on The Thistle and Shamrock, the Celtic music show that NPR plays. They stream it afterwards, and they have the last three shows available on the Thistle and Shamrock website. LOVE. IT. Wanted to share.

One of the things about this new-fangled computer age is the ability to listen or watch when you are ready. This show comes on at a bad time for me, on the radio, but I can just listen to it whenever I want, from the web. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

we all know one

A cat with a shoe fetish. Come on. Admit it. Here's Ginger, happily using Raine's sneaker as a pillow. Not even the disturbance of Raine and I talking about it, Raine coming over to look at her, then me going to get the camera and snapping a photo disturbed her enough that she moved.

At least she didn't have her head buried inside it. At least she wasn't wearing it for a hat. This time.

She did talk to us about it, as she talks to us about many things, especially things she is not happy about, or things she wants us to do for her. Or things she is about to do that she shouldn't.

If you like cats, and you haven't checked out Simon's Cat, you should.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

someone else's creativity

Raine went to a birthday party this evening. Oh. Yeah. I did too. Made for a long day for me, but Raine had a good time, and the party was at one of her favorite places: Chuck E Cheese.

The birthday boy is one of her friends from school, and he is a nice kid, and his family are nice people, too. I got to meet his grandmas and grandpas and even some great grandmas & great grandpas. Pretty cool, really, that lineage, and getting to know them all. One of the things that Raine won't have.

Anyway, his grandma was talking about making this cow costume for his older sister, when she was 3 or so, and how she had recently dug it up, and the girl - being a kid, as kids will - tried it on. It fit around her body, and she could get her arms in the sleeves. AH-HA thinks her grandma. She opens up the front and puts in a zipper, cuts off the little cow legs and adds them to the sleeves. Voila! a cow jacket! OMG it was really cute and fuzzy and it even had the ears and horn on the hood. I loved it!

Monday, October 11, 2010

a case of the mondays

Can I take them back and only have half a case? Maybe just a six-pack would be enough. There was stuff to do today that I didn't get done, darn it, and I'm going to bed anyway. Soon.

First I wanted to show you my shirt, which I enjoyed wearing today. Even though you can't tell from my expression, I got some nice complements on it today. I think it will work well as a jacket-y thing too. I like the way jackets look. I just get too hot in them, generally speaking. Long sleeves as well, unless it is really cold, and I'm outside. Well, I wore them in the Colorado winters, but not so much in the New Mexico ones.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

getting closer to done

The costume, I mean. I got to work on it for a while on Saturday. Got the wings mostly constructed, and the sleeves, too. There is some edging to be done with bias tape on both, and on the vest as well. I think it will help reinforce areas that will be pierced with grommets as well make those edges look more finished. A lot of parts are going to be tied together, and we are almost ready to start putting in the holes.I think it will look pretty cool, plus then Raine can choose the parts she wants to wear, and be creative with her costume for Halloween and beyond. The one thing I haven't tackled is a shoe cover. Something to be a dragon foot over her sneaker. I don't think it will be hard, but I haven't gotten my head all around it yet. I hope I have enough of the snake skin pleather to do the shoe covers with... and I THINK I do.

I did get my shirt finished. The one with the black and white flowers. I really like the way it turned out, yay me and Roxanne. I'll be wearing it to work tomorrow. This afternoon, I only had a short time to sew with Roxanne (some Sunday's are like that). While she finished the hems and waistband for her tan slacks, I worked on paisley. Yep, we pulled out the embroidery machine and got to work on that linen tunic top. We are ending up with Paisleys around the hemline, with a mild learning curve involving the logistics of embroidering on an already constructed garment. Evidently, embroidery should be completed on a traced out piece that isn't really even cut out yet. Then you don't have to struggle so much with getting the fabric on the hoop, or fearing that you are going to embroider the front and the back of the garment together. Still I think the paisleys will look very cool around the hemline of the top, and we can add other decorative stitching around the neckline. Each paisley takes over 10 minutes to embroider, but you push a button and the machine takes off, no footpedal to control or anything. Better than watching the drier spin the clothes!

Friday, October 8, 2010

october sewing

Well, the nine weeks is over, and done. I feel a little free this weekend. Free-er than perhaps I should, since I need to do some planning and prep for next week, but I don't feel overwhelming pressure at this point. ahhhh

I'm hoping hoping hoping to get some sewing done tomorrow. Raine's costume isn't finished yet, and I would like to work on it. There are dragony wings to construct, and sleeves to edge and finish. The hood needs some attention as well. My pedal foot is itching and I really want to see how it all comes together. I also have some finishing touches to put on a couple of the things Roxanne and I worked on last weekend.

I'm sure Raine will be as happy as I to have that sewing get done on her costume.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

a little brag

I know that none of you (well, unless you landed here purely by accident) will be surprised if I say that I am a proud mama. Oh, sure, I am under no mistaken illusion that my child is perfect. She pushes boundaries like I never did. Still she's cute, and articulate, and bright, and a good artist. She loves to draw. She will occasionally color in a coloring book, but - really - she prefers to make up her own pictures. She's seven, and although there is a primitive quality to her drawing - not to mention a lot of dragons, creatures and dinosaurs - I think she shows some real talent.

Last summer, she took a multicultural arts and crafts class, where she got to try out some cool techniques and learn what a paisley is. Since then, her drawings have become more complex. There are tribal elements, and textures that weren't there before.

I think it is cool because, even though I'm artistic in other ways, drawing isn't my forte. Stick figures and drafting are about my speed. Her dad has much more of that graphic artist talent, spacial sense and eye for color.

I couldn't find all the pieces I was thinking of posting, but here are some that rather show (off) what I'm talking about. The first picture is - of course - Raine. The next one is a piece she did during the multicultural art class. Then there is a flying dragon with a texture, and a tribal design lizard. That is followed by a little tribal guy she drew while we were at gaming. Then is a textured and colored dragon/dinosaur. Finally, a drawing of our cat, Ginger... and a pretty good likeness, too.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

post, what post?

It's late. Well, late enough that I should be on my way to bed. Later than I wanted it to be, those darn Ghost Hunters, distracting me for a whole hour. When the chimes rang for 10 PM, it surprised me for some dumb reason. I didn't think it should be so late already. I have this great idea for a post, and I want to do it, but I don't have time tonight. Sorry. I just don't. I'm a morning person, and morning ran out a looong time ago, today.

I would love to have some alternate idea, and write, because I really feel like writing, but check that last sentence in the preceding paragraph. Yep, still holds true.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

long weekend into fall

It has been a nice, long weekend. I have graded a ton of papers, and feel like I have accomplished what I needed to, even though there are still a few left to grade. Plus whatever gets turned in tomorrow. I didn't get to sew as much as I wanted, but still, the grades need to get turned in on Friday. Half-way through the semester, you know.

Here in southern New Mexico, it has been warm through September. Not the record breaking temperatures that have hit California, but still, many days have been in the 90's. We got rain Monday night, and tonight a sprinkle as well. It was lovely and cool and cloudy this morning. I'm hoping for the same tomorrow. Finally, fall is teasing us. I looked into the trees I have in my front yard. There are definitely yellow leaves up in there, and some on the ground as well. The shedding has started. Of course the leaves hang on until the first frost, which might not happen until sometime in November, and then the trees will divest themselves of foliage within the day. Still, fall. Its coming. I know it is.

And thus starts the long, fast slide into the holiday season...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

i must be getting old...

This weekend is fair weekend. When I was growing up, the school gave us at least half a day off on the Friday of fair week, and kids got in for half price on that day, as well. One of the best things about walking into the fair was the display of tractors and farm equipment, right as you came in. I think every kid that came into the fair climbed on at least one of those tractors. Then came the travel trailers and the mobile homes. I think we at least peeked into every one. I remember buildings full of animals on display, school artwork on display, and so many other arts and crafts as well. There were six or eight old barracks buildings that held them all, and we would stroll from building to building, pausing to watch the duelling melodramas performed by the high school drama classes. Each school would take a turn performing, with the audience changing between each play. In the meantime, students in costume would stand outside the area and try to entice people in to watch. We always saved the midway for last, of course, and would finally ride home tired, and happy.

Ron and I took Raine to the fair Friday night. The tractor display is still at the entrance, but no-one gets to climb on them any more. There was one mobile home on display, and no travel trailers. The animal barns seem smaller, and there are fewer animals shown, although the livestock auction was going strong while we were there. There is one building for commercial displays, and another for the judged arts and crafts. Although there was another building for some of the school art displays, the number of arts and crafts entries seemed smaller than last year, not to mention my memories of crowded displays from my childhood.

I want the fair to be that great memory I have from my childhood, but it isn't. It's smaller. In some ways, it seems smaller in that I-remembered-it-as-bigger way, but I think that fairs are out of fashion. The area is increasingly urban, and there are fewer people willing to compete in those farm and ranch and homemaking craft sorts of activities. Oh, sure, 4H is there, but the schools don't seem to have the presence they once did. Yes, people go out for the carnival rides, but there is so much missing, to me.

Then, in the middle of my nostalgia, I was sitting and watching the people go by, and I saw a fairly young woman, walking with three young children. With my nostalgia eyes, I thought about how I would have thought her old when I was a kid. Because kids do. Grown-up = old. Last night, I thought more that though she walked with the authority of Mom to those kids, to me she looked like a kid. A kid having kids. I must be getting old.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

waiting on the week to end

Next week, we get a modified fall break. Two days off, and I'm ready to take them. Now. I kept hoping all day today that it was Friday already.

But of course its only Thursday today. Can't be all bad, though, it means Project Runway, and this week, we got to tune in.

The state fair is open this weekend. I like to take Raine, but I'm not sure how the logistics will work out.

Come on, weekend...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

run out of steam

For several weeks, I was very conscientious about making my walking goal. This week, not so much. Do you know what? I can really feel it today. I have no energy, I let myself be bored, even. I mean, when I can't figure out something to do instead of being bored.... well it doesn't often happen. That's for sure.

So, in a way, some negative reinforcement has occurred. I don't like this feeling, and I know how to fix it. Get off my butt, and walk. You bet I will, tomorrow, and the day after, and the rest of this week. Back to that goal, with the knowledge it really will make me feel better, besides just being, you know, good for me.

Monday, September 27, 2010

what's left of the pile

So I seem to be getting a lot of mileage out of this past weekend's sewing projects. While I didn't actually sew on this shirt this past weekend, it is mostly done, needing only the collar to be attached, the hem and the buttons and button holes. Thinking of the shirt is what got me looking for it though, and running across those other needing-to-be-finished projects, though.

First of all, I love this fabric. It has depth and visual texture to the print that I really like. I usually go for colors more than black and white (I'm a disaster in white, and can't reasonably expect more than one wearing without stains, and black is too.... trendy or something). Anyway, as you can see this fabric has layers to it. It also feels good. It has body, yet it is soft. Since it is cotton, it will also breathe well.

I'm making a button down long shirt, with a collar and short sleeves. I'm hoping it will work both as a button up blouse, and a short sleeved jacket for versatility. It is more fitted than my usual shirt, but Roxanne and I are trying to practice some more tailored items. This upcoming weekend will be a long one for me, so even with time out to visit the fair, I'm hoping I'll have it finished to wear next week.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

the rest of yesterday's pile

Here is some detail of the shirt I talked about yesterday. I added 3 of the buttons, and made loops for closures. I also tacked down the facing at the back of the neck, which is poofing up in this picture. The red line at the edge is a small, close zig-zag stitch, which wasn't really visible in yesterday's picture, even though I mentioned it. Inside the front pieces is a lining of red brocade with black flowers.

I'm making the loops for the buttons from crochet thread, to give them a little heft, but not too much. I didn't want to mark the front of the top with actual button holes. The pattern I based this top off of would not have opened in the front at all, so I kind of had to figure that out for myself.

I finished Raine's pajamas, too. Dinosaurs on them, so they were pretty popular. She wore them to bed tonight in fact. I'll have to look around for the fabric scraps because her favorite stuffed dog, Jody, needs pajamas like hers. I think if you click the picture, you can see the fabric of the pajamas pretty well.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

at the top of the pile

Ron and I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday. We picked up a few things and as we were walking through the fabric department, I noticed a bolt that looked familiar. I had bought some of that fabric... and cut out a top... and and ????

So this morning I looked for it. Hmmmm not in my closet, so evidently not finished. Not in the current basket of things to sew up. Well, what about this basket of stuff that needs black thread? Sure enough, there it was, with Raine's new dinosaur pajamas, and her brocade top that I needed to sew up before she out grows it... which could be any day now.

Even though I want to finish the top for me, and I really want to get to wear it, Raine's top jumped to the top of the pile. Once I got going one it, it came together quickly and nicely, although the brocade is a little slippery. I was very pleased with the effect of the small line of zig-zag that I learned on the tunic, used as an edging on this top. Now all it lacks are closings - we picked a round, metallic filigree button that I will close with loops of thread or cording, and the edging on the bottom hemline. You know, instead of the safety pin that is holding the front closed in the photo, here. Now Raine has a nice shirt she can wear to those occasions when she needs to dress up a little.

Friday, September 24, 2010

trying again

Last week, when it was Friday, I recounted how my drive home was terrible, but that I was sure the rest of the weekend would be better. Without going into emotional details, let me just say, not so much.

So here it is, Friday again. I keep thinking that this is the four-day weekend, when really that is NEXT weekend, but we have had two days of work without classes. That sort of counts. At least in the "but darn, I still had to get up early" way. The drive home was not horrendous. In fact, because I had a switch thing changed out in my car, and it was shifting gears more smoothly, the drive was actually better than it had been. Thanks to Ron picking up my car for me on Thursday - while I was still doing parent/teacher conferences - I was able to drive it.

On the down-side, Raine is in trouble at school. She'll be working this weekend in consequence, but it is at this point calm consequence, not the raving kind of earlier. After a brief respite, evidently, the tests for this year resume. That, and Roxanne will be out of town this weekend, so I won't get to go sew with her. I'm hoping I can get some sewing done anyway. That is my plan, at any rate.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

sank hevans...

for leetle web sites that have TV showz...

So Tuesday I found out that the first episode of Castle for season 3 aired... on Monday. Of course, I was driving up to Ruidoso, and had no idea. And other priorities. As it should be. Still, I enjoy me some Castle. Yay Nathan Fillion!

So yesterday evening, I checked on Hulu, and VOILA, there it was, ready for me to watch, which I did, and enjoyed. If you haven't watched it yet, I suggest you do. It was a good episode for a season opener, and not the typical episode while being very true to the series. Don't want to say more, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. But watch. Soon.

Tonight, I missed Project Runway. I knew I was going to. Parent/teacher conferences end at 7, and that means I get home around 8. So. Yeah. BUT, I check this morning on Hulu. Sure enough, there is last week's episode of PR. Soo.... I will get to watch it before next week. Yay!

Thank you, Hulu.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

...and, it's back to...

Well, nothing monu is connecting to my mental. Ahh well. I did look through Letters of Note and the letter from Rod Serling about movies not being written to be cut up for the insertion of commercials so that they can be shown on television. Have to say that I agree with that. Even more these days when the commercial time starts to overtake the program time.

I'm kinda sad that I will miss Project Runway tomorrow. Parent/teacher conferences at school, and we won't get out until 7 PM. Sigh. There is always next week, when it will be re-run, but that just isn't the same.

Yeah, I think that's about it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

memories past & future

Last Spring Break, we traveled to Houston, to reconnect with our family on my mom's side. It had been years, like 15 or so, since I had last been to Houston, and a little longer for Carl. Many of those relatives had not met Ron nor Raine. We had a great time, and it was important as well, because one of my cousins was fighting a battle with cancer that he has since lost.

This past weekend, his brother Mark flew into El Paso, to go to Ruidoso, so that he could drive their mom to Houston for the memorial service. He then drove her back to Ruidoso, and was facing another shuttle ride from there to the airport, and a flight back to Houston. Yesterday evening, Raine and I packed a bag, drove up to Ruidoso, spent the night and then brought Mark to Las Cruces for a brief stop, lunch at Carrillos, and then we drove him to the airport.

While we were in Ruidoso, Mark pulled out the photo albums and showed Raine some pictures from when we were kids. Back then, his family and mine would meet for camping vacations, and they would often make a special effort to spend time with our family when we took our annual trip to the Houston area, and down to the bay. Mark and his brother Steve would play with my brothers and I, and those are some great memories.

Spending time with Mark today, I was also reminded of his father, whom I remember fondly from those childhood days, and later when I would make an occasional trip to Ruidoso to visit he and my aunt, or they would arrange to meet us at White Sands when the cousins came for a visit.

My hope is that if each of us is willing to put forth a little time and effort, we can find those moments that will create more memories for us, for our families and for our children. I am reminded that some people are treasures, but you don't want to keep their memories in a book, or a box. You want to interact with them, because you feel in some way they are going to continue to contribute to your life in many memorable ways.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

more sewing

I posted in my Createlivity blog some of my finished sewing this week. I've also been working on Raine's Halloween costume. I have finished - or nearly finished - a few of the pieces, but there is more to do. Here is how it looked before I went to Roxanne's today.

My key for this costume is versatility. I am making some pretty simple parts so that she can put them together, all or some, and create the creature she wants to be, whether it is a reptile, a dinosaur or even a dragon or wyvern.

When it is finished, there will be detachable long sleeves (it gets HOT here, even in October) that will cover part of her hands, so if she has on gloves, the gloved fingers will look like claws. There will also be wings to attach to the sleeves, if she feels like flying. I'm also working on a hood (with horns). Facepaint will probably complete the look on Halloween.

The pants and vest are a snakeskin like dark green, almost black, pleather. The shirt underneath is cotton with dark, irregular dots to add some texture. I also have another green cotton print to help line the hood (pleather) and help make the wings. The sleeves will be pleather as well, with a lining near her hand, in case she wants to turn them up a little.

I'm hoping that she will enjoy adding these pieces to her costume box to play with all year long. If she likes the way it turns out, I also have plans for gold/red pieces.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

halloween costume

It is coming along. Or at least it was. was getting ready to work on the long sleeves. I decided to do detachable long sleeves, so the costume doesn't have to be so hot. Then, I also want to be able to attach wings to the arms via the long sleeves. Versatility is my key, here. I wanted Raine to try on what I have so far. Maybe even get a picture. But, no. She was too busy doing something else.

Well, alrighty then. Tomorrow, I hope that I can actually get out to Roxanne's and get some sewing done there. I packed some thread colors that I think will be pertinent. I think there is some cutting out that needs to be done. Hope I can get to that tomorrow, too. I'm usually in charge of the serger work, and that can go pretty quickly. I'm so loving that serger machine. Here's hoping I can remember to take my camera, too. I couple of the found fabric projects that we are currently working on are for Roxanne, and nearly done. Maybe I can get her to model at least one of them for me.