Wednesday, December 26, 2012

in the mean time

New years is coming soon, and my resolutions will be similar to last year's. One of them will be to make stuff... and while we are waiting for time to make these resolutions, I'll be sharing some of the things I made for the holiday making season but couldn't share before now in case people who were getting the gifts took a peek at the blog.

Good thing I don't have "write many run-on sentences" as a goal, or you guys would be in trouble at this point, because that was a doozy.

Here's my first shared project:
infinity scarf
It wasn't even a present, I just happened to FINALLY finish it yesterday.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

lovely christmas, with civilization

We had a lovely Christmas Eve, which flowed into a very nice Christmas day. Yesterday, we had a little (very little) Christmas open house with pot luck. The eclectic menu included devilled eggs, sausage balls, pizza, ham and chicken noodle soup. I love these truly pot luck dinners that my folks started having on Christmas Eves when we stayed home for the holidays. Most of our Christmases were spent with my dad's family in Wichita Falls, TX.

This year, almost everyone I invited had other plans all ready. Something about being out of town made it hard to come over, or something. Still, we did our pot luck, and enjoyed it, and watching a couple of movies, and visiting.

Today, we woke Raine up at the crack of 10:30 to open presents. She enjoyed herself, building a fortress of wrapping paper and surrounding herself with gifts.
excited about every gift.
She draped the scarf that her grandmother made her on her head as soon as she opened it up. (sometimes she channels her Aunt Scarrie) I think she wore it almost all day, including while reading before bed. Opening presents on Christmas morning is another one of our Christmas traditions.

When I get done with this post, I will be reprising one of my personal Christmas traditions, passed down from computer to computer, from the days of the first Amiga version of Sid Meyer's game, Civilization. Every holiday, and it seems especially Christmas, I would find myself playing into the wee hours of the morning. There always seemed to be ONE MORE TURN that I should take. As the holiday drew upon us this year, I got the itch to play Civ again. In fact, it seemed to be that something that might be missing, otherwise. Oh, sure, I play it other times - sometimes too often and too long - but the holidays just tripped a trigger for me I wasn't even aware I had created. Now, I you will excuse me, the English need to discover some new technologies, and explore their world!

Monday, December 17, 2012

where is it going?

Wasn't it Thanksgiving yesterday? No? Can't be December, can it? Already? Hmmm

Just a handful of shopping (crafting) days until Christmas now. We have a weather forcast for this Thursday (or so) that has a possibility of snow. It's probably crazy talk, but on can hope! I still have lots of sewing I want to get done, and I need to take my serger in for a tune-up. Worst possible moment, of course, but I can't complain about it really. It is such a work horse, and I use it ALL THE TIME.

We're going to have a Christmas Eve potluck. It was a tradition that my folks started, inviting everyone to bring their favorite dish and celebrate for a while on Christmas Eve. They kind of had the open house thing going, and people would come and go. We always had a great time, and a wonderful, eclectic variety of food. I asked Raine what she wanted to make for her favorite food, and she didn't even have to think very long or hard about it. Chicken noodle soup. I think we can do that. Me? I'm still thinking about what I want to make. I may break out the short bread and grannie's oatmeal cookie recipes. hmmm or....

Deciding to have the potluck has really put me in the Christmas mood, but I also find there are people I would love to invite, who won't - for various very logical and obvious reasons - be able to come. Still, Christmas is for remembering them, too...

If you are in my neighborhood, friends, come by on Christmas Eve. Bring a dish, or just your well wishes. Be welcomed. Be loved. Be Merry and Bright. We all need some of each.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

bloodstream book review

This weekend, I finished reading Bloodstream, by Tess Gerritson. I picked it up at the used book store, where I do a lot of my book shopping. I really intended to get one of her Rizolli & Isles series, but grabbed this one instead. I didn't realize it wasn't a R&I until I got home and started reading. I was about 3 chapters in, wondering when the ladies were going to show up, when I reread the cover, and went OH! Well, the book is a page turner, and so I eagerly read on.

The main character, Claire, is a female doctor, recently move to a small town in Maine and trying to make a go of her new practice, and her new life. Inexplicably the town teenagers seem to be spiralling out of control, becomming murderously violent. It has happened before in this little town, but no one wants to talk about what happened then. The doctor has to figure out why, because her teenaged son seems to be affected, too.

There was one point, about a third of the way through, when one of the townspeople tells Claire that it is all because of the witches, and the satanic rituals that are going on in the woods. It made me pause, people, it really did. That was SO MUCH what I didn't want this book to be about that merely having it in there was almost enough to make me put it down. I talked my self down.

"Dina," I said, "you are willing to read books with witches and supernatural occurances in them. Why are you acting like you aren't?"

I shook my head, "Self," I sighed, "when you are right you are right. I have enjoyed many of those books, and will enjoy more. But why did she have to go there? THIS book is supposed to be a medical mystery."

"Yeah. It says that right on the cover. So, maybe its a red herring. Let's read a little further and see if Claire falls for it."

Nope, she didn't. In fact - as a counterpoint - about two thirds of the way through, one of the characters is called a witch. Her neighbor says something like, Of course she's a witch! But at least she isn't a vegetarian. I loved that! Really enjoyed the book as a whole, and look forward to reading more of Gerritson's work, R&I related and not.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

get out the comfy quilt

Yesterday, toward the end of the school day, it hit me. A 24 hour type bug. Both of my brothers have been out with a flu, both for several days. I'm happy that mine was not as long or intense. Still, when you don't feel good, you just need some comfort. I got out the quilt that Grannie made for me.

Grannie gave me this quilt when I was in jr high or high school. It spent every winter on my bed up through the time I got married. Then, its age started catching up to it... a chewed corner from Dixie when we first got her. Some of the blocks have fabric that is nearly transparent now, or extremely delicate. I love this quilt so much, I didn't just want it to fall apart! So, it is on the shelf, now, most of the time.

Yesterday evening, it came off the shelf, and I wrapped up in it. It was almost like I could get a hug from my grannie, and my mom, who would do the comforting in person, if they could.

One of the reasons I make things is that feeling. I give the things I make to people I care about and I hope - even occasionally - that they can remember something warm about me, and think of me a little. Fondly. I hope they can get some comfort, if they need it, and make it through the night.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

make stuff for Christmas

That's something that has been on my to-do list for a very long time. Some years the projects will be varied. Others, I find something I love, and make it for everyone on the list. This year, Roxanne and I have been makiing fabric baskets in holiday fabrics. We have a list of people to make them for... including the one Roxanne picked out for herself. It has cute country-fied angels on it, and I think it is the only one we don't have a picture of. Here are some I DO have pictures of...

our first set, minus the angels

the second batch

If you notice the second batch has more embellishment, but we got fewer put together. We also got to pose a decorating idea for the picture...(pay no attention to the background there).

They are turning out well, and we have more to make. Of course, it isn't the only holiday making I have in mind, but I better get a move on if I want it to get where it belongs on time!

Monday, November 26, 2012

taking the consequences

Last week, Raine started a new after school program. She's supposed to stay after school, and there is an organized activity program that includes doing homework, snacks, playtime and - most important - supervision. With Ron working days, he doesn't get home until after 6, and school doesn't end for me for an hour after Raine's ends. So, we needed something.

Monday, I reminded her to stay, and talked about starting the new program, and when I would be there to pick her up and all. When I got there, at 5 - 2 & a half hours after she got out of school - there was no Raine. They hadn't seen her that day, and had assumed she hadn't been at school. Well, I wasn not a happy camper, I can tell you. She was in the second place I looked - home - thank goodness. I don't know what she thought was going to happen when I got home, but what ever it was, it didn't. I didn't beat her. I did yell, but more than that I got across the idea that it is really IMPORTANT to be where your parents expect you to be. It is important NOT to scare your mother like that. She was genuinely sorry.

All weekend, she endured her punishment. She was grounded. No going to anyone's house to play. No inviting friends over to play. TV & computer were severely limited for the whole, long weekend. We went to the used bookstore and got a couple new books to read ( both of us). Then, for the weekend, she got to hang out with mom. The TV was off a lot, so a lot of reading got done by both of us. She rode her bike some each day, because exercise is good for you. She did a lot of building with legos and bionicles. A lot. She got an hour of TV or computer in the mornings, and another in the afternoon, after she did a chore. She went through her clothing and got out the winter clothes and put away the shorts (and we discovered a serious lack of long pants that fit).

She did get a couple of breaks. She had a couple hours with her best friend on Thanksgiving day. He happened to be at his aunt's house when we went over to visit with his other aunt who was here from out of town. She got to have some computer time with her Uncle Carl while I sewed with Roxanne. We bought new pants for her. Winter is coming.

But I gained some respect for my child in how she handled her consequences. She did not sulk. She didn't even complain much. There were a few times when she said she was bored, but then she found something to entertain herself. She did pretty well with it thow whole weekend, really.

This is a child who does, and will, test the boundaries that we set. She can - I think - be reasoned with, and she can face consequences for her actions. Not everyone - child or adult - can. I hope she learned something about being where she should be, and why. I certainly learned something about her.

Friday, November 23, 2012

thanksgiving thanks

I don't know when I've had such a quiet Thanksgiving holiday. I mean that in the best possible sense of the word. Ok, so I went to the dentist for a cleaning on Wednesday, but it wasn't bad, and now my teeth feel all smooth and clean. I didn't get to do the crafting I still want to do with my friend Sara. She has a Cricut machine, and I really, really want to play with it. Bad. Still. She's so nice; she understands.

Thursday, we made an untraditional dinner of seafood for Thanksgiving. Yummy. And not a whole lot of prep or clean up, really. Today I used the left-overs to make a seafood chowder. Well, really it was a potato soup-ish chowder with corn and seafood. It turned out pretty good. Even Raine thought so, and she was a little doubtful at first, but she had seconds, so she must have liked it. Oh, and we're not completely crazy. We love turkey, and put one in the freezer for some other time.

Today I got to go sew with Roxanne. We are working on Christmas gifts. Fabric baskets. They are turning out very cute, I must say. Wonder how many we need... It was nice to get together to sew, because we haven't gotten to very much this fall. Roxanne has been working on her Doctorate, and has been taking the tests and trying to finish it up. I'm very proud of her for her scholarly activities, but they have cut into our sewing time, so I'll be doubly glad when she gets on a more sew-friendly schedule.

I've been working on other gifts, as well, and making some decent progress on them. I'll have to wrestle with the serger again tomorrow. Not sure if I threaded it wrong, or I just need to bite the bullet and take it in for another cleaning (it's only about a year overdue...). But I need to use it !!! I'm hoping that I've paced myself well for these gift makings. I do so enjoy making gifts and giving made gifts.

Had to buy Raine new pants. I don't normally "do" Black Friday. The crowds & all. But, she needed new pants. Like NOW. Size 14, thank you. The old ones showed her ankles... at least. We went through her drawers and now have a nice pile to donate. yay.

So, you know what's best about this long weekend? Yeah, it's that I've already had so much enjoyment, and its only actually weekend starting tomorrow. I'll get my usual chores done: laundry especially. I should also get some sewing done, and maybe a movie watched... ready for the season 2 episodes of the British series Sherlock on Netflix. Who knows what else could pop up? Thinking about my own Christmas list. Wondering if I would get practical use out of the Wii Fit program, now that Raine has a Wii... Realizing that I've probably rambled on enough for one Friday evening. Thanks, blog, for being on my to-do list, too.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

takes an english teacher...

My daughter was talking to her friend in the backseat of my car. We were taking him home. They were discussing various Megablock figures that are based on some video games, like Halo and World of Warcraft. They were also talking about their experiences playing those games. About the time we were pulling onto the street her friend lives on, Raine said that she could, "literally pretend" to play... something.

Usually when she and her friend are talking in the back seat, I eavesdrop a little... I like to know what's on their minds. But, I don't want to be part of their conversation. It isn't my conversation, and they aren't talking to me. Still, sometimes, snippets amuse me.

I guess it takes an English teacher for a mom to be amused and entertained by her literally pretending.

I know she does.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

falling leaf day

The cold has finally arrived here in New Mexico. Well, it arrived over the weekend, and is at the point of moderating by now. I thought Monday was going to be falling leaf day for sure, but it wasn't. Maybe now, though, the leaves will turn yellow before they freeze and drop off the trees like rain.

Yep. Friday I needed air conditioning in my classroom. Monday it was the rush to start the heaters. Bet the plumbers and a/c guys all around town made their Christmas shopping money this week!

Speaking of that, I still have a hard time realizing Thanksgiving is next week. Then little more than a month to Christmas! Am I the only one who still isn't used to writing 2012 for the year? And it's going to be changing again so soon?!?! Ack!

Maybe we'll have falling leaf day over the Thanksfgiving holiday...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

discussion experimentation

I've started a unit on Frankenstein for our 12th grade novel. I have some pretty ambitious expectations for my students to go with this novel. We'll be concentrating on theme and motif. I know! Not just plowing the way through the novel. And, what's more, I'm trying to get THEM to do the work, not me. So, there are discussion questions. Questions that I want the students to respond to, not me. AND, what's more, I want them to respond to each other's repsonses. THEN, I'm going to make them find something in text to support one - or more - of their responses, and explain how it fits with the assertion they are making.

Or, I'm just going to bang my head on the wall...

In my morning class, I think we were getting somewhere with the process. The afternoon class? Well, it is hard to tell, really. This class has a much harder time focussing, and staying focussed. Add to that a handful of students who just have to have some sort of verbal exchange with each other, and we teeter on the edge of accomplishing something or falling into total chaos. I give them the benefit of the doubt to a certain extent because while they often are lost, sometimes they are also genious. Hard to tell which is happening, sometimes.

For the discussion today, I had them respond to 4 questions, one at a time, in writing, and then trade to respond to another question. Any one paper should have several different (hopefully) responses to the same question. Tomorrow, I'll give them back those papers, in some random sort of order, and have them respond to what their classmates have written. Who is on the track you are on? Who isn't? Who has the most interesting/different/noteworthy response on this page? THEN, we'll share some of the results. I called it a round robin discussion in writing.

The sub who was in the room - and was an experienced teacher in her own right - complemented me on my teaching style. It always feels good to get positive feedback, especially when there are those days when you wonder if you're doing any good at all.

Next week, we will start to explore one of the themes in non-fiction as preparation for the persuasive writing piece that is an English 4 requirement. That should be interesting...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

in your dreams

What are the landscapes of your dreams? I have quite a few in mine. I lived a few months in San Diego, and I used to dream about it a lot. Not so much any more, but still... The San Diego in my dreams was not like the real one, but I knew, in my dream, that was where I was. I also have a dream Tucson, that is very unlike the real Tucson, but in my dreams, I know that is where I am. I visit my friend Steph and her family there, and drive around to visit familiar places. In the dream Tucson, there is an awesome library, and a mall that I wish I could really go shop in. It has some stores that I wish I could really find.

I often dream I'm in the house I grew up in. The layout is the familiar layout of the 30 some odd years my parents lived in that house. My parents still live there, in my dreams, mostly. I love answering the door of that dream house, because friends and family are always coming over to visit. There always seems to be some kind of holiday to celebrate.

Not too long ago, I was dreaming and I was in that house for a while. Something happened (I don't remember what, now) and I had to call 911. I gave the operator my parents' address, but I imediately knew that wasn't right. I gave her my current address. That - of course - caused the operator to question if I knew where I was. In my dream, my logic was that the street names had changed... remember when that happened?

In my waking thoughts, I decided that this house, the one I live in now, the one we are raising our daughter in, is finally incorporating itself into my psyche as "home." You know what? I think that is a good thing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Voting is definitely on my to-do list, and yes, I got it done today. Very happy with the results of the presidential race, myself, I have to admit. I'm not one of those people who is vocal about their politics. I wish that our country's politics were more... centered. I know that I am a conservative person, but when it comes to politics, my beliefs are catagorized as liberal. Politics in general are not my favorite topic. It seems to be one of those "lets just agree to disagree" or "preaching to the choir" things to me.

Not only did we get time off to vote, we were lucky enough to get a whole day off from school on election day. Many of our local polling places are in schools, and I think that the safety issues of having all those people coming on campuses makes closing schools for the day a wise choice. You just don't know who is walking in. I don't mind benefiting from it, either.

Here in Las Cruces - not sure whether this is all over NM - we have convenience polling places. You no longer have to vote at a specified polling place. Which ever one is convenient to you that day, you can vote there. I picked the library, where they have also been holding early voting. (I'm not really sure why I didn't DO early voting...) There was a line. A pretty long line. It moved fairly quickly, but I was glad I brought my book.

Raine and I did some other errands today as well, some of which made us wait. Reading was done today by both of us. Fortunately for Raine, she got to go swimming this afternoon with Ezekiel, and the aquatics center, where they both enjoy swimming. Even though her morning was boring errands, her afternoon was saved, and her day off from school was not entirely ruined by her mom.

I'm glad I voted. I'm glad we GET to vote. I'm glad the election day has passed, and the political ads are done. For now.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

the ren fair report

We had a good time at the Ren Fair. The weather was beautiful. Sunny and in the 70's, so garb was not too bad, especially in the shade. The wind was reasonably calm, the crowds were not too bad. Good for personal space, probably not as good for some of the vendors. It was fabulous to walk up to our designated area to see this:
Like the good old days...
An actual banner, proclaiming who we are. Pavillions and banners and PEOPLE!!! WOoT!

Ron in garb, and spiffy bunting made for the occasion.
We had friend come to help out from Alamogordo, and from El Paso, including the Baron & Baroness, who both did a fabulous job with demos. There was even a brief court, and awards were awarded.

Thank you, your Excellencies!
We got to see our friend Alan, dancing with the Greek folk dancing group he has been part of for many years. It was nice to see him dancing, and talk to him a little later when he found us in the SCA encampment.

Greek folk dancers
We also did some shopping. I got

My first henna!
and we each picked out a new dragon.

posing for the family photo
We even caught up with Phil, who was helping out at his brother's booth.

Beautiful day at the fair!

Friday, November 2, 2012

renn fair weekend

My normally rather boring life, with few overly dramatic moments has been rather busier than usual lately. This is not a bad thing. I've been getting to know some of the people who are becoming more active in the SCA, and they seem very nice people. Making friends is a good thing. We've made bunting, and gotten some garb put together for several people. I've even had things to put into my Arts & Sciences report! I know!

This weekend is the Ren Fair, an annual event that I'm fond of, even beyond the SCA participation, although I certainly have fond rememberances of that as well. I'm actually looking forward to it being a little more of an event this year, than it has been in the past few years, and that makes me happy. Much happier than the year I went and found NO SCA presence at ALL. YiKES!

So, I hope I'll remember my camera, and my sun screen. I'm all ready wishing I had remembered to bring my rolly cart home from school. That was very handy hauling stuff on site last year. Why? Why? Why did I leave it at school?

Ren Fair. Totally on my to-do list!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

halloween fun

Last year, Raine wanted to be Steve, the guy in Minecraft. We worked on that costume, and finally taped it on her, I think, and she tripped around the neighborhood collecting candy. I don't think it was as much fun to wear in reality as she thought it was going to be.

Steve, in his seat of honor, guarding the room.

This year, Raine went back and forth, as kids will do, and had a hard time deciding what to be for Halloween. Until we took a family trip to Spirit Halloween, and she fell in love with a werewolf. A werewolf mask.

How can you be scared of those beautiful blue eyes?
Ron & I discussed it. The mask was cool! The jaws moved. It was - of course - more that we wanted to pay... but... she would use it and use it. (Steve still gets played with.) What else would we need to go with it? Hmmmm. A shirt to tear to shreds, and... pants & that was pretty much it! OK, do-able. A werewolf it is.

Raine talked me into fake fur on sale at Jo-ann's which I made sleeves of and sewed into the sleeves of the shirt for werewolf arms. Ron added patches of fur behind some of the rips, and even sewed a tail to the hem of the shirt. Easiest costume we've had in a while!

Waiting for the festivities to begin!
She had a great time handing out treats while she waited for time to go out trick or treating. She scared small children without even trying. Halloween score!

Of course she wasn't the only one who dressed up. Carl was a hippie (shirt courtesy of Roxanne & Dina & weekend sewing).
Peace, man.

Ron also played his part. Werewolf Hunter, steampunk style.

The hunter and the hunted.
Awesome fun for Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

not quite halloween...

We've got Raine's costume finished early this year. Last year we were madly glueing colored paper onto cardboard boxes for her minecraft guy. He sits in her room, like a suit of armor, and even gets played with, although not the whole thing, which was rather awkward to walk it. Also, she's taller now (her constant state) so the legs don't fit as well. Still, it was fun.

This year, she's already worn her costume to two costume parties. She's loving it, and I call it a success. Pictures tomorrow, and more Halloween stuff as well, I'm sure.

For today, I want to talk about books. Or at least one book. I'm reading 3 at the moment. Frankenstein because my students will be reading it soon. Seekers, with Raine (somewhat anthropomorphic bears) We're reading the first one together, even though she's all ready read it, and the second, and is working on the third now. Also, I'm almost all the way through Alibi Man by Tami Hoag. It really caught me up, and I have been enjoying that book! A strong, but wounded, smart and smart-ass, heroine really floats my boat. It doesn't hurt that the male lead respects - if not always appreciates - her for those qualities. The story is tight and well written, and leads you to one of several murder suspects, including one that the heroine really wants to be guilty, and the reader really wants to be guilty, and who may - or may not - BE guilty. There ARE other suspects, and soon they will sort out and I will be done. I'm thinking a trip to the used book store may be in order for more of Hoag's novels.

Yes, Fran, I'm sure you DID tell me so...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

one fish, two fish

We have one cat, and one dog... and fish. Beta fish, to be exact. Since betas don't get along with each other, they have - at this point - separate tanks. We had some divided tanks, but being so close to another beta stressed some of them out, which shortened their lifespan.

We started off with fish for Raine for Christmas a couple years ago. She took good care of them, even if she did need the occasional reminder to feed them. Those fish both lasted more than a year, one almost 6 months longer than the other. She has drawn a picture of one of the originals, and has it on her wall.

smile for the camera...

Ron is trying to find the right combination of filter, heater, light & dark to keep them happy and healthy, but they do have a limited life span. This summer, we lost one of my favorites. H was a beauty, and we called him Fabio, because he really flaunted his fins. If I moved my finger near the glass of the tank to point at his food, he would follow my finger and find his food. Most of them ignore my pointing.

A couple months ago, I got one that was a mix of jade and turquoise. He was really pretty with his jewel tones, and Raine decided his name was Gem. He was really cool looking, and his lips were a lighter blue than the surrounding skin, and stood out. I really wanted a picture of him, but sadly, didn't get around to it before he went floaty. Bye, Gem. Before Gem, we had one with white fins, and when he swam around, it reminded me of Einstein, and his crazy hair, sticking out everywhere.

So yes, I think fish are rather a fleeting pet, but there is something to enjoy about them. I know the flash can stress them, and scare them, but I think I'd like to photograph them each at least once, especially if I can get them without the flash. They certainly are beautiful.

I call this guy Dragon, because his golden scales really stand out.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

photo shoot

This evening, I took all the pictures I've been meaning to take for a while. I was inspired to get the camera busy by Raine, who drew these predators while she was with Ezekiel this afternoon. I am blown away by her talent (mostly because I don't have it).
I think she's leveled up her skills.
The top images are the maskes for the bottom guys. Sorry about the glare, though. Yes, she's still using a good bit of invented spelling, even though she gets A's on her spelling tests. What's up with that?

I also took some of a few of our betas. I didn't want to take too many as the flash was scaring them, and I didn't want to do that. I've been meaning to photo some of them for a while and in the mean time some of my favorites have died. Sigh.
I call this one Dragon.
Finally, a little something that Roxanne and I were working on this past weekend. I made the pieced block earlier, and cut out a second. We were experimenting to see how practical it would be to make holiday baskets like this. Not very practical. It was time consuming, and some of the middle steps had us both scared for the outcome. I think the final product for this will be nice, but I wouldn't want to have to spend that much time on each one. Maybe some half square triangles would work better? hmmm

the block pre backed & quilted

all this needs is to have the bottom sewn in

Monday, October 22, 2012

the grey

Ron and I watched The Grey this evening, thanks to Netflix. Liam Neesam, need I say more? I hadn't caught it at the theater, and had been eyeing on disk. Thank you, Netflix for saving me some money.

The scenery is stunning. The snow and more snow and rugged terrain of Alaska or northern Canada, probably. There are some interesting cinematic moments. There's Liam to look at. There is a lot of disappointment.

The next bit is spoilers, but I think you're better off reading them than trying to sit through the movie, honestly. The premise of the film is that a plane crashes in the snowy wilderness, and the survivors try to hike to civilization. As if the crash itself, the wilderness and the extreme cold weren't enough, there are wolves. Not normal wolves, some kind of semi-sentient (evidently) evil wolves who hold a grudge (or something) and would rather chase and kill the crash survivors one by one for the effect of killing them - you know because they all ready have a full pantry up there in the wilds - instead of eating them. And they travel together in the hundreds, if not thousands. And behave not at all wolf like. Pretty much.

The whole terrible sort-of-supernatural wolf thing killed this movie for me. Because of the poorly portrayed wolves, I could not suspend my belief enough to enter that world and be entertained by it. It had the potential for a very grey introspective look at a man deciding whether to live or die. I could be interested in that. But, no. The overly dramatized wolves really took it apart for me. It would have been a much more entertaining venture with the wolves totally in the background, and the conflict based more around the natural world, much like, "To Build a Fire." Jack London, where are you when we need you?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

getting to halloween fun

Raine's Nana sent some fun t-shirts to her for halloween. One of them has a flame-y jack-o-lantern face. It showed up very well, even without the flash.

oooo scarey
The camera batteries were low, so I convinced Raine to head outside for a better shot of the whole outfit.

with the perfect pair of shorts
Thanks, Nana. Now, let's get back in the shade...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

itchy fingers, lame brain

I keep looking at the "new post" button, wanting to make one, and then my brain just kinda shuts down. So many times, I can write about what I'm making or have made - and there is making going on, here, there is! - but spoilers, people, spoilers! So sharing it will have to come later!

In the mean time, I may have a plan. May. We'll see how it works out.

One thing I want to share today is a music source. My co-teacher found it and shared it with me. The site is called Daytrotter and the concept is this: bands come in and record a few songs, and daytrotter posts them. They also make & produce collections of these songs, and produce limited editions of them, making only as many as are preordered. They archive all the sessions, so you can listen to them, and - after a quite reasonable membership fee - download them if you desire. The bands are varied, and many are not well known. I'm sure there are songs and bands I won't just love, but there is also music here I will really enjoy, and enjoy exploring. Also, If you are an art fan, one of the staff at Daytrotter does an illustration of each of the bands that is used as their thumbnail. Cool. Another cool thing? They have some tracks by the Lumineers, who I also got introduced to recently, and really, really like. WOot!

Monday, October 8, 2012

fall break ends

The long weekend of fall break started with Thursday and the fair. Saturday, Carl and Raine and I drove over to see our cousins Bob & Louise, who are getting older, and don't get around as well as they once did. We had a lovely lunch and visit and we tried not to stay too long to tire them out. We need to go back more often, though. YesterdayRon and I spent the evening with Sara & Damon. We ate pizza. I played cards with them (we took turns winning) and we all chatted and chatted. It was fun!

I actually got rather productive in the craft room this weekend. Yesterday, Ron & I cleaned out a box or two, and sorted some into the trash, a bit to keep (THERE's that big crock pot that we knew we had SOMEWHERE!) And some to give away. The aisle to the door is getting wider, as I'm claiming more and more of the craft room. Hooray! I also organized a lot of fabric today, moved things, swept and dusted, got what cobwebs I could reach. I didn't get sewing done, but I did get some flags cut out to make into bunting for Renn fair for the SCA. I'm thinking the denim I repurposed from old pants will go with any random white fabrics, alternated on the cord. They will flutter in the breeze, and mark some boundaries, and look great.

I've napped, and stayed up late, and all those "bad" habits that one looks forward to on vacations, but tomorrow I'll be back to the routine, and Raine will be back to hers. I've enjoyed it, and I'll go back wanting more, which - to me - means it must have been good. It's so much better to end wanting more than being tired of whatever...

Now, I'm organized for Christmas craftiness, though, yahoo!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

fair day

It was a lovely day to go to the fair, today, people! The sun shone, the breeze was breezey. The crowds were... not there. (Which was perfect for me.) We saw what we wanted to see, and sat in the shade to rest when we wanted to. We didn't have to wait in lines, or feel pushed around. Carrie tagged me about 5:30, and I got to head home before 6 while they stayed to do the midway on a $20 wrist band, ride all you want. Raine got home about 10:30 and headed for the bath, exhausted and happy. Pretty awesome.

Here are some of the highlights. Pictures? I know! I actually did take a few!

These things look like so much fun! They roll around in the water, and it's rather like a hamster ball, but a softer landing. The kids mostly stay dry, until - like Ezekiel - they sit on the side of the pool to put their shoes back on, and someone happens to be in the ball next to you. Yes, there is splashing. This pool isn't as big as the one they've had on previous years, but the kids still seemed to have a blast.

We went through the petting zoo, and the animal barns. I enjoy looking at all the school art projects grouped together by school. It looked like they were missing several schools this year, though. The arts & crafts exhibits were down, too. I feel sad that that aspect of the fair seems to be falling. On the other hand, I also think that they don't do a great job of getting the word out to enter things, either. I really need to decide to get something put together for the fair next year. Need to get Raine & Ezekiel to do entries as well. They are always drawing stuff and making stuff.

We visited the 4H barn, where the Farm & Ranch museum had a table... and some photo props...
cute cow with a hat
I remember as a kid, what a big deal the fair was, and how we got out of school early for student day, and that was the day we usually went. They haven't been doing that here lately, and they did a better school promotion than usual this year, and timed it with fall break. So, for me, the fair was a success this year, at least in terms of visiting it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

woman of words

My co-teacher this year is a poet. Not only is he a poet, but he loves teaching poetry, and so he does. We have poetry day each week, and I think he does an awesome job. He's teaching me about poetry too. Actually, he's re-acquainting me with an old friend. When he has the kids try their hand, I usually try mine, too. There are many teacherly reasons I do this. It sets a good example of participation. It gives him an example to read if the kids are too shy to read theirs. (they aren't as often now, which is awesome).

The last couple of days, for the last part of class, he's been showing us a documentary on a poetry slam contest that is done in Chicago. There are some wonderful teenage poets who compete. The kids have issues and troubles and genius, like teenagers do. I've been enjoying it, and I hope that the students are getting something out of it as well.

Today, walking out to my car, I began composing a poem. I worked on it a little this evening, not the least of which was getting it written down, and I'm going to share it with you. It may - or may not - be your cup of tea, and that's OK. If you want to give feedback, I'm fine with that, too. Here it is:

I am a woman of many words.
Words that I say to myself.
Poetic words, that pour across the page
Piling up upon each other
Words that I read and read and read
Words that I hear in Maya Angelou's voice
In my head
Standing proud and smart and woman.
I am a woman of many words.
Waiting for the moment
That is my moment.
Waiting for the moment that words
Show what kind of woman I am.
Finding my voice to speak them
I am a woman of many words
flowing from my fingers to the
keyboard to the
computer screen
like my voice but with the space bar clicking.
I am a woman
of words

                    Dina Honeycutt 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

fairly on the list

This week is the Southern NM State Fair. Usually it is in the middle of September, but not this year. It does, however, coincide with the days off we get for fall break. What a coincidence. (I doubt that it is, really, but what the heck) On Thursday, early in the day, the admission price is significantly lower than the rest of the time. I'm planing to take Raine out to see what we can see. Since we will both have more fun if she has a friend along, we'll be taking Ezekiel as well.

We'll get in and look through the exhibits, the animal barns, etc. I'll torture them with the craft displays, and then buy them horrible, overpriced food that they'll love. Eventually - like around 6 - Ezekiel's mom and I will to a tag-team trade off so that the kids can get a pay one price wristband and ride the rides for a while. I'll get to go home without spending too much time on the midway, and the kids will come home exhausted and dirty. Just what the fair is good for!

That's the plan, anyway...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

fourth grade singers

Every month at Loma Heights, the administration has an evening meeting to share news with parents. They are sure to get a crowd each time - even though it isn't always the same crowd - because at each of the meetings, one of the grades performs the songs that their music teacher prepares them to sing. The music teacher is a young lady who has been one of Raine's favorite adults at the school from kindergarten on. She also is involved in the summer music camp that Raine has gone to for several years, and I think she is one of the reasons Raine enjoys going to the camps.

4th graders led by Ms. Ward
 This year, they sang several songs, including "Pay me my Money Down," and "This Land is my Land" for their performance. Know what? They did a pretty darned good job. You could tell there was some growth in these kids, from previous years, in maturity and skills. Good job, kids! Good job, Ms. Ward!

And since I told you she could do it, here's Raine, on her bike! (Good thing there was just enough battery in my camera to take these pics!

gonna have to raise the seat when we take of the training wheels!

Monday, September 24, 2012

i ride my bicycle

It has taken Raine a while to decide that she wants to ride her bike. I'm not surprised, really, and I figured that when she was ready, she would ride it. She kind of did the same thing learning to ride the scooter. When the neighborhood kids showed up riding theirs, she got on hers, too. Pretty soon they were zooming through the neighborhood.

Now, it is the bike's turn. Ron had to replace a tire tube a couple weeks ago. The back tire, of course, for maximum irritation. Last week she took it out almost every evening when the neighborhood kids were playing after dinner. (I LOVE my neighborhood because she gets that experience.) Tonight she took it out again. Her confidence on it has grown, and she was riding up and down even though none of her friends were out yet.

The training wheels are still on it. At this point its because she hasn't figured out that she'll actually be able to ride it better without them. I give her maybe to the end of the week to be ready to go without them.

Friday, September 21, 2012

fall in the air?

I love summer. I know, it's hot. And I get hot. When I sweat, it isn't pretty. Still, I'd much rather be hot than cold. The long summer days fill my soul with the energy that gets me through the rest of the year. Thank goodness winter here in NM isn't long nor particularly wintery. Most of the time, anyway. Summer seems to last and last, and the leaves on the trees often stay green until the first hard frost finally convinces them that it is time to abandon their branches.

This year is no exception. It was 90+ degrees today, sunny and bright. Still, when I left school this evening, admiring the "long" shadows of the ants on their curb highway, there was something in the little breeze. The seasons are changing, it said. Enjoy the warmth of today because it won't be here forever. Remember how the winter feels? Get ready.

Sometimes winter sneaks up on me, unawares, and I have to hunt down my jacket one fine morning, surprised that I need it. This year, however, I caught the hint, and fall is in the air.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

one more

Getting acclimated has been taking up a lot of my emotional and creative inner space, I guess. It seems to be all I can write about. I think I'm getting more to a point of comfort, though, and finding "my place," so to speak.

I'm really enjoying working at OHS. I know I've said that before, and it is still true. Hope it will be true for a long while. Now that several weeks have gone by, I feel like I'm making friends there. I have a lunch bunch, and while they aren't the same as the old lunch bunch (and that would be kind of weird if they were...) this group is entertaining to be around at lunch. People come in and out - including students, so I think it has that in common with the CMC crowd I had been enjoying at GHS. But I'm not just making at work friends. I think they are the kind of people you can emotionally invest in, and let into your life. Now, I'm not the kind of person that does that immediately, but to feel that it could be there? Yeah. Pretty nice.

I do have one kind of bitter sweet twinge now and then. When the afternoon rolls around and the deaf ed interpreter comes down the hall, and enters the classroom next door. It makes me think of Lou, who worked at Onate, doing that very job. Who LOVED working at Onate, doing that very job. I just have to miss her momentarily, and think about how awesome it would have been to be there with her, and her be there with me.

Even though Lou's been gone a while, now, I still miss her, and I suppose I must feel her around now and then, just checking in.

Monday, September 17, 2012

film on the list

Over the summer, I got out the boxes of home movies that my parents had taken. And the slides. And some other stuff as well. I knew all those movies and slides were in there, and that time wasn't doing them any favors. But, the emotional baggage tied to them has been heavy. I got the first batch sent to be digitized over the summer, and got them back this week.

I will admit it is kind of fun to watch those kids at Lake Roberts, and celebrating a third birthday (evidently) with a doll cake, and building a snow fortress (or something). Kinda scary to watch my grandfather toss around one of his grandchildren, but I'm sure they thought nothing of it... Wasn't one of us, before our time. So were the shots of the bay, with bunches of people swimming, and kids running around, and my mom's great dane as a puppy(!).

I lent Carl the disc, so he could check it out before I could do much with it (it was his birthday), but I did get some of the clips put together for a 3 minute stroll down memory lane. Here's the link, if you are interested... Lake Roberts  . Looking forward to getting the next set put together (yep it will be pretty random, too) to be digitized. Maybe a set of slides, then more movies. Working on that to-do list after all.

Any one know anyone that might be interested in an old movie projector? Slide projector? No?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

how to do homecoming

Yesterday - Friday - was the homecoming pep assembly. WOW. I was blown away.

First, the band lines up at the farthest end of the building away from the gym. Just happens to be right outside my classroom door. When they all get lined up, the drummers start, and the band plays, and they march to gym, like the pied pipers of Onate, pulling the student body behind them.  After the confusion of figuring out where each class should sit, a minor distraction - it was the first assembly of the year after all - the rally got under way.

My second amazement was the level of participation in the rally by the students. Of course the band played, and were awesome. The football team sat at the other end of the gym. Students MC'ed the rally, and did a great job. It helped so much being inside, and being able to hear what was going on. Gadsden always had their rallies out on the football field. The powder puff game had been the night before, junior girls against seniors, and the girls had been practicing every day. The seniors won. Then the boys, who had been doing the cheering, a squad for the juniors and a squad for the seniors, came out dressed for the occasion, and performed their routines. That was a hoot, and they all seemed like they were having a blast doing it. The senior football moms pushed the cheerleaders to the side (in a nice way) and performed a routine THEY had been working on, too! Go Moms! Of course both the varsity and the JV cheer leading squads performed, in combined and separate routines. Then the dance squad came out. Of course the ROTC did the flag ceremony, and the band did the fight song - as well as some other pieces. There were class games, concurrently running sports were recognized, and the yelling and the cheering!

Last, but not least, the play production class did a flash mob piece to "Do, re mi." How fun is that? They were promoting their production of The Sound of Music, which they will be producing this semester. They sang, they danced, they wowed.

That's how Homecoming gets done at OHS.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

homecoming week

This week has been homecoming week for Onate High School. All week has been a parade of kids - and teachers - in themed clothing. I'll even admit to taking part on a day or two, when my wardrobe lent itself to the theme. Tonight was the powder puff game, where the girls take the field. Saturday is the game and the dance. I am planning to take Raine to the game. We may or may not stay through the whole thing.

Here is one of the differences between my new and old job. Working out of town meant that participating in after school activities had an extra layer of "trouble" added to them. Not like ohhhh you're in trouble now, but more the it's too much trouble to drive back out to campus after I get home kind. Oh, sure, you can save the round trip and stay there... but then a long day is even longer. And forget any family involvement.

Here in town, it won't take the extra half hour each way to get to the game. It isn't an all day, or a beyond the day investment of time just to make it to the game. I know that my students appreciate my involvement as a teacher. They see my participation as a facet of caring about them. And I do. But I care about my own family as well, and sometimes that extra time was just the point that over balanced the scales.

Here's another thing about supporting one of the high schools in town. I'm also supporting the community I live in while I do it. Not someone else's community. Of course I feel like teaching there is doing the same, so there's a double support.

Some things I appreciate in my own "homecoming" week...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

wish list vs struggle

I look at blog posts about quilts. Not many, really, compared to what is out there, but enough. I love the fresh colors, the repeating kaleidoscopes of color. Even the quilting can grab me. I want to have them. I want to make them.

But, I struggle. Not with the crafting skills, which would understandably need improvement. That would come with practice. I struggle with lazy. With sitting here in front of the computer, instead at my sewing machine. Or in front of the TV, which hasn't been so much of an issue for a while, but I find myself there more often lately. Project Runway, Castle, I've even been able to watch Risoli & Isles, and Major Crimes, now that Raine is old enough not to be disturbed by that type of program. Of course, I've picked up the cross stitching, and that is a perfect sitting-in-front-of the-TV activity for me.

Often by the time I would really sit at the machine, it is dark out, and I'm tired. I know that creativity would help revive me, in a way, but I'm so much more able to do these things early in the day. By the time evening comes, I'm ready to sit back and not demand much precision of myself.

I know it comes down to choices, and some of the choices are even make the quilt, or look at what others have made.And those are inspiration for making. But they aren't making.

There have been times when I wished I were a little bit of an insomniac. Just a little. Get up early and do some creating when the house is quiet and others are sleeping. But, really? I know that I wouldn't be as productive as my active imagination pictures me. And grouchy? Oh, man. Yeah, that.

Still, I guess self talk is part of the process, so here it is. Make something, you! Well, tomorrow, because tonight, it's time for bed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

back into the swing

It isn't like I have nothing to say...Or at least I have things to talk/write about, if not the earth shattering all knowledge. I think I have been mentally adjusting to change. Physically adjusting as well. So, its time to get back into the swing of some good habits.

Blogging. For one. Yes, for me it is a good habit. Getting that writing practice in makes a difference to my personal happiness and creativity. So, I'm making - well, remaking - my commitment to writing here.

Biking. For the other. I felt so good about the exercising and feeling better because of the exercise. But school started, and schedules changed, and whatever other excuses I might make... and I haven't ridden in a while. But I rode today. I got on the bike and rode.

Time to get back into the swing of things.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

sewing on christmas

This has been a good weekend. We had a cold front come through yesterday. The temperatures stayed in the low 80's under a sprinkly blanket of clouds. It was lovely because its a rare day that we get that. I went and sewed with Roxanne, and we got a slip sewn up, and 3 more skirts in the works. She had an interesting idea of making skirts to layer. Wear one as a slip, and another on top. I think it could - with the right skirts - be really cute. I mean the slips we've made for her are pretty much just white skirts. She wears a lot of skirts and I'm sure she will get a lot of use out of the ones we are making regardless of whether she wears them one or two at a time. We'll have to have a little fashion show, she and I, to see how those layers look.

Today, the weather cleared up, and I got to enjoy a rare day of going NO WHERE. Not getting in the car even once. Wooo! Frankly, I would not like it if I were home bound. I enjoy going and doing, and the freedom of having a car to do it in. Still, the day at home for a change is a treat. Of course I sewed something together. 

I've been enjoying making tote bags, and I worked on one today. I can't show the picture online yet, because it is a gift, and no early peeking! Still, I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, and the creativity I used to make it. It gave me some problems along the way but I think I pretty much solved them. The most perplexing one happened when I surged the handle pieces together. An "outside" and an "inside" piece of fabric (or top & bottom, whatever) and some facing fabric for strength. Well, the facing had a little stretch to it, unexpectedly, but I thought I had that going OK until I was done with the whole seam, and one of the layers of fabric had stretched in the seam as well, almost as if it had been cut on the bias, which it had not. The errant fabric was a fat quarter that we had gotten as a contrast to the other two pieces, and those were a better weave, I think. I think that the final product works all right, but, man. I learned not to use THAT facing again, in a handle at least.

I have more tote bags in the works, and some of them may even be gifts... Wouldn't it be nice to be done with Christmas making before December? Won't happen...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

some tv viewing - live action

Tonight was the newest episode of Project Runway. It was the "real woman" challenge, and I was so disappointed with one of my favorite designers. Well, he was before tonight, anyway. Ven has been one of my favorites because of some amazing work early on in the contest. He made a bustier look like a rose. It was amazing. This week, his "real woman" was about a size 14, and he practically freaked out. (he's certainly no size 0 himself) THEN, he couldn't say "you're too big for this" too many times. REALLY?!?!? The other designers were playing it up in their mini interviews. Not only did he come across as a dick personally, but that unprofessional behavior nearly cost him his spot on the show. He had his "client" and her friend both in tears by his treatment and attitude. On top of that, his design was not good. So, yeah. No longer at the top of my popularity list. I was surprised by the others at the bottom this week as well, as all three are usually strong contenders. It was a surprising episode.

SO have you seen Call of the Wildman yet? OMG! This is a series I would never have thought to like. Why did I ever even watch an episode? Well, there's Raine and her animal obsession. She alternates between cartoon channel and animal planet marathons. Frankly, sometimes the animal planet shows are a relief. So Ernie, the Turtle Man, goes and gets pesty unwanted critters out of the way of humans. He catches them and makes sure they get safely transported somewhere else where they can live happily. He is from the back woods of Kentucky, and he looks it, but man this guy seems to be such a nice guy! You might not always want to sit too close, 'cause some of those animals... well, you know. Plus, I don't think he has much volume control. He does his yipyipyip and then yells "Now that's Live Action!"  Yeah. Now we're saying it too... A charming show, though. It actually is. With real people. Or pretty real. At least as far as I can tell....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I started off this summer thinking I would blog, blog, blog. Maybe take a little time off for vacation, but, a lot of writing.

Hmmmm wonder where that went? In fact I've been feeling a little guilty that I haven't blogged sooner and more, at this point.

I've been making things. I started a cross stitch project in June that I finished last week. One of a set with conji on them. Yeah I probably spelled that wrong. Chinese lettering, though. I have been reluctant to work on cross stitch for a while, due in part to  issues with my progressive lenses, but this pair of glasses seems to be working out better for me, and I thought I would give it a try with something not too big or complex. It went well, and I'll probably work on some more, while I'm saving up for framing.

I've been knitting that green scarf as well. Each row goes very quickly, but the needles are so small that there are a LOT of rows. I do like the effect of those small needles, though, and am happy with how it is turning out, although some (including me sometimes) might think it too plain. I'll have to reserve my final judgement on that score until I see the finished product.

I've sewn. I made some clothes for my neice, for Raine, and for me. I've helped Roxanne with some more. I even cut out a new camp shirt for me last weekend. I made tote bags! I went mad for making tote bags! I have three more in the works at the moment, even.

I've been creative, and it has been a good part of my summer.

I got a new job, this summer, as well. I really dislike job hunting. It is one of the worst parts of working. At least, in my opinion. The job hunt this summer, once the application process was complete - and it was, of course, a pain - the rest was fairly painless, and I have a new job that I am really happy to have, working with people that I enjoy working with. The drive to work is quick, and my stress level has dropped significantly.

So, why not writing? What happened to that? I just don't know.

Monday, August 6, 2012

the beginning

Tomorrow is my first official work day at my new job. I've been on campus, and worked on my room some (not enough, never enough) and been at Central Office to fill out paperwork. Ron & I even went to the ice cream social this afternoon for new employees. We got to check out the campus of the newest high school in town, Centennial. Wow! Nice campus, and LARGE! They had thoughtfully created shady spaces for students to hang out in and use. It also has a 9th grade academy. Nice.

So on to my new job tomorrow. I'm happy in the position. I'm looking forward to meeting the man who will be coteaching with me in the inclusion classes. I want to run some ideas by him for this first week, and hopefully get a feel for what the course has been like in the past.

New job, new classroom, new school, new students... new beginning. Hope on the horizon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

skirting the issue

I've been wanting a denim skirt for a while. You know, because I'm always wearing skirts. uh, huh. Anyway, I have been wanting one. I got fabric for one, and everything. It's been sitting in a project bag for a while, waiting patiently for its turn.

Last week, I found a nice, tiered denim-ish skirt in Cato. It was my size, and $12 on sale. I got it, of course. Do you think that satisfied my need for a denim skirt? (you know, because I'm always wearing skirts) No. It did not.

So, this week, I pulled out that bag and got out that fabric - a very soft, denim-y, light blue denim - out and found a pattern that I wanted to use for the skirt, and got to cutting. The skirt has a simple yoke, with panels that grow fuller to the hem. I like that full sweep, and a longer length, like ankle or close to it.

There was also a blue leafy print fabric in the bag that was perfect for a tunic top to go with the skirt. Yeah, I cut that out, too. Today I sewed on both for a while. Almost have the skirt finished, and the top will go pretty quickly as well.

New clothes for a new job, right?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

desert traveller

So I've shared where we went and what we did, but I have to share my observations about travelling. Or, being a traveller.

I guess I need to start out with saying that I'm a desert rat. Born and raised. I've been places, and seen things, but the desert always feels like coming home, to me. I bugs me when people say that everything is brown in the desert. So. Not. True. Sure, you can see sand. A lot of it. But there are plants: grasses and flowers, and while trees may be sporadic, there are some pretty big bushes, and - of course - cactus. Many of them are some variety of green, with appropriate application of water. But that is just the start. You can see for miles. Miles and miles. Purple mountain majesties, and bluest blue skies. Clouds and rainstorms. Dust (sometimes WAY too much of that). You can see the fences, and the washes and the dirt roads. You can see each little farm house, mobile home & rusted out car hulk.

Once we got into Oklahoma, and for most of our travels, there were trees. Many of them. Along both sides of the roads, most of the time. It's green. A LOT of it. People who live in that seem to miss it when they aren't there. Me, I feel like there are so many trees, I don't get to see the forest. I don't get to see the creatures between the trees, or that corn field just on the other side, or that falling down house/barn or is it a lovely mansion? Maybe living in the desert makes me nosey, but I want to know what is beyond the roadside. Where is the horizon? It's just trees and more walls of trees.

Now, don't get me wrong, I really love trees. I have a thing for them, really. How they build themselves fascinates me. Not only that, but I appreciate a good forest as much as the next person. We took a beautiful drive through the Blue Ridge Parkway, which I absolutely loved. I just am not sure that I consider that roadside wall of green that follows so many roads through the south to really count as "scenery."

That said, I'll still go back in a heartbeat.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

the trip home

For the homeward bound leg of our vacation, we took several days, and had some fun with where we stopped. It wasn't nearly the endurance test of the drive out, and I think we enjoyed our trip home.

On Monday, we made it to Atlanta, hoping to include a visit to the Georgia Aquarium. Ron got directions to the Aquarium, and we found a hotel that was on one of the mentioned streets. Sounds easy & convenient, right? Well, we ended up having to call the hotel, who put us on the phone with an ambassador thing they have to help people find their way around the city. Thank goodness, because we would have remained hopelessly lost otherwise. It took them about 15 minutes to get us turned around, through the one way downtown streets, and to the OTHER PART of the street that also went a couple of blocks by the museum. We had a great view of a chain link fence and parking lot out our motel window, but the thunderstorm was lovely. The next morning, the rain was over, we found the aquarium again with no trouble, and had a great time going through it.
This was the ceiling and those were trout.

From Atlanta, we went on to Biloxi. We had considered New Orleans, but I don't think either Ron or I was up to another busy city. Biloxi hit the mark, though. We found a reasonable hotel across the street from the beach, and we got to wade through the low tide and find shells, hermit crabs, and even a small jelly fish to look at (and not even get stung by). We followed the recommendation of the lady at the hotel desk, and had a wonderful cajun seafood meal, with the main disappointment being that they were out of alligator.
It was totally worth the stairs!
The next day, we made Houston, where we braved the city traffic for an extremely short visit with some of my cousins. I had a great time talking with them and catching up. My cousin Mark went to the trouble of calling everyone and setting it up, and even getting us to & from the restaurant. I wish there had been more time, but I'm so glad everyone took the time & trouble to come for at least that.

Having made the trip from Cruces to Houston many, many times growing up, I knew that it was do-able in one day, but it isn't fun. Especially at the end of a long trip, when everyone is tired and tired of the road. So we stopped in Ft. Stockton for one final night on the road. We got to stop kind of early, which meant Raine got to go in the pool - OK, we ALL did - in the afternoon before dinner, and then I took her back and let her swim some more in the evening. We got up and ate a little breakfast, and made it home before noon.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

myrtle beach

Part two of our vacation found us in Myrtle Beach. Our beach front hotel gave us quick access to the beach and the ocean, and for as many people as were everywhere, we didn't have too much trouble finding a spot to hang out on the beach, or in the water. We had a balcony that we could see the ocean from, and I totally missed the opportunity to take a photo from there. I enjoyed sitting out and listening to the waves, and watching the water, but nope, not a photo.

Of course we didn't spend all our time on the beach. There was too much to do. One day, we went to the water park where there were slides, a "lazy river" current pool to ride around on inner tubes, a wave pool, and bumper boats. I did get some photos, but really, no one but Raine would appreciate the bathing suit shots, so...

Some of Raine's favorite activities were at a "camp" where the hotel had set up some things for kids to do. There was fishing if you got there early enough (which we did not), archery and target shooting with pellet guns, a zip line and some horses. There weren't many kids there when we went, so there was a lot of attention, and chances to try the different activities several times with little waiting. Raine's favorites were:

the zip line, Whhhheeeeeee!

and getting to ride each of the horses.

We also went to the aquarium, and had a good time exploring the marine life. We ate delicious seafood, and enjoyed our stay at the beach with Ron's family.

Friday, July 13, 2012

absent with leave

Yes, I've been gone for a couple weeks. Wasn't sure about posting about the vacation time while we were gone, for home security reasons, even though we had a house sitter. We're back now, and had a great time, with A LOT of driving - to North Carolina and back. It should be good for a few posts, right?

First, we drove, drove, drove to North Carolina, to visit Raine's grandparents. We got to visit some of Ron's family for a few days. Ron hadn't been home for several years, and it was good to get him there for a bit.

While we were there, we took a day trip to Linville Falls, on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The views were beautiful, and the drive was really nice. We had a picnic. It was a hike to the falls, and that was nice, too. A rain shower at the end of the hike to cool things off a bit.
Here are the falls.
There was something blooming.
Pretty in pink and white.
And of course there's this face.
One of my favorites.
Gum and all.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

more totes

Here's the latest thing on my sewing to-do list. Totes. I've made four now, and I'm getting pretty good at them. I think.
my very first bag
 It takes more time to plan and cut and prepare than it does to actually sew them up.
no pic of #2, this is #3 love the blues!
I'm having fun with fabrics. Can you tell? Playing with trim, and mixing up the prints. Getting that little pop of color with the black/white/grey combo. Adding pockets here and there as time and fabric allow.
oops, forgot to hide the trash can, sorry...
I'll probably do a more in-depth blog about them over at Createlivity. Probably. For now, though, I just wanted to share. 

It's possible I'll take requests...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

fresh start

I got a new job. This year, when school starts, I'll be working in a new district, a new school, a new classroom, with a new group of kids. OK, they won't all be NEW, they'll be new to ME.

I'll be teaching at Onate High School, and not driving to Anthony any more. I'll have the same holidays, start and end days, weather days as Raine. I'll have a 10 minute drive to work/home. I'll be working in the community I live in, and contributing to it. I'm happy for the change.

Less than two hours after I was offered - and accepted - the job, my new department head called me on the phone, welcomed me to the department and shared information with me, about the classes I would be teaching and book lists. He offered to meet me at school later in July to make sure I had teacher's editions, and information about what was expected of the students at the grade level I'll be teaching. He made me feel welcomed to that new position. How cool is that?

So tomorrow is the big "moving out" day for Gadsden High School, and Ron has said he would ride out there with me, to help load up whatever it is that I'll be taking with me. Mostly, that will be files and office supplies, and some books. If it will fit in the car in one load, good. If not, I'm leaving it there. Really.

So I'm a happy camper. Tomorrow, I'll be a hot & sweaty camper. A camper looking at a fresh start.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

going through it

It is time once again for the boxes to come out, and be gone through, and hopefully go away. Ron pulled out some boxes for me to go through the other day. Last night, I went through one that was marked movies and slides. It was a big box, and daunting to think of having to go through that much of that kind of stuff. When I got the box opened up, it was only about a third full of slides and movies, and the rest was mostly trash. I did find some handy dandy hex wrenches, some small screwdrivers, and some keys.
Not for a brand new pair of roller skates...
I also found a handheld electronic game called Merlin. It made me laugh when I pulled it out of that box, and then, Carl had the same reaction when I gave it to him this afternoon. He put a new set of batteries in it, and it actually worked! 

I'm going to see about digitizing the slides and the movies, if it isn't too costly. May not do it all at once, or anything. Go through them and see which ones we want to get copies of. From what I've seen so far, some are very similar. My idea is to put them on some type of memory card so I can plug it into one of those frames, and have a slideshow of them. Make copies for my brothers, and perhaps other family members who might be interested.

I'm in that purging mindset, but it has taken a while to get through some of this stuff. I think there is only so much of "that place" I can visit at a time. Fortunately most of what I've uncovered has been easily dealt with, in and of itself. Still, the memories can be somewhat bittersweet, remembering people and places that are no more.