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.