Tuesday, March 30, 2010

it takes practice

Raine practiced riding her bike this past weekend. She got it for Christmas, but she's still a little intimidated by it. She's got the training wheels, and the helmet, but its going to take some time for her to get familiar enough to really take off on it. You can tell, it takes some concentration to ride.

She also has a scooter, which she got last year. She started off slowly and hesitantly on the scooter, too, usually only one foot on the thing at a time. Once she found a friend to ride with, her skills grew quickly, and now she zooms around the neighborhood with a couple of other kids. I try not to watch too much.

Sooner or later, though it was bound to happen. The crash. The skinned limbs. The drama. It was this evening, and she skinned both elbows. Not too bad, really, in the cosmic scheme of things, but there was blood! (Raine hates to see her own blood.) We washed and antibiotic ointmented and band-aided, and the tears were not long lasting. The experience of healing, and knowing that these things don't last forever is part of her learning experience and practice.

Monday, March 29, 2010

kemah boardwalk

Just when you thought I was done talking about our trip to Houston, out com some more photos. One of the side trips we made was to the Kemah Boardwalk. Yeah, I had never heard of it before either, but it was still fun. We got to see Galveston Bay, complete with boats, a marina, people fishing, and numerous sea birds, including the pelicans I caught on the posts.

There were some rides on the boardwalk, and we road the little train around the boardwalk, Raine, Elaine and I. It was fun, although the whistle was rather shrill, and Raine picked the first car to ride in, of course. Ron also took her on the ferris wheel type ride. She's finally a little better with heights, and enjoyed the thrill.

We met cousins Mark (Elaine's husband) and Steve (who lives in the area) and went to Joe's Crab Shack for lunch. While it isn't a DDD eatery, it is one of Ron's favorites. We did enjoy the seafood, and chatting.

Raine stayed overnight with Steve and his family, for an adventure with 4 wheelers and her cousin Claire. Much fun was had.

Elaine led us out to the boardwalk from Houston, with sketchy directions, and intermittent use of her turn signals. She is very nice, and put forth a lot of effort to get us there, which we appreciated. It was fun to explore part of the area that we had never gotten to before. Of course, after such a long time since either Carl or I were there, there is a lot of places around there we haven't explored...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

no good solution

I've been debating whether to write about this today, but it has been on my mind the past few days, and became a reality today.

Not long ago, Carl adopted Lee, a friendly mutt who found his way into our hearts pretty quickly. He was good with our other dog, Dixie, and with Raine, and seemed to fit well into our family. There were a few problems of course, he emptied the cat food a couple of times (how does a dog his size slither silently under a chair?), but Carl got a gate thing figured out and built.

Then the escapes began. First he climbed through the fence on one side of the yard, into the neighbor's yard to visit with their dog. The neighbor helped us move our fencing panels around to close that route, but the Lee's desire to escape seemed to escalate. Every few days, Carl had to walk through the neighborhood looking for him, following the pointing fingers of the neighbors, "He went that a way..." Each time Ron and Carl would examine the yard, and the fences trying to patch whatever hole Lee had found or created. Mind you, Dixie stayed in the yard each time. Finally, Carl chained him up, and still he broke through one of the boards on the other (not basically new) fence and climbed through. Carl had to move the chain, and go out and unwrap him periodically.

How much is too much? I mean we really like Lee, but we feel responsible for any problems he might cause while roaming the neighborhood, which we are not happy for him to do. We certainly don't want to find him run over, and we live near a fairly busy street. Not to mention fees associated with repeated pick ups from the dog catcher. But, he sure doesn't want to stay in our yard. Carl made the decision, finally, that he would take Lee back to the shelter. It wasn't an easy decision, and we all discussed the alternatives, and possibilities. We have bonded with Lee, and it isn't easy to feel that failure.

I debated posting, as I know there are people who will look on us badly for giving him up. Thinking we weren't serious about adopting him, or didn't do enough to keep him in the family. Maybe they are right, in some ways. Still, how much should it cost? How much change should it take? The yard has successfully held Dixie for 7 years, with only a couple of escapes, easily mended. She was not going out with Lee. He went from going through a pretty rotten fence to being actively destructive to make his way out. Where do you stop the escalation? How much of a cage do you have to subject him to? As you can tell, I'm still conflicted. I feel bad, and sad, even though I think Carl did the right thing. Maybe, just maybe, writing will help me come to grips a little better.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

third planet

One of the cool places we found while we were hanging out in Houston is called Third Planet. it is a comic and game store, and not a small one. Every available space was crammed with stuff, and I'm sure we did not see all of it by any means. They do have a website, and a presence on facebook, as well as myspace and twitter, and they had a lot of fun stuff for all us gaming geeks.

I think I mentioned that I scored a Trek beanie... and I will share his Vulcany goodness with you now... They also had a lot of Tim Burton movie figures, super heroes, Star Wars, goth dolls, along with anime, games games games, and books, as well as, well, comics. A very unpreposessing storefront that was just way too much fun to explore.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

all over but...

Tomorrow we leave for home. We've had a good visit with everyone. Raine really enjoyed her adventure with Steve and Claire. She got to go four-wheeling, and even drive! I think much fun was had.

We got to another of the DDD places for lunch today. It was called the Pita Cafe, and features Bosnian cuisine. It was yummy. I had stuffed bell peppers, while Ron and Carl went for the mix plate, that had chicken and beef kabobs, lamb, a kind of beef sausage link, and beef that was stuffed with cheese and mushrooms. Everything was delicious. Ron ate his cheescake from the deli, and it was fabulous. Oh My Goodness, was it. I tasted it, and it was just sooo good, I could have (but I didn't) hurt myself with it.

We got to a used bookstore, and the place I thought was going to be a huge fabric store, was instead a small sewing machine shop. Sigh. I did get to a quilting store near where my aunt lives, and that was fun. We also got to spend a really nice evening visiting again. Sometimes, visiting with your relatives can help you refind, and refine, your place in the world... and it was in a really good way. Positive reinforcement for me for wanting to take this trip in the first place.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

so, today...

We went south of Houston to where one of my cousin's lives. We got to see Galveston Bay, and a marina with a lot of boats in it. There is a boardwalk, and we enjoyed the beautiful day, the ducks, seagulls and pelicans. The boardwalk has a small amusement part type area, and we road a little train around the boardwalk, and Ron took Raine on a ferris wheel. She's been wanting to go on one for a while, even though she's been afraid of heights. Then we had a nice lunch.

When we were done with lunch, my cousin wondered if it would be all right if Raine spent the night so she could play with his kids, and they have all sorts of toys. Well, she was a little sceptical at first, but when he pulled out the four wheeler, she was sold. He even offered to let her drive a little. "bye Mom!" Hopefully, she'll be willing to leave tomorrow...

I'm not uploading pictures, but... I am TAKING pictures. I promise. I did actually remember to put the camera into my purse. Today. Except for getting lost today, on the way home, it was a great day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

today's finds

We got a lovely, leisurely start today, the hotel-provided breakfast was nice. Especially because we didn't pay extra for it, and we didn't have to work to prepare it. We went to a bookstore called Murder By The Book, and scored both new and used books. Not too many, but still fun. Next door was a little coffee place. Not a starbucks kind of thing, but where they sold mugs, and gourmet kind of coffeemakers, and lovely beans. And yes, of course, we got a little. The lady in the shop recommended the Tanzania Peaberry as her favorite, so, that's what we got. I'll let you know how it is.

Next on the list were two gaming stores. After a few traffic flow issues, we got to the first, which was mostly miniatures. The other was a combination game and comic book store, along with a LOT of geek-a-licious paraphenalia. I scored a little Vulcan beanie-guy. Dev, I got their card because they had a some Nightmare and Corpse Bride stuff that you would be seriously interested in, AND carried a line of goth dolls I thought you would like, too. REALLY!

So, after that, we went to Kenny & Ziggy's new york style delicatessen restaurant. Pricey, but OhMyGoodness! For a picture of what we were eating, check out Carl's facebook post. I packed the half of the sandwich on that plate to take home. I also got a slice of cheesecake to take home for Ron. Then, wouldn't you know it, I walked aff and left them at the cashregister when we walked out. DOH! A call to the deli when we realized was made, and they allowed as how they could put my package in the fridge and we could get it tomorrow. ARGH!

Later in the afternoon, we made it to the airport to pick up Ron, and he finally got to meet some of my Mom's side of the family... and they got to meet him. We on for lunch with a couple of the cousins, near the water, yay. It seems like it will be a good day.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

road trip score

Well, we made it to Houston. The trip went pretty smoothly, the weather, while windy on Saturday was still drivable. It was downright beautiful today. The worst part of the whoe trip started about 50 miles out of Houston, on I 10 when, for no apparent reason, on a Sunday afternoon, we had to have about 20 miles of stop and go traffic. Didn't see a wreck, not even the remains of one. No lane closures. No naked people beside the road. Just had to stop...

Other than that, I only missed one turn off, and that was in San Antonio (which Carl and I constantly called Austin through out the trip). It was not even difficult to recover from. Yay. we took a lovely detour this morning, from Kerrville, we left I-10 for FM 16, and found Mac and Eddie's Roadside Diner. This is one of the eateries that has been featured on Diner's Drive-ins and dives. We took a break and waited for their lunch menu to be served so we could have a cabrito (goat) burger. Well, I must say, yum. The buns were good, the burgers were good, and we sat outside passing the time in a little covered table area. There was room for Raine to run and whoop and work off her energy. We saw a deer run across the road, through someone's yard and up the hill. The drive was some of the best scenery we saw all day. We met I-10 a little way out of San Antonio, and we were on our way.

We also had dinner with quite a few of our relatives. Our Aunt, of course, and her kids. All three of them were there. Her ex-husband dropped by with his son (younger than Raine) who was very cute, and didn't want to leave because he was having so much fun playing with Raine. Mark's teenaged son was very patient with the younger kids and played with them outside after we ate. It was nice to catch up on stuff, and see everyone, even though it makes me miss them even more, and miss being closer to them. Or at least feel like I'm missing out on that family interaction and camaraderie.

Friday, March 19, 2010

spring break

Well, tomorrow begins spring break, and a trip to Houston. I'm mostly packed and ready, although I'm not in bed yet, getting that needed sleep for driving tomorrow. I've been working with my MP3 player, and it isn't cooperating. I filled it up (oh yeah) with music, and it kept getting stuck while it tried to create the library. Ron emptied it, and I put music on it again, much more selectively, and not so full, hoping that would do the trick. NOPE! I'm not a happy camper right at the moment on that front. SIGH! Perhaps I should have done something else before I put the music on again. Reformatted? I dunno.

I'm very happy to be going on the trip, though, even though I'm not planning to do everything or see everything in Houston. I do want to see the family members, and I hope I get to enjoy them this week. I'm also looking forward to some fabric and yarn shopping, reading, and hanging out with my aunt. We're also going to try and make it to a couple of the Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives places that are in the area - or on the way. That should be fun.

So, anyway, posting may be haphazard, but I'll see what I can do.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

moving and more good habits

We are having a walking week at school this week. Monday and Tuesday we traipsed to the library, today and tomorrow we're going to the computer lab. Big deal, I know you're thinking, but the Gadsden High School campus is fairly large, with 4 main buildings, and probably twice as many smaller ones. They are also doing construction on the campus, which has blocked off the entire middle of the campus, leaving periphery trails around and through buildings as the way for students to make their way from one class to another. Since I have talkative freshmen in my classes, we go all the way around one building to reach either the library or the computer lab. The students complain, of course, but I have enjoyed the walks back and forth with each class. Now, if I can add to that distance and keep the momentum until it is habit... Walking is one of my favorite forms of exercise, and I don't do nearly enough of it.

Raine and I are continuing our library habit. She picks out the most interesting books! While I have always been drawn to fiction, she likes non-fiction, and finding out about dinosaurs, along with states of matter, volcanoes, and - this week - earthquakes. She does like the Magic Tree-house series of books, and we read those together, too. I've been enjoying listening to books on my computer while I check my e-mail, and the like, although I really don't listen to them well while I'm typing my blog... words coming in that are different than the words going out... too hard to focus on. I do wish they would be recorded in chapters, though, so you could deal with them more easily in an MP3 player.

I still need to get stuff ready to go, as our trip is approaching in a few days. I finally feel like it might actually get here! I'm very much looking forward to it. For some reason, I really am looking forward to the drive. Am I out of my mind? Maybe... but I'm still looking forward to it...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

more change in the air

So, the person that I have been co-teaching with this semester (some of you may know her by either Allison Green-Wall or Toragana) got a new job last week. One she has been wanting for a while, and been looking for for a while as well. The job sounds FABULOUS, and I'm seriously jealous, in a good way. I'm also very happy for her to get the kind of job where she will be happy.

Unfortunately, that means the students we have been working with will lose their second teacher this year. The timing of that loss also pretty much means that she won't be replaced this year, either. Sigh. So, I'm feeling a little sorry for myself because of that. Oh, I imagine they will put a long-term sub in her place, and that the kids and I will manage, but we WILL feel the loss.

One more reason for me to request a different class assignment next year. I'm hoping that I will be teaching one or more dual credit English classes next year. That will be a challenge, but a vastly different one. Another possibility? Seriously, folks, sign me up where Allison will be teaching!

Monday, March 15, 2010

getting ready for road trip

Yep, I'm getting ready. Well, getting ready to get ready would be closer to the truth, I think. I'm thinking about what I want to take, making my lists, checking them twice... no, wait, that's a different holiday, isn't it.

Well, there are thing to prepare. For instance, traveling in the car means listening to something. Carl has satellite radio which he will bring, and I have MP3 player, that I will bring, too. I've already loaded an e-book on it, hoping it won't be too big of a pain if we have to stop in the middle of it somewhere. Just one though, just in case it is. I'm also trying to sort out the music that we have so I can load some of it for my listening pleasure. I took off the christmas music and loaded on some folk and celtic. I kind of have to go through it because I want music I can sing along with. I like instrumental music, but on a road trip, I need something to sing with. That also means there should be a certain amount of familiarity with the music. It takes time to go through it all, and I'm not really that patient with the process. (here's another instance in which I'm missing my staff!)

I also want to take my sewing machine, and some things to sew on. I am pretty sure the motel will have an iron available, but anything I take should already be cut out, I think. That will cut down on some of the paraphinalia. I'm thinking I may work on a top that I wanted to embellish parts of, and that would be fun, but I couldn't finish that, because I think I would like to use the embroidery machine on that some too. Hmmm. Still I do have a few things cut out already, if I don't get to anything else.

I think I have my books already at hand, although Raine and I do need to make a trip to the library to reture what we have checked out. She has been enjoying the books we've been getting, so I'm willing to make that habit. (OK, I am willing to make it a habit anyway).

Clothes? Oh, yeah, those... well I'll look in the closet again tomorrow...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

the last installment

I finished running the Star Trek role playing game this evening. After I got home last week, I wondered why the heck I had not just ended it last week. I did finally come up with a last adventure for them to have. Then the rescue came, and all was once again well with the universe of Star Trek.

I'm glad I did it, but Carl, Ron and Phil are all so much better at it than I am. Still, as much as they take turns, sometimes there's a gap. I feel good that I got us through one of those...

I went to Roxanne's today, and we worked on the wedding dress some more. We got the layers of the skirt sewn together, and they are hanging tonight. Over spring break, Roxanne will get them on the waistband and put the zipper in (maybe not in that order). We put them together to see what it would look like, and it was quite pretty.

The bodice news was not so good. Dev, we needed you last week, when we sewed the side pieces in upside down. That meant that when Candice tried it on, it top part was way too big, and the bottom edge did not meet. We have extra fabric from each of the layers, so if worst comes to worst, we can build the sides and back again, while we save the beaded front. Roxanne said she would see what she could do about taking it apart, though. So, those howls of "Noooo!" and "Why???" you heard this afternoon were from our way...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

diners drive-ins and dives

Do you watch this show? We do, and drool forms. We talk about visiting those places when we travel. Whenever that might be. We enjoy Guy, and he really picks some good diner type food, which we really enjoy.

Well, some of that travel will be in a couple of weeks. We'll be driving to Houston to visit my aunt, and some cousins who still live there. I just looked it up, and there are 2 or 3 places in reasonable nearness to my Aunt's house. Woot! Now there is an activity we can add to our agenda.

I'll also be looking for yarn shops and fabric shops. Must visit crafts.

I really think I'll take my sewing machine with me, too. Maybe whip up some dinner on that, ha ha.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

any given day

I gave myself a day today. A day to get grading done in relative peace and quiet, not having to answer to anyone's beck and call. I was paying myself back for not getting to take a day while I was sick (I'm much better now, thanks, too).

So, what has the day brought to me? What have I brought to the day? Rest. I feel rested.

I feel my creative juices flowing. I'm considering creating a some stuff on cafe press, for Creatlivity. Is "Create Out Loud" too trite? How about "Make stuff like you mean it!" Maybe I should just go for the ball of yarn and knitting needles with "Show me yours, I'll show you mine..."

I must also celebrate reading books again, and listening to them. I'm listening to O, Jerusalem by Laurie King, and enjoying it. I'm reading Come to Grief, by Dick Francis, and enjoying that, too.

I finished the sock I was working on, and cast on its mate. Raine tried it on, and it looks better on that it does off. I may have cast the second sock too tightly, and might have to recast it. I better decide before I get too many rows on, though...

How has your day been?

Monday, March 8, 2010

check it off the list

Lately I have come to appreciate just how much crafting, creativity and creation mean to me. I have been working around ways to make this passion something that could support me financially, and not just spiritually. I don't want to start a fabric store, or a yarn store, and have classes on the side. I would much rather create a community of crafters who create and share their knowledge and creativity. I'm not sure how to put the whole thing together, but one of the steps is - I believe - to blog about it. I don't know where that blog will go or grow, but it is begun. Anyone interested in checking it out, and even making suggestions, can find it at http://createlivity.blogspot.com/ . I don't expect to post to this new blog every day - at least not at first - but I do see it as a record of a journey. One that I have been on for a while, maybe all my life. I hope I find that the road that journey covers is wider than I once thought.

And as promised, I have pictures of the bodice of Candice's wedding dress. Tenna Kay did the beading on the front, and I still need to do some handwork along the top. We also need to add the boning, and seam the channels for it, finish the bottom of the piece, and then add the grommets. Next week, we will begin putting the skirt together. Now that things are cut out, assembly should go, well, if not quickly or easily, at least abley... I'll leave Roxanne to put the layers of the skirt onto its waistband and add the zipper. Then, we will add the embellishing beads to the skirt, to create little poofs around the skirt. It should be beautiful, and we really want it to be, for Candice, who has worked hard for a good while to get where she is, and who deserves a beautiful wedding dress.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

two in a row, again

So, I was going to post about sewing, but I think I'll save that until tomorrow, with pictures.

Today, will be about the Sharpe series. What is that you ask? Well, my friend, let me tell you. It is a British television series. One of the period pieces they do so well, and differently than American television would. This is more like a series of movies. This series stars Sean Bean. You remember him from Lord of the Rings, right? Hidalgo? Come on, you KNOW you want to see more of him.

The first movie, called Sharpe's Rifles, is set during the Napoleonic War, and Sharpe gains a field commission with his brave actions, saving Wellington. He is sent to France with his command, who don't know him, and don't trust him. Needless to say, he saves the day, and gets the girl, becoming a fine officer in the process.

Now, Carl read the books, and when he found the series he tried to download them to watch on the computer. Unfortunately, they were of such poor quality as to be unwatchable. Then, last week, as we perused the movie selection in Sam's as is our wont, lo and behold, they had, not one, but - I think - five different sets of the series! This week, we went prepared to pick up the first, and we did. Of course we broke them open for the first disk this evening. Quite entertaining, and thank goodness it got Carl's mind off the theme from the commercial for Butt Drugs. No, its not what you're thinking! Stop that! Instead, check out the link his facebook page, or YouTube, and search for Butt Drugs ad. Didn't they do well, keeping straight - or nearly so - faces? Free parking in the back, you know.

You all have a good day!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

shocked again

I was surprised when it was Wednesday and I hadn't blogged before then, and yet, here it is SATURDAY and, well.... the days, where do they go?

I reffed Star Trek again tonight, and I think it went more smoothly. Its still not perfect, as its kind of unbalanced. I mean a couple of the players are doing more than the others. I'm not sure how to totally prevent that. hmmmm It is so episode dependent, and part of the experience I'm lacking, really. It was still better than before. I have about 1 to 2 more installments, I think, before I'm done, and I'm sure others will be glad I'm done too.

We'll miss a couple of weeks because we're traveling for spring break. I've been pretty lax in keeping up with my mom's family in Houston. I feel bad about it, but they haven't been breaking down my door or heating up my phone lines either. I'm not trying to say anything bad about any of us, but that the day to day gets in the way of the best intentions. I chatted with my cousin's wife for a few minutes this afternoon, and got in on some family news. One of the good things about facebook is that they are there to do that, and just say HI and all. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing whomever will take the time to come see us while we're in town.

You would think with all this technology we have that keeping up with family members would be easier than it ever was. It can be, that's true, but still the lines have to be in place on both sides, and that just isn't always the case. I feel bad for loosing touch with my aunt and my cousins, who live a good ways away. Then I think about how I don't always keep in touch with my own brother, who lives about an hour away. So, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised about the more physically distant cousins who I never did have the habit of speaking to regularly anyway.

So, on my to-do list... Don't just let the family slip away. Keep in touch. Visit occasionally. Those ties are good ones, at least in my case. I know some people and their toxic family relationships, and that is just not the case here, but more like mundane life just takes over...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

wednesday already?

Where have _I_ been? Where are the posts that were supposed to be here? Wait, what do you mean, I didn't write them. Oh. Right. That.

Where did the time go? OK, so I'm fighting a cold, with a low grade fever, but I'm not feeling THAT bad. Maybe just enough, though. I know last night I was grading papers. Of course I still have more to grade. Always. Don't know what happened on Monday, though. Just gone...

Ron has been suffering from a lower respiratory infection, and managed to pass it along to me. He went to the Dr on Monday, and got antibiotics. I went today, but fortunately my infection isn't as severe as Ron's. I check because I don't always feel a sore throat when it can be a bad infection, and my voice has been iffy all week. The Dr. suggested Zicam and more vitamin C. I can do that, and I'm glad it isn't worse.

Have I mentioned my fourth period class? Well, they are one of those "special" groups of students. They have been a challenge behaviorally and student skills as well as academic ones. I've looked for help, and mostly gotten at least some degree of support. The class as a whole has made progress, but they still have a long way to go. I think I mentioned the fight that occurred last Friday... So anyway, leaving school at the beginning of fourth so I could get to the Dr's appointment, I stayed long enough to take roll, and fill in the sub. Before I left, one of the assistant principals checked in on the class. The sub was offered the opportunity to have a second sub in the class to help out. Finally, a security guard came in with the school's Language Process Trainer (who often stops in, and is one of the people who has been helping me with the class off and on). Wow... what did they think was going to happen when I left? because I left? As poorly as the class behaves as a whole, the students one on one are likeable enough kids.

I've been working on my sock. The one with the heel. It took me a little to realize that I'd done the heel right, so I took it to school, but now, I'm working my way along the foot of the sock, and it seems to be going pretty smoothly now. I didn't make a long ankle part, so this sock is smaller over all then the first pair I made, and except for the doubt and inexperience, seems to be moving along pretty quickly.