Tuesday, December 28, 2010


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

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

Hooray for kitchen tables!

Monday, December 27, 2010

new year's resolutions

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 26, 2010

true grit

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

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

Still, overall, I recommend it!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

holiday cheer

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 23, 2010

the stockings

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

..and even cleaner

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

tabler cleaner

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

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

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

Monday, December 20, 2010

mark it off the list, or not

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 19, 2010

a moment of metacognition

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 17, 2010

morning mountains

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 16, 2010

week almost ending

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

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

Then vacation starts. With a cold.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

cats and trees

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

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

Monday, December 13, 2010

finals week

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

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

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


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

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

Monday, December 6, 2010

one step closer

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

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

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

So anyway, Final Exam. Check.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

let's recap

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 3, 2010

items on the list for this weekend

In no particular order:

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

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

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

It sounds like a pretty good list, to me.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


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

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

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

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