Sunday, February 28, 2010

what the...

Crafts and sewing are always on my personal to-do list. Weekends usually mean sewing for me, which I generally enjoy. I certainly have been enjoying the additions to my wardrobe. This weekend, both Roxanne and Dev were not feeling well. That wouldn't necessarily stop me from sewing on my own, but I didn't seem to get to it this weekend. Of course, as I wrote yesterday, I ran the first installment of Star Trek for our gaming group, and preparing for that took some time. Evidently, it took any time I would have used for sewing. Since I want to run the game again next Saturday, I'll have to make sure that time is spent earlier in the week, so that my sewing time does not suffer further.

We bought an extra turkey, when they were cheap, near Christmas-time. Carl put it into the fridge to thaw earlier this week, and we cooked it today. Oh. My. Goodness. It was so good! Now, I don't necessarily want a turkey dinner (with leftovers and sundry secondary turkey dishes) every week, or even every month, but it is not really a difficult dish to prepare, and it is so tasty. Takes a bit of freezer space to store, and even more challengingly, fridge space when thawing. Still. I think we should manage this a couple more times a year. Really. *penciling in on the list...*

Saturday, February 27, 2010

now i've done it

I've gone and reffed (DM'ed?) Star Trek. In a role playing game. Not any official role playing game, you understand, but some quick ideas of rules that I've had kind of rolling (role-ing?) around in my head. And this situation that has been churning up there too.

Now, I won't say it was beautiful, or artistic, nor much of anything spectacular, but I done it, and now its been done. Next time will be better (if they let me have a next time, that is). Everyone was pretty nice about the whole thing, too. I tried not to drag it out too long tonight.

I've got a plan for next time at this point, and that is a good thing. Who knows, a couple more weeks and it will be an official scenario, and someone else will have put together something to run out of self defense.


Friday, February 26, 2010

made it

Well, I made it through the week. I bragged about my very challenging class yesterday, because 75% of them are passing at this point (AND with many B's and C's instead of D's) opposed to the 50% (with many D's) at the end of the first semester. Then today, one of the girls - freshmen, mind you - came to class with the news that she was pregnant, and even had her prenatal vitamins from the on campus clinic. A little later, a fight broke out. During class. That girl wanted to start it with another girl, but her "friend" started it instead since she is pregnant. Lovely, right? Sigh.

Most of the other students in the class were rather upset with the events, and I didn't blame them. Many of them wanted to "testify" for one side or the other. I told them to write up their statements, and many of them did. I turned them all in with mine. I'm really glad that I'm not going back tomorrow. A couple of days for all of us to regain our equilibrium will be good.

On a sock front, one of my friends on campus who knits socks looked at the sock I'm working on and reassured me it was going OK. She shared her tried and true pattern for easy socks, as well. I think that I understand the heel turning part now. That was what I was stuck on.

I will try and think happy thoughts this weekend, I'll have to sew a little on my own, since Roxanne isn't feeling well. Rest, I told her, rest! I'm also trying to put together a Star Trek scenario for my gaming group. The stopping point? Which version of what rules should I use? Right now, I'm leaning toward making up my own. (How bad could that be?)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

the state of eduation...or at least teaching

Here in New Mexico, and other places I'm sure, state budget concerns have teachers' attention. The state government is considering cutting state employee's salaries next year to help balance the state's budget. Teachers may not be direct state employees, but we all know where the majority of the money comes from, don't we? So, yes, there is the distinct possibility that next year my salary will be less than it is this year. Class sizes have already increased, along with those nebulous "duties to be assigned later."

Thanks to "No Child Left Behind," many schools in this area are in one stage or another of restructuring, including the school I work at. Mandate after mandate seems to head our way, and each includes more work for teachers to do, trying to make the gains mandated by the Federal Government. Hoops we jump through, motions we go through, to "show" the state that we are doing everything they ask... and yet, I'm not sure what the effects - other than keeping the school from being taken over by the state - are. Honestly, I'm more and more of the opinion that we should just let the state take over the school. Let's see THEM do more with what we work with!

Of course I want my students to succeed in school, and in their lives beyond high school. I really, really want them to grow into socially and fiscally responsible adults. I have faith that many of them will, despite the shortcomings of modern, American education in general - and Gadsden High School in specific. I know that a majority of teachers on campus that do what they can to make it happen. Still, there are some things that are just not in our power. Things that I get frustrated to be evaluated on when they are not in my control.

Changes are underway in this profession. Fundamental changes that will be fueled by technology, and financial concerns. I have ideas, as always, but I'm not sure I have the energy to lead some of the change, or the courage to forge into that possibility, even though I know the benefits that could be there.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Sitting here staring at the blank space. Not much coming to mind, its one of those days. I've used up any imagination I had today. I'm pretty much out of energy, as well. Hope you had a good day today, and that tomorrow is a good one as well.

Monday, February 22, 2010

heel, toe

Well, I'm knitting a sock. That's the theory, at least. I have a book, and I'm following the instructions. What could be easier? I'm used to following patterns, right? Right!

I'm stuck on the heel, you see. Stuck because although I'm following the instructions as I understand them (with the knowledge my understanding could be faulty) I'm not sure that what I have on my needles is really what the pattern is leading to. Hmmmm I've read through. I've counted stitches, and rows, and... Now I'm at the heel turn (?) and getting ready for the gussets.I'm not sure, but even though I already have 4 needles, I feel like I might need another one, and I know that is just wrong.

What I need is someone to show it to. Someone to ask, "Is this right?" Since I have friends at work who also knit, I think I'll take it to work and ask. Even though I know the people I'm going to ask probably won't have read or used the book I'm using. The second sock will be easier. Right?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

embroidery machine

Yep, we pulled it out today and fired it up. We didn't have a lot of time to play with it, but we will... oh, yes. We only got 2 things embroidered, and they were both experiments, trying to find the right pattern to embroider on Ron's mom's top, with the right color thread. Since the thread broke on the snow flake, I traded out thread, to see how the other color looked. The silver looks good, but the darker gray is growing on me, although it has more brown in it than I would like.

Of course that wasn't the only thing we got accomplished. Candice's dress has been cut out, except for the lace top layer. The bodice pieces have all been serged, with the top layers serged to a innerfacing and the inside layer serged to the canvas. Now the front is ready for the beading. Next week we'll tackle the lace. Maybe. We added a some length to the nightgown we made for Roxanne last time. We put hems in Carl's new pants, and fixed some velcro on Raine's costume. No, I didn't get started sewing any of the items I had cut out, but that is OK.

The embroidery machine will take a little learning. Mostly, where the patterns are, how to get to all of them, where to get more and how to make more. It's a nice machine, and it seems to work well. It is odd that it has no foot pedal, but then, the sewing is pretty much automated. Even when the thread breaks, the machine stops and lets you know...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

star trek online

So it's finally happened. The Star Trek MMORPG has actually come into existence. And, as of today, I've actually played it. I've bee watching Ron play for about a week now, a little at a time, but I've been granted a 5 day free trial.Will I play on past that? I'm not sure yet.

First of all, there is a learning curve, and in Wow, I've pretty much mastered that learning curve. I know what I do OK at, and what I don't. In ST, I pretty much suck at everything. So far, at least. I know, I'd get better... But it's kind of like making new friends... do I really want to put the time and energy into seeking them out and cultivating them right now. Not sure about that one.

The game was made by Cryptic, which also made City of Heroes, which I've played, and liked, but seemed to get repetitive. Does WoW? yeah, but in a different way, kind of. There are some issues with the camera following the target instead of "being my eyes," so to speak. Where the camera keeps looking at the target, even if I would like the character to be able to turn and look somewhere else. I didn't like that when it happened in champions online, either. _I_ want to decide where I get to look, and which direction the character faces...

I'm not very good at combat, but that holds true of almost any game I play. I understand that, and live with it, and try not to inflict it on people who don't know it ahead of time. My computer seems laggy. I suck at going to pick up things first. This game has a rotating loot feature which is good, but there are also random kinds of "first one there" kinds of loot, too. Ron has to be very patient with me, and he generally is. (I also let him play on his own, so he doesn't always have me around holding him back.)

I love Star Trek. I have since I was a kid, when I would watch Kirk, Spock, and McCoy adventure in prime time, when it first aired. I remember how upset I was when the timeslot changed to 9PM, because that was bedtime! I would stand in the hall out of sight to watch for as long as I could, until my parents would call out to see if I was in bed... at which point I would run down the hall, dive under the covers and sing out sweetly, "Yes, I am..." I'm sure they never had a clue (ha!). I practiced falling down from a phaser set on stun, posing modestly, like Uhura would. Yep, I'm a geek all right. There is a fondness. I really, really WANT to love this game. I'm just not sure the game that was made is the one I want to play... or even if that would be possible.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

ready for the weekend

I'm ready indeed. What is it about a short work week that manages to seem longer that the normal one? Is it the knowledge that you COULD have the day off? The you COULD be doing more fun stuff at home (or at least stuff of your own choosing...) I think Raine struggles with this every day, long weekend or not. She'll be so disappointed to become an adult and still have the same dilemma.

So I'm knitting a pair of socks, this time with heels. I'm doing a little bit of a cable pattern, and I think its turning out well. I'll be starting on those heels soon. Hope THAT goes well.

I'm already looking forward to sewing this weekend. We won't be working on my inspirations this weekend, but I'm going to be writing them down so I remember them and can work on them...eventually. Of course since a big part of both of those inspirations have embellishments, I'll have to practice them before they actually go into a garment. We need to get further on the wedding dress, and then we can pull out the embroidery machine, and have some fun with that.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

e-book learning curve

So Ron did show me how to put an e-book on my little Walkman. I successfully downloaded a book, and then drag and drop it on the player. So, there was a nice success.

Now, here is the next part. I listened to the first 40 or so minutes of the book on the way to work, with no problem. Then... well, how do you save your place? If you aren't going to be gone long, you can hit the pause button. If you are going to be gone longer, the player shuts itself off. When you turn it back on, the book starts at the beginning again. Sigh. I figured out how to "fast forward" it (that is in quotation marks but it isn't very fast, really) but you have to continuously hold down the button while it counts off the seconds. Annoying enough when you are searching through 40 or so minutes of book, it would be daunting to have to run through 6 or 10 hours of a book. THEN, if that weren't enough, if you aren't careful, and you push the button in the wrong way, you've undone all that fast forwarding, and you are back at the beginning.

So, I don't know that I can save my spot on the Walkman. I sure wish I knew how. What would help? If these books were organized in chapters, that's what. I could scan through chapters, and start the one I stopped on, either from the beginning of the chapter, or even fast forward through some of it without taking too long.

Until I figure that out, it looks like e-books on the computer, or on the Walkman for road trips. Still, I'll like it then, too.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


So, tonight I'm writing about something to go back on my to-do list for next winter. Every winter, my allergies act up. Usually, this ends with my sinuses closing up which results in a terrible sinus infection for me. Year, after year, after year.

Carl has had a neti pot for a few years now. He found out about it for sinuses and got one, which he uses occasionally. I kept thinking about how I hated the feeling of water in my sinuses (remembered from my childhood summers in the pool) and the idea of pour something into one nostril and having it pour out of the other just kind of freaked me out.

It took me a couple of years to actually work up to using the neti pot, and even then, although I could tell that it cleared my sinuses temporarily, it still felt weird to have my sinuses filled with water, and that lovely taste of salt water... well, you can have it.

This year, however, I truly came to appreciate the neti pot. I've been using it pretty regularly. Maybe not every night, but close. I've had sinus issues, to the point - OK here's the part where any squeemish types might want to skip over - even to the point where the neti had to kind of have a couple of tries to get all the way through (but it did, finally). I've even had a cold, and a couple of nights sleeping in the chair. Still, I've not had to have antibiotics. I consider that a pretty major accomplishment, and I feel like the season is coming to an end.

So, to neti or not to neti... Well, as unpleasant as gargling salt water is, it serves a purpose. Running that salt water through your sinuses serves a purpose as well. I try not to think about it too much at this point, or the whole in one nostril and out the other thing with still freak me out a little. Still it's better than poking things into your eyes, for me (you know - like wearing contacts). Salt water and not having to take antibiotics, that is the big plus for me. Allergy not turning into infection. That's the deal right there. It doesn't hurt that clearing your sinuses helps you breathe, and since I tend to do the neti right before bed time, well, breathing while sleeping, an even bigger plus.

The neti pot isn't fun for me, but I do respect that it has helped me through this allergy season, and I'll be using the tool again next year.

Monday, February 15, 2010

president's day off

It was a good day off. I slept late, and Raine did too. That was a good thing, because she had been up late, worrying a loose tooth. (she still has the tooth, but it's barely hanging on) We ate breakfast at MVK, and shopped at Sam's and when we came home, I hit the kitchen, doing the dishes - there really weren't as many as I thought - and getting some tomato soup made and some dip made. I didn't use the blue cheese, but opted instead for avocado in the cream cheese. If you haven't found them yet, we get these pouches of avocado at Sam's in a three pack. You can freeze them to make them last longer. They are basically smashed avocado, not guacamole, not fillers, just avocado. We consider them a "find." I've seen a single serving version in Wal-mart, which is fine for packing in your lunch, but the three pack is a good size. This dip is going great with the pork rinds, although with a little salsa added, it would be yummy on celery, too.

So, after I was done in the kitchen - smelling all the while the yummy roast Carl had put in the oven for dinner - I got the table out, and spent the later part of the evening cutting, cutting, cutting out clothes. A couple of shirts for Ron, actually. I have another shirt for me I want to get going on, too, but didn't get it done, yet. I got to watch some of the Project Runway marathon, though. A couple of the episodes that I had missed and wanted to see. I was very interested in seeing what they had done with the potato sacks. Wow. I must say. They also had a challenge that entailed sewing for "real" women, and this coming week, for kids. See, now THOSE are the challenges I want to see. I'm not that interested in "sewing for a model" per se, but for people! I am learning from their comments and perspectives, though, and I find it interesting. Did I tell you that I dreamed about doing Project Runway challenges? The main one was being inspired by autumn. I came up with a very cool idea, and I think I will try it out some sewing saturday.

Raine doesn't seem in danger of strep at the moment. She did get to play hours of Spore this afternoon. I hope it doesn't ruin her chances of having a good day in school tomorrow... Sigh. school tomorrow...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

sunday chores

Sounds like I've been busy, doesn't it? But not too much, really. It was a nice Valentine's day, and Ron and I celebrated by eating at the Japanese Kitchen. We had a delicious meal that we couldn't afford every day. It was a wonderful treat.

Of course we did laundry, as usual. But the dishes will keep until tomorrow. They always seem to keep, don't they? Never do clean themselves, do they.

I got to play a good bit of World of Warcraft with Ron, as well, and that was enjoyable. Raine even had a good time, attending Ezekiel's birthday party and having a sleepover. Then, today, Carrie's mom called and said Ezekiel had a fever... and then later (after we picked up Raine, of course) she said he had strep. Now the waiting period. I hope she doesn't get sick, but if she does, well, it happens. At least she's had a good week.

Finally, I finished up Ron's grandmother's Christmas rocking horse, and will get it ready for the mail tomorrow. That, and cut some new sewing projects out, and maybe even do a little sewing. I'm trying not to fill the time up too much with I want to's since those dishes are waiting, and we still need to hit Sam's, and a nap might just sneak up on me if I let it... but still, it sounds like a good day in the waiting.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

saturday sewing accomplishments

Dev joined us today, and we got a lot done. Roxanne altered a couple of tops before we even got there. We did a mock-up of Candice's bodice, and she even made it there to try on. It fit well, yay! Dev's expertise helped us to put the seams in the right places, and next week, we'll cut the fabric, and put some facing on the front piece so that it is ready for beading. Thanks to Roxanne, and her planning and lack of procrastination, we'll have this dress ready before we know it. We also finished up the pair of pants that we had sewed on week before last. I had worked on them some, but (what an excuse) had run out of bobbin thread, and not gotten back to them. We made a nightgown for Roxanne. It was a quick project, and she was happy to have it. Dev brought the strips we put together last week, and we made the strips of 5 into strips of 10. Dev had the black fabric for the framing, so she cut it and got those strips attached as well. We about half of the strips together, and it built up quickly, so the throw that she wanted was there already. Looks like she will have 2 throws from these pieces. It looked really nice with the black between the strips of squares. It made Roxanne want to do some quilting too.

I got my Serger back yesterday, so I took it along, and it came in handy for working on Roxanne's gown, and edging another blanket (another accomplishment today). It was working like a charm, wahoo! Since Monday is a holiday for me, I'm hoping that I'll have a chance to do some cutting out of more projects, then. It might actually be Ron's turn for some loot from sewing Saturday. I really might have to think about one of those quilting projects that are just waiting for me, as well. I've also been thinking more and more about putting some Barbie clothes together. Every once in a while, I pull out those patterns and have some fun with them.

Chores, tomorrow, though.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

a little better

Well, the Walkman issue isn't solved. I guess I'll listen to this book on the computer again. That really isn't that much of a problem or anything, it just doesn't go in the car.

The socks on the other hand are on the needles again. I changed the size of the socks, going for - perhaps - a Raine size instead of my size. I don't know that Raine will really wear them. She may. She may LOVE them, but I can't tell until they are made. It is a smaller round and will go more quickly than the other pair I had started. This managability will be helpful, I think. That may be important by the time I get to the heel flap. I wasn't sure I would start them again so soon, but there you go.

I still want to do something quilty. I have some fabric. I have patterns. I have to wait for a better time. Like after the wedding dress gets made. Still I'll look forward to the Saturday sewing time coming up.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I should be able to work this darned technology. I should. But, I can't seem to get it to do what I want. I know it is something like I'm trying to use the wrong menu or something, but all this stuff that is supposed to be intuitive, evidently isn't. At least not for me. Sigh.

So, I downloaded a new book from the library. It took me a couple of tries (sigh) but I got it. Now, I would like to load it onto my Walkman and be able to listen to it on the way to or from work. Drag and drop? no. sync it up? OK. Now can I drop it in? nope. save the list? Thought I did. pushed the button for that. nope. not saved.

I think I'm using the process that would let the computer play what is on the Walkman, but I really want the Walkman to load up what is on the computer. Frustrated? no, not at all (twitch, twitch) why would you ask?

I dislike being frustrated by this process, I'm kind of short on patience just now, in general, and so... grrr. I'll have to get Ron to do it for me, which - while I know he can do it - doesn't help me learn how. He's not patient enough to show me the several times it will take to learn the process. Besides, he'll want to get it done in the afternoon, before I get home, when it is more convenient for him. I can't blame him for that. Maybe I can ask him extra nice, to please save some patience for me.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Well, I'm listening to the last part of One for the Money on my computer. I found out that my local library has a link to an e-library that has e-books to listen to. I can download them to my digital media player, and take one along for the ride. Cool, huh. This was the first book I downloaded. It took me a couple of days to find the player, and the cords, and charge it up and etc, so my first attempt was just to the computer and I've enjoyed listening to it. I have to admit, though, that I'm looking forward to being able to listen to books while I commute. My carpool has broken up, and I must say I really miss it.

What else? crafting, crafting, crafting. I started a pair of socks. Twice. I took them out again last night because they were making me insane. What I really want is time. Time to make stuff. Time to make different kinds of stuff. Dev made us some really cool beaded spiders for Christmas. They are beautiful. It made me want to make something with beads. arg. That doesn't even mention sewing. Of course I want to do that, too. Then, to top it off, I want to do some more quilting type stuff. (curse you Dev!!!) Oh, and I found out that my serger was ready at the repair shop as well. YAY! Every time I think about making something, I have a hard time decide what's next. Time, I tell you, Time.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Another movie special from Sam's, and what a hoot it is! A zombie movie that is more about family building, and rules of survival, and only peripherally about killing zombies. We laughed, and then we laughed some more. Sure some parts were predictable, but that did not distract from this movie's entertainment value. All that and Bill Murray. Gotta definitely recommend this film.

Of course we're playing a zombie apocalypse role playing game at the moment, and although it is a lot lighter rules than most games we play, we have definitely been enjoying that. We are driving across country, in hopes of unravelling the mystery of the generation of the zombies. Now we've seen ghouls and some strange manlike shadowy figure which flew away on his own wings. Mostly we try not to wreck our vehicles, flip them over and cause them to explode. It's a definite danger, you know.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

different stuff

I've been fighting my annual allergy season. Usually the fight ends with a horrible sinus infection and misery and antibiotics. I felt sure I was headed for that end of the experience this weekend, but may have dodged the bullet... or maybe it just moved into my lungs instead of staying in my sinuses. Either way, I didn't want to spread contagion to Roxanne. She has enough health issues and doesn't need that. I had planned to take Dev with me, so I called her and let her know. She sounded so disappointed that I gave her the choice of chancing infection and I would pick her up and she could come hang out. She took me up on it. We spent the day padding her crutches, and then sewing up some squares into strips as the start of a quilt of some flavor for her.

I haven't gotten to hang out with Dev for a while, and it was nice to catch up. We talked about the bodice/camisole and I got the advice I needed on that. She got to meet Lee, and I got to see how much Mort has grown. We got to listen to Raine and Ezekiel play and argue and play. It was a good day.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

the library

I love libraries. I love books, and I love walking through the stacks, touching a spine here, reading a title there, just roaming for that book that catches my interest. Oh, I go there for specific books too, but there is just something magical about being around all those books.

Our school library seems kind of... paltry. I remember our school library being - well - more. That could be one of those faulty memories, though. Our librarian does a great job, don't get me wrong, and hopefully we'll be getting a new library soon, but, still.

I get out of the habit of going to the library. I'm not sure why. I enjoy books, and I do have quite a collection. It reassures me, I'll always have SOMETHING to read. Still, borrowing books. Reading an author before you buy the whole series... audiobooks. There is just so much there.

Raine and I made it to the library this evening. She had been wanting a cat book, but we got to the area, and a tyrannosaurus book, and a book on matter caught her eye instead. We also found a Magic Treehouse book she hadn't read. Yep, my girl's a reader...

I found out that our library has audio books you can download. I'm blogging here before checking that out online... didn't want to get lost in those stacks and forget to write. I got a book on Couture. Yep, high fashion. Did you see that one coming? (yeah, I was wandering...) Anyway, since I've been thinking more about style and fit and sewing and clothes, and I've even been known to catch an episode or two of Project Runway.... I thought maybe I would look through it. Yeah. It's a good idea. No, I'm not going to copy them, but to see the attention to detail and the details they included. THAT's important to me. Wow.

So, my hope is to get that habit of library started again. We got Raine a library card, so she's set, and happy to go, too.

Monday, February 1, 2010

the pets

It occurred to me that I introduced you to our newest pet, Lee, who is doing quite well, thank you. Carl happily rescued him from the animal shelter, and he has been happy to be rescued.

We have other rescue animals in the family as well. Dixie, the lab/terrier mix was rescued in Denver. She has a terrier tenaciousness, but is a real sweetheart.

Ginger is our cat. She's a Siamese who always has to have the last word. She's a very fond of attention and the people who give it. Ron rescued her in Colorado Springs, right before we got married. Dev and Shannon kept her for a year while we had our house remodeled, and she's almost forgiven them (I'm not sure whether she's mad because they took her, or because they brought her back, though). Right now, she's very patient with Raine, who loves to carry her around.