Sunday, April 25, 2010

the cat came back

Earlier this week, Carl got up in the middle of the night and found the back door open about 6 inches. He looked around, and nothing seemed to be amiss, no intruders etc. He closed it and mentioned it to me the next morning. Well, of course the cat went out, and we missed her the next morning.

Ginger, our cat, is an inside cat. She's friendly, opinionated, and not very worldly wise. Oh, sure, she has all those cat instincts, but really, she's only dangerous in her own mind. Fortunately, our dog knows her, and is interested in her, but won't hurt her. Unfortunately most of our neighbors have dogs that might not be so tolerant. Then, there are the streets and the cars and some of the birds around here - there's a particularly mean mockingbird - like to pick on cats.

So, we kept our eyes open, and our ears alert... well except for sleeping, you know. The last time she got out, she came back in the middle of the night, and I happened to hear her on a trip to the bathroom. Days went by, and no sign. We walked through the neighborhood. We checked the animal shelter. Nothing.

Finally, last night, she showed up again. I think Ron and I had pretty much decided she wouldn't. Raine was hoping, though, and we didn't want to burst her innocent bubble. Carl heard her, much as I had the previous time, chased off the cat she was fighting with (like I did) and let her in. She seems fine. She spent most of the day lazing around, napping and purring, with breaks to sit on laps. Middle age, is really not the time for this cat to develop an outdoor habit.

Friday, April 23, 2010

a sense of entitlement

I have one. I know I do. I know, now, with my adult point of view, that I am not entitled to - pretty much - anything. Well, basic rights, maybe, but... That hasn't stopped me from feeling entitled, though. Talking about housing last night reminded me of it, in fact.

When I was young, I think there were just certain assumptions that I had. The valiant knight on a steed swooping in to rescue me from - well, OK, I never needed rescue from much besides maybe teenage angst, I've been fortunate. Then there is the happily ever after, the white picket fence surrounding modest acreage (at least enough for a riding lawn-mower) and a house that is the envy of the neighborhood. Well, a house that is at least bigger and better than the one dear old mom and dad had. Oh, yeah, don't forget the great job. The perfect (or at least perfectly groomed) kids. And all I had to do to get them was - what - survive adolescence? hmmmm....

I think we can tell that I was clueless and naive at one time. Fortunately, I have gotten better. Oh, there are still times when I catch myself thinking something along the lines of "where is _my_ (fill in the blank)? The difference is that I do catch myself doing it, and give myself that mental shake so I can come back to reality. Sure, there ARE people who seemed to get handed things that I can't seem to reach even with all the effort I'm willing to put into it. Still, those people face other set-backs/issues/problems that I don't have to and don't want to deal with.

Generally speaking, I've come to terms with what I want, and what I'm willing to work for. I don't really need everything to be newest/biggest/fanciest, and I wouldn't really be comfortable if it were. Now look, I'm not crazy, I could be tasteless nouveau riche (if I'm spelling that French correctly) with the "best" of them if I won that 200,000,000 lottery jackpot. I just don't have any illusions that I am entitled to it...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

a green view on earth day

I read a financial article the other day that hit home with me. In it, the author was giving advice about saving money (big surprise) but he wasn't talking about things like "cut out your trips to Starbucks." Instead he was advocating living with less, using things longer and the like. Now he wasn't saying we should live in a tent, or only own 3 pairs of socks, but was much more realistic. It resonated with me on a couple of levels.

One of the things he mentioned was housing. Why do we need such big houses? Why do you consider it a "starter home?" He said that he and his wife bought the house they will stay in. The smaller home was more affordable, easier to take care of, and greener, being smaller and already built that building a new home on land that could be used for something else. The smaller home takes less energy to heat and cool and therefor costs less. Of course he and his wife worked really hard, saved oodles of money and retired in their 40's. Oops, too late for that for me. ahhh well.

Now, I have what would be considered a starter home. Originally three bedrooms, one bath, built in 1959. There have been some additions since then, including more living space, and another bathroom. It still isn't a huge or modern home, but it is comfortable for us, and we love the location, a reasonably quiet neighborhood, convenient to town. I have dreamed of moving up. Don't get me wrong. Carl is using one of the living spaces as a bedroom, and while I don't begrudge him that, I do miss the space as common area.

I know people think that you move into a bigger place, and then pretty soon you get more stuff and fill it up. Honey, I pretty much filled this house with the stuff I owned when I bought it, before I met Ron, had Raine, and before Carl moved in. I'm sure if we moved into something bigger, the stuff would just relax and fill the space without buying a thing. Stuff we have. I like stuff. But, I'm also coming around to a point of view that I don't really need or have use for ALL of it. I've purged some, and it felt good. Moving to a bigger place would mean that more of the stuff could and would stay even longer than it already has, and I know that it is time to let some of it go. A lot of it, in fact. Summer project, here I come!

So, philosophically, I can reach my head around staying in this smaller home, in more ways than one. Financially, it is also so much smarter. We refinanced and the lower interest rates helped a lot. Still, those places call to me, sometimes. The lure of new stuff, better stuff is hard to resist for those of us brought up in the consumer age. The age of planned obsolescence; trendy fashions; keeping up with the Joneses, and all those commercials demanding we buy, buy, buy. I'm learning to just NOT. So, here's my green contribution for Earth Day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

writing, blogging, and podcasts?

One of the things I would like to do in connection with Createlivity (do I even spell that the same way all the time? you would think I could, but I'm not sure it happens...), is to do some pod casts. But, i ask myself, what would those podcasts consist of? How long would they be? Who would be interested in participating? In listening?

Well, actually, I think one basic idea would be to get several people online together and talk about crafting. The great thing about online would be that the people involved could be from all over the place, which is handy, because that's pretty much where my friends are. Wonder what the coordination of timing for that would be? hmmmm.... well how about it, ya'll, wanna podcast with me? Webcast? What? When? Anyone?

Next, I really have something for Fran, who gifted me with a cool prize from her blog contest of extremely short fiction. Fran. I know that you review books, but I think you should widen your scope for your reviews. You rock, and I looked at the cover of a book last night, reading the excerpts of the reviews on it, and it hit me, YOUR name could be there one day. Work on it for me, will ya? Heck you could blog your book reviews... and get them into online magazines, and etc... and.... and... I'll stop now.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

job hunting

No, I didn't loose my job. Nothing terrible has occurred. Still, I work in a school district that is at least a 30 minute drive from my home, and has a slightly - but frustratingly at times - different schedule than the district my daughter attends school in. Next school year, Las Cruces district should be opening a new middle school, and then a new high school the year after. So, once again, I'm preparing the packet that this district requires of employment candidates.

Have I mentioned how much I hate job hunting?

To me, the packet is redundant and maddening. They have an application to fill out, which is lengthy, but fine. Then, they want you to add documentation (OK, I don't mind proving that I have a license to teach, or provide transcripts), and a resume (this redundancy jabs its bony finger in my nerves) along with a letter of interest and letters of recommendation, and, and, and. Just to be considered? Just to take up space in a file? How about I file a resume OR an application, with a cover letter or even your letter of interest and then all the other stuff if you decide you might actually be interested in hiring me. How about that?

And then there is the interviewing process. I suck at this. It isn't that I lack experience in my job, or that I arrive inappropriately dressed. I'm not pretty, though, or thin, or particularly outgoing. No one interviewing me wants to take me to bed (Thank goodness). Oh, I know, all those personnel people will deny that is a factor, but... I'm competent, and a good worker. I'm intelligent, and literate and even occasionally articulate. I'm also rather reserved, though, with people I don't really know. I hate that "say what they want to hear" thing... use the right "buzz words," be on the right bandwagon... and there always is one, in education. Always.

So, big sigh, I didn't go sewing with Roxanne this weekend. She wasn't feeling up to it. I did do something constructive, though. I updated my resume, and my cover letter. I gave myself an attitude pep-talk, and decided that I needed the attitude that they should be recruiting me, and if I can carry that off, maybe they just will.

But that dog-gone application. Sheesh. I worked on about 2 pages of it, and that was all of it I could muster.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Nothing specific to write about here. I got an inspiration on my book yesterday... and don't want to write here about that, but it uses up some of my writing brain...

Its that dreaded tax day, but we took care of that a month ago, and so no big deal here. Yeah, I know, don't hate us... It's not like we actually figured them out or anything. Hello Jackson-Hewitt.

Tomorrow is Friday, which is a good thing. Today was payday, which is another good thing. Thursday is our house cleaning day. We pay for a maid for a couple of hours, which cuts down on domestic stress. I'm loosing my co-teacher tomorrow. She's going on to better (I sincerely hope) things, but the end of the year is almost within reach, so it isn't a complete disaster.

See, nothing coherent, or even profound. Something, though. I didn't forget you!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

another movie review

This past weekend, we took Raine, and went to see How to Train Your Dragon. Its had a lot of media hype, and McDonalds AND Walmart are featuring toys etc from the movie for sale. I was prepared to like it for Raine's sake, and cuteness.

It was much better than that, though. We saw the 3D version. With the dragons, and the flying, and the fire.... well it only made sense. Without too many spoilers, it is nice to see a kid's movie in which injury has lasting consequences, even if it is dealt with only superficially, pretty much. The bone I have to pick is that the concept was a bunch of Vikings, having sailed to some desolate and frigid island, must deal with the dragons who come raiding their village periodically. (not giving anything away, that is pretty much the introduction to the movie)... BUT, all the Vikings have SCOTTISH accents. BUH? OK, I must admit to an enjoyment of the Scottish accent under many circumstances. But (my brain tries to click through the nonsense of it) Scottish Vikings? I wish they had picked one and stuck with it.

Enjoyed the movie, though, a great deal. I enjoyed the imagination with which the dragons were portrayed, and the characters created. I enjoyed the voice acting and even the 3D effects. I would recommend this one as a big-screen effort.

You know, in case you were thinking about it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

sunday cutting out

Not much sewing today, but we got a lot of stuff cut out today. We have a family with a lot of little ones it seems. We counted 4 little boys 2 and under in the local extended family there are 3 others not much older. Roxanne's grandson is one of the 2 year olds, and she's been thinking of summer clothes for him. Today we cut out shorts. Shorts, shorts, shorts, shorts, shorts. Maybe 16 pair in various sizes. Still they are small and don't take a lot of fabric, or a lot of time to cut out. We got creative (of course) making some of the pieces large/long enough. They will be good, though, I think.

We also have some fabric for some shirts. Not as many, since t-shirts from Wal-mart are pretty cheap and easy, even if we want to embellish them. We thought that sleeveless, collar-less shirts would be pretty quick and easy, and not take much fabric. Makes me think about checking what bias tape I have, too. That makes quick work of arm holes. Necklines too, on occasion, although we will probably do facings, since they are sooo easy with the serger.

We also made some samples of decorative stitches so Roxanne can decide which one or two she wants to use on the tunic top she recently made. It is a beautiful jade green crinkly cloth and it looks fabulous on her. It will be even nicer with some decorative stitching. We're saving that for next week!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I got Raine's socks knitted. She wore them to school the day after I finished them, even. I think that means she likes them. I thought they turned out well, considering all the practice I don't have (yet). One thing I feel like I need to work on with my knitting is to be more consistent with my stitch size. I think I did OK this time within a sock, but there are two of the things, and they are supposed to match... And speaking of matching, If both socks are made from the same yarn, (and these were from the same skein) then I consider them to be matching. I have read that some people want the same stripe in the same place, or as close as possible, but frankly, that isn't something that bothers me unless it is a wide stripe, and then, yeah, they should probably at least have the same colors at the toes.

I also finished as shirt for Ron. The fabric had been sitting around the house for a while after I noticed that he almost never wore the other shirts I had made for him, but he had picked out the fabric, and I wasn't really willing to use it for someone else. So, we talked about what kind of shirt he wanted, and this is the result. He put snaps on it, and I think they fit with the style.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

back on the list

Yard work. Oh yes it is. Time to start watering, and weeding, and fertilizing. Time to rake, and pick up debris. Time to stack stuff on the curb for the grappler to haul away. (OK, its been time for that for a while... it just keeps moving down on the list...)

This is the time of year that I wish I were more...inspired? nah. motivated? closer. I would love to have a garden, but I'm just not ready. I'm never ready, to tell the truth. OK, remember that staff I've wanted? Yeah, the one I can't afford to pay yet. That's the staff I mean. If I had a staff, I'd have a garden. All the prep work that we need here is just daunting to me. I would like a raised bed, please, so I don't have to get down on my knees, on the ground to work my garden. I don't mind the tilling and the planting, the watering and the weeding, the puttering around or the harvesting. I have to admit, though, that although I come from farmers and gardeners, I'm not much of one... Houseplants have a limited lifespan. Not down to weeks, mostly, but...

Still, yardwork is one of those things that have some intrinsic rewards built in. I like being outside. I like that when you're done, things look better than they did when you started. I rather like that Raine and I work out there together, we both enjoy it. I just have to remind myself of that from time to time.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

weird dreams

I've had plenty, haven't you? Some that have pushed the boundaries of what conventional wisdom seems to say we should dream about. Once I dreamed that I was sleeping. Yeah. I must have been really tired that night.

Several times I've dreamed that I have died. Yeah, the wives' tale says that if you die in your dream you die for real. I'm here to tell ya, nope. I'm sure that those dreams help me deal with my personal fear of death, though, because they were not bad, scary dreams, beyond - you know - something killing me.

Last weekend, though, I hit a new weird. I threw up in my dream. No, I wasn't sick, and no, I didn't have to go throw up when it woke me up, and it did. But I had to think about both things for a bit, just to make sure. It certainly was rather unnerving. So you want to know what the dream was? Good. :^) There was more to it than just puking, just so you know before you start reading.

See, I was an archer... a really good one, in a epic battle for good against evil, with a company of archers who were also awesome. We fought in battle after battle, and finally helped win the war. We weren't the main characters in this epic, but we were some awesome assistance. Well, after the war was over, it seemed that a celebration was in order, and so this company of archers proceeded to drink me under the table... and I "woke up" to hurl. I must admit that although the majority of the dream was medieval-ish, the bathroom that I dreamed up was pristine porcelain, white and flush-able.

I know, I know, enough of talking about that for a while...

Monday, April 5, 2010


Today, Ron stayed home from work. I managed to get the work done for school that I needed to, and then we went out shopping, and to a movie. We saw Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. This is a wonderful piece of Tim Burton work, but it is not a kid's movie. It is dark, and entertaining, and very well acted. Not much of a surprise, there, I will say. Again, as typical for a Burton piece, the sets were oh, so spot-on, and the special effects were amazing.

Each of the live-acting characters in "Underland" had some cg effect on them... something too big. Something exaggerated, that gave him or her that fantasy feel. The growth effects on Alice - who never seemed to be the right size - were well done, too. I have a feeling that they did so well with those because the Lord of the Rings Trilogy showed how well it COULD be done. There was a wonderful message in the movie, as well. Something I have always missed in other versions of the story. (probably just me)

We saw the movie in 3D today, and - maybe its my generation showing - but I felt it to be fairly gratuitous. I have see other movies that I really have enjoyed it, but this one seemed... well, unnecessary. Enjoy the movie! I heartily recommend it, but don't pass up the 2D if that is what is near you.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I hope you've had a good Easter. Ours was mostly calm, and therefor pretty good. Raine got treats in eggs of course, but Ron didn't hide the eggs we dyed. I guess I think they are too good for that. They never really survive the treatment, and I'm looking forward to making deviled eggs tomorrow.

Here are a couple pictures of the fun this morning...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

wedding dress

Roxanne and I sewed today. Well, I sewed and she and her mom worked on getting the bead points set on the skirt. Candice was there, standing in the skirt while they worked, trying very hard to be patient. There were two small boys there, working very hard to amuse themselves, and mostly succeeding. There was chaos, but... hey, its life.

I got the bodice... um corset... hmmm top of the dress sewed back together. The first time I had sewn in a couple of the pieces upside down. Not good. It was too big still, but I could and did deal with that, and the boning, and the hem. Now all it needs is grommets and lacing. The skirt needs the beads sewn on. I wish I could show a picture but of course I didn't take my camera. DOH! Still Candice got some on her camera, and I'll probably ask her to send me one or two.

Roxanne was very busy sewing over spring break, and got several things made. Our working together has re-honed her skills as a seamstress, and the top and dress with jacket she made were really, really nice. She modeled them for us. She still wants some embroidery on the top, so I'll think about what to do about that. The embroidery machine is a little limited in it's repertoire but maybe we can figure something out that would please her. I hope to get to some more sewing this weekend, too...we'll see...