Friday, December 27, 2013

vacation goal: organize!

Do you set goals for yourself for your time off from work? I do. Sometimes I even work on them. Like this year, for the past week, as if Christmas preparations weren't messy enough, I had to work on organizing our craft room. MY (well, at least mostly) craft room.

When we remodeled our house, we turned the carport into a room. We use the door onto the driveway as our main entrance. Everything that we didn't know where else to put it, went in there. It never has been totally cleared up and put away. Sad, isn't it. We put in a nice table to be able to work on various crafts that has never been used for ANY crafts yet. Well, except the storing of said crafts.

Now, I'm a life long crafter and I got my first sewing machine while in my teens. I've collected and I've inherited, and I've treasured, so I have a BUNCH of crafting stuff. Most of my sewing over the past couple of years has been done other places, though. I've packed up and gone to Roxanne's and to Arts & Sciences for SCA, and my crafting space at home just got more and more chaotic, until I really couldn't use it very well. That made me sad. And uncomfortable.

I did something about it. I organized. I bought some new tubs, and filled them with fabric that has been sitting around in piles (I'm a pile person, I admit it). I actually (gasp!) threw some away (long past time, people, long past time). I gathered up the things that I had been collecting to donate, and I donated them. I moved the shelves and dusted and swept. (and swept... and swept...)

Then, today, I sewed. It felt lovely. Oh yeah, and I took pictures.

This IS the after picture...
Ta da! Organized... well, at least more organized. The sun came in today and made the room bright and cheerful. Here's the other side of the room, it still needs work, but - believe me - it was worse than it is now.

Chaos, I admit it, but LESS chaos
Notice, if you will, the visible walkway. It can't be all bad, right? It's progress, people. Significant progress! Oh, yeah, and here is the shirt I finished.

You can almost see the green paisley pattern to the fabric.
I call this one a success.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

post christmas

Did you have a nice Christmas (or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate - if any)? I did. Among other nice gifts, my husband gave me a new camera. It is very nice (although not as fancy as the one I lost, but that is understandable), and since the technology has advanced, there are some things about it that are advanced from the previous one (and some features I will miss, I'm sure). What the heck? Am I complaining? Not a bit! I'm very happy to have it. Happy indeed! I took my after Christmas shopping trip to pick out a new memory card and tomorrow I'll take pictures of my recent crafty projects, yay!

I've taken the vacation opportunity to work on organizing my craft room a bit. I won't finish, there's too much to do at one time, but I've made significant progress, and I think I've reached my goal of making it a room I can once again work in. That is good news for me, I'll tell you.

I'm working on getting things set up to work on my goals for the coming year. What goals are those, you may ask? The same ones as every year, Pinky, do stuff, make stuff & write about it. Oh yeah and take better care of myself. That is work in progress as well.

Celebrate in the manner of your choosing, friends, (although responsibly, please!) and welcome in the new year next week!

Friday, November 29, 2013

an epiphany of thanksgiving

I had an epiphany this year for Thanksgiving. It has to do with the nature of feasting, feeding people, and being a guest. You see, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner this year. It was nearly a pot luck, in the very best sense of a pot luck.

Carl volunteered to cook the turkey. He knew what he wanted to do with it, and what he wanted to eat, and he wasn't taking requests. No one else's dietary restrictions or preferences were going to be taken into account. Anyone who wanted to eat what he was cooking was welcome to come have some, but if you wanted something else, you should bring it.

There are people who would be very offended by that, but truly? Why should they be? It is no ruder to cook what you want, to put your time and effort and money into the dish you want than it is to require someone cook a meal to your specifications. That, gets done all the time, though, doesn't it. In fact some people - are very loud and specific with their dietary "needs" when they are a guest at a meal.

Now, don't get me wrong. I understand that everyone has their food preferences. There are food allergies, and sensitivites, and some are quite serious. There are dietary choices that we all make, often for good reason. There just isn't always good reason to impose those dietary needs on a whole company of people. I certainly want to know if someone is so allergic to nuts that having them in the house might cause a serious  reaction (by the way, if you ARE that person, you probably don't want to come to my house) but don't get angry because I made pecan pie and you can't have any. If it makes that much difference, perhaps you should bring something that you CAN have. Made from a recipe that you really like. To share with others who might like to try it too. If you are a vegetarian, don't make a big deal of it, just don't eat the meat. It doesn't take a snooty, superior comment with added huff. Bring one of your favorite dishes to share instead.

Just don't demand the cook to prepare the meal by your requirements alone. If you are that picky, the wrong person is preparing the meal. YOU should be bellying up to the stove. We were taught as children, to taste everything, be quiet about what you don't like, and say "Thank you." Our dinner was delicious. We all tried everything, were quiet about what we didn't like, and were thankful for our wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


I found the show Medium on Netflix this fall. Patricia Arquette in the leading role. I used to watch this series, back in the days before Raine paid attention to what was on the TV. I love crime dramas, she doesn't so much. Probably appropriate. Now, I can watch when she's busy somewhere else. Soon she'll be watching along with me. Or, not. Doesn't matter.

It had been so long since I had seen it that I didn't really remember where I had left off. So, I started at the beginning. I'm about halfway through season two, now, and enjoying it again. I like that they worked hard to get the family part "right." Or at least as right as it can be on television. The plots are interesting, and varied and I think it was well cast. Without too many spoilers, the main character is a medium, who works with the Phoenix Distric Attourney's Office, putting the bad people away. It is based on a true person, and if you read the credits, she acts/acted as an advisor on the series.

Honestly, I would much rather watch someone else be the medium than experience being one myself.

Monday, November 25, 2013

yes, i know

Well, sometimes it is silly things that stop one from blogging. You see, I lost my camera on my recent vacation. I'm sure someone else has it now, but it's only because I left it in a hotel room after we checked out. Sigh. I miss it. Fortunately I have most of the photos off the memory  card, so I'm not devistated that I lost photos, only photo ops. Like the rest of the vacation, and everything since then.

What is it about doing something like that that takes you back to being a kid again, and not responsible enough for "nice things." And - indeed - perhaps I am not. I know I am prone to distraction and walking away from items. I don't carry my laptop many places for that reason.

Anyway, what does that have to do with writing? Except that I can't add photos. Because I can't take them. Because the camera is gone. Even if I don't add a photo every time, what if I wanted to? Wow, it sounds like a lot of excuses to me. And - of course - it is.

So here is one thing. The DVD of "The World's End" came out recently. You know, the latest from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. We didn't get to it in the theater, but there it was at Sam's, so of course it came home with me. Ron and I watched this evening, and we laughed and enjoyed. Yes, we did. I don't want to do spoilers, but it was and it wasn't what we expected. Simon and Nick had both leaned down/shaped up some. There were some good guest faces. Some sort of expected, and others not. Did I mention that we laughed? Yeah, more than once. If you are fans of the Simon Pegg, Nick Frost team, this is definitely another movie for your collection.

Monday, November 4, 2013

the rare celebrity on my list to meet

I'm not a super fan, or a stalker fan or anything of the sort for any celebrities. OK, I follow Wil Wheaton's blog, and I met him when we went to the same gaming convention in Tucson.But I didn't follow him around the con. I didn't plan my time according to where he would be (or where I thought he would be).

Truthfully, I enjoy characters, and those actors/actresses becoming those characters. The actor or actress is NOT the character. I am (thank goodness) able to separate the two. Even so, when Mel Gibson rants some drunken racist rant, I get a little disappointed that he is so... human.

So mostly, I don't have a list of celebrities to meet. Of course if Nathan Fillian ever wanted to photo bomb me, who would I be to say no... but that really isn't meeting the man. I would get an autograph, etc, even. Shake his hand. Say a few words in meaningless but friendly type banter. But really meet him? I dunno.

Stephen Fry, however, I would really like to meet. Spend time in conversation with. There is something about his wit, his sense of humor, that appeals to me as someone I could really be friends with. Of course, he lives in England, and I don't. I doubt we have any common acquantances to introduce us. In other words, it will most likely never ever happen.

Still. Conversing with Stephen Fry is on my To-Do List. Just so you know.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

star trek into darkness

Ron and I picked up a copy at Sam's this weekend. I didn't even pay attention to it being out on dvd all ready. It was a happy moment, when we put it in the basket, and an even happier one when we put it in the dvd player. Yep, Benedict Cumberbatch may be my new favorite addition to the Star Trek reboot universe. And since I think they did a pretty good job casting these movies, that is saying something.

At one point, in the action, Chris Pine (Kirk) even sounds very much like Shatner. Be still my trekkie heart...

If you haven't seen this one, it is definitely time. If you like Star Trek BUY IT! Looks like this series won't suffer the fate of the original series movies... where every other one was... well, iffy is generous, but I do like my Star Trek...

Monday, October 7, 2013

falling for it

So that little nip is in the air, even in southern NM. It is definitely fall, and I think I'm liking it. I know, summer is HOT, and I get HOT, but really, I love me some summer. I really do. The sunlight, the days off, what's not to love?

Luckily, we have a pretty extended warm season, and we aren't quite to the end of it. Usually we go through October, and sometimes into November with temp in the 70's, but I have a feeling this year, with the late rains we had, that it will soon be jacket weather. Not that I hate that. In the fall, it is a change, while in the spring I'm anxious for the end of jacket weather.

So the sun shines, but there is coolness in the breeze. The evening sunlight brings the long shadows a little earlier every day. There are pumpkins in the store, and walking through one of the hallways, the culinary program class was cleaning pumkins, and it smelled fabulous. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin cupcakes, and I even found pumpkin marshmallows. (Raine loves marshmallows)  I bought some pumpkin so Ron could make pumpkin dump cake if he wanted. Soon, it will be time for yummy pumpkin pies, too.

As we fall slowly through October and into the holiday season, we wait for the leaves to turn, and the first freeze to drop them from the trees. The school year presses onward, and grades will soon be due, and we will be one quarter through the school year, just like that. Welcome to Autumn.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

to sleep, perchance...

Dreams are interesting things. I often have very lively ones. I don't know that I believe that my dreams tell me "the future" or anything like that, but I do think they give me some insight on the state of me, as a person.

First there are the stress dreams. Mine are usually set at work, with students in the classroom, waiting for me, and probably an administrator. But I'm wandering through a maze of hallways, and sometimes even buildings, knowing the bell has all ready rung, and I should BE THERE, but I just can't find it.

Often, these merge into the you-better-wake-up-and-pee dreams, where I'm wandering through endless bathrooms where the stalls have no doors, or no toilets, or there seems to be random people wandering through, or you just couldn't possibly stand to do anything in THAT. Once, I walked into a public restroom that was so bad I had that moment of wondering if I was in one of those dreams. I wasn't, but I found a different restroom...

The other night - morning really - I dreamed I was staying after school, which I often do. There were several students who had work to do, and they were there working on it (I should have known that was a dream). I was just sitting down at my desk thinking, "now I can really get some work done" when someone came in and said, "Hey! We are having a meeting, and you need to come to it!" I tried to protest, but no, I had to go to that meeting. (can you sense what I'm frustrated about this year? HA!) When I walked out into the hall, there were people setting up a few tables in the hall for the meeting. Right about then, my alarm went off. NOOoooo! I protested, I'm all ready at work! No such luck.

Monday, September 30, 2013

window "art"

When I pulled into my driveway this afternoon, I had to look around my yard for the bird.

You see, when I pulled into my driveway and parked, I noticed three bird imprints on the front window of the house. Three. On one, you could see the feather outlines, where the beak had hit, and there was a line of bird poo running down the window. Yeah, it hit that hard.

We've had the windows for several months now, and yes, when the sun is reflecting off them just right in the evenings, they can look like sky. Still. Three. I was surprised to find no corpses. Made me wonder if the neighborhood hawk had already found it or something. I once saw that hawk carry off a dove that had been hit by a car and couldn't fly any more.

Do those sticker things work to keep the birds from trying to fly through the windows?

Dang birds plyaing chase through my yard...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Where are my Endorphins?

SO, I've been working on the healthy bit. I've gotten to that stage in life where you can use what you got, or loose it. I'm trying not to loose it, although I've come pretty close. I use for inspiration, some of the people who have more serious health issues than I do, and I am happy NOT to have them as well. Still, I deal with high blood pressure, and diabetes, and arthritis has its nasty claws in my joints.

One of the things I have learned that I must do is exercise regularly. It is simply not something I can let slide. I've been doing well with it, actually, and I can feel some health benefits. It is easier in general to move and get around. Knees and hips work better, and less painfully. I've built some muscle and stamina. Yay! You could think that might encourage me to push further, and do more - and I don't mean go crazy with the whole thing, but just, you know, more. Nope. Not so much. In fact I still have to push myself to get on that stationary bike and RIDE, darn you! Sigh. I keep thinking, I get positive feedback from my body for doing this, so why doesn't choosing it get easier? When do the endorphins kick in?

At this point, I have notice that my general activity level has increased, so perhaps I _am_ doing more, just not in the way I feel is official.

My next healthy goal is to get more sleep. Now, I'm not normally an insomniac, so I'm not complaining about being unable to sleep. (is it wrong that sometimes I've thought it would be helpful to be insomniac, I could do stuff when I wasn't sleeping? But, who am I kidding? I would read or watch TV, not clean or paint the house or anything...) Back to the topic, though. I'm not unable to sleep, I just have pushed my bedtime back to about midnight. I don't function as well, running on 6 hours of sleep as I do 7 or so. I work well on 7. Once in a while, no big deal, but every night is not a good idea. I know I'm tired. When I have to sit at my desk to do some work there, it ends up a struggle to stay awake. I've also been reading that getting adequate sleep helps to keep blood sugar lower. So, I'm putting myself on notice. Bed by 11. 10:30 is even better. Except on weekends, and I can actually sleep in & get the hours.

Still, it is past my bed time now...  How are your health goals going?

Monday, August 19, 2013

tv on netflix - reviews

I have this thing with tv. I don't always find the series that I would like to watch. That is what reruns are good for, right? That is what happened for me with Quantum Leap. Totally didn't watch it first run. Loved it in reruns (where, by the way, my loyalty does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for ratings numbers or the odds that the show will be picked up for the next season or canceled. You're welcome.)

This summer, I started watching a show called The Dead Zone, based off of Stephen King's novel, and starring Anthony Micheal Hall, who also produces. Yeah, from Pretty in Pink, and those movies. Only, all grown up. Nice transition there, AMH.

Through the summer, I watched an episode almost every day. Some days two, but I didn't want to burn through them. I've enjoyed it, on the whole. The acting is decent, the writing servicable, and the plotsare reasonable with the trope that is given. Yes, Johnny has to have a vision, and - mostly - work on preventing it from becoming reality. Occasionally, he looks for clues to solve some mystery from the past, as well. For several seasons now, we have an arching story about a senator who may bring about armegeddon. They add a little to that story arch each season, and while I don't really think those are the best episodes, they have served to progress the series as a whole somewhat.

I worked through the season of Once Upon a Time this summer, as well. Over all, I would say I liked this series better, although the trope of fairy tales coming into the modern world evidently didn't fare well enough for there to be more than one season. It got to be a little... far fetched, I guess. Maybe miniseries instead of series? Still, I am a fairy tale reader from way back, so there were things I enjoyed.

Recently, I started watching Saving Grace. Not particularly child-friendly for all that it is/was network television. Holly Hunter stars and produces. The premise for this show seems a little muddled. She's a cop, so we're solving crimes, but she's also got an angel trying to "save" her. The solving crimes seems to provide more plot movement than the angel. But it's named for the angel business... not sure how it is working for me. One thing, though, the theme song rocks. What? The theme song? Yeah. I think that may be my favorite part of this series. Oh, and Holly? eat a sandwich!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

winter is coming

Game of Thrones

Love it.

Not for kids.

If you aren't already on the Game of Thrones bandwagon, there are the two things you absolutely need to know. If you don't want spoilers, then that may be all you want to read of this post.

Ron and I watched season 2 this summer, when Raine was out of the house. Yes I know there is season 3, and when we pick it up on disk, we will catch up with that. We enjoyed season 2, and all the King making and breaking that was going on.

I've now read three of the five novels, as well. The first novel was good enough, although there were so many points of view it was sometimes hard to keep track of who was connected to whom. And then of course my favorite character was killed off. NNOOOoooooo!!!!! Still, I think that was a necessarily gateway into the rest of the story(ies). When I got to the end of book one, I was ready to set the series aside for a while and read other things.

When I picked up Book 2 this summer, It was easier to get into the various characters and their stories. It seemed the true action had begun, and I enjoyed it. I was ready to delve into the third book right as I finished the second, and I was not disappointed. Now that I have finished that one, I really want to dig into book 4, but school has started, and I need to pay attention to other things. Other. Things.


Now, to tie the books to the series, I think they've done a pretty decent job. No, they haven't used every detail of every story from the various books, but I think they've done thoughtful editing, in general. And really, how many cut-off noses do you really want to see? Yeah, same for me. I appreciate that they have kept the intent of the novels, and the feel of them. They've also managed to keep the breadth of them as well.

Still, each novel is 1000+ pages. I would think that would be PLENTY of fodder for a season of story. We were watching season 2, and as I read into book 3, there were some story lines showing up. I would think they could have kept a season to a novel pacing. There are 5 novels, and I can easily see 5 or more seasons for the series. Lets not rush tooooo much here, OK? I want to be able to savor some of this video story telling, and there is material there, folks. Lots of it!

My recommendation? Read the novels AND watch the series. If you can't face 5,000-6,000 pages, then you can feel reassured that at least through season 2, the series is staying fairly true to the books. Once you've enjoyed the series, and you still want MORE Game of Thrones, pick up the books anyway.

No, not me, not yet... School, Dina, school. THEN, more Game of Thrones.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

back to work

Where did July go? Here it is August, and school starts tomorrow. With students, and everything. We had so much inservice this year. 6 days. Even though some of it was working in our classrooms, there was a lot of not working in our rooms. We weren't even in our building today, or yesterday morning. A lot of it was repititious. I guess that isn't much different than most times, though. Honestly, I'm ready to have students if that means I won't have to go to inservice tomorrow.

Raine is NOT ready to go back to school. Mentally. Physically she is, and she has her supplies and clothes and haircut. Her friends will be there too. Her campus is having more major building going on this year, which is a pain, but makes its own memories.

I did a bit of creative stuff through July, and have more lined up (of course). I've made friends with Netflix on the Wii and worked on a few new (to me) television series the past month. I read. Man, did I read. Two of the books in the Game of Thrones series and 1,000+ pages a pop. Then, there are the Neil Gaiman books. Oh, and did I mention Jack Reacher? He rather reminds me of Travis McGee, in a way. So expect some reviews over the next few weeks, OK?

SO, what is on the to-do list for today? Make it through the first day of school!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

still sorting

The piles of papers are becoming organized and disappearing into the file boxes. I've spent quality time with my shredder, and plan to spend more tomorrow. Things are really starting to come together. Really. Whew!

Have a ever mentioned that I am very uncomfortable watching the show Hoarders? I'm not there. Thank goodness. But, I _could_ get there some day. I know how that stuff starts. I can see where those people come from, and it is a road I do not want to take. I never want to be the inspiration for an episode of that show. EVER.

With some practice, this divesting myself of some of that stored stuff is getting a little easier. 20-year-old paperwork? GONE! The less mess, the less STUFF feels good. Sometimes that is a surprise as the default setting has been that the familiar - the held on to - is comforting.

Is it one of those things? As a Taurus, I know I have trouble letting go of people. Letting them go on with their lives which are not mine to hold on to. I am conscious of that being MY issue, and not theirs, or one that should concern them. I'm dealing with it, and trying to be mature about it (with sometimes mixed results).  Is it that way for stuff too? hmmmm. Might have to think about that a little.

In the mean time, sorting and reorganizing, and the cleaning feels GOOD!

Monday, July 1, 2013

cleaning up my act

Well, we've come to that portion of summer dedicated to REALLY cleaning out the places in my world (home) that mostly get a lick (or maybe not that so much) and a promise the rest of the year. Today my computer desk area has been that place.

There was that awkward moment when I was sweeping up dust bunnies, and I had to scrutinize to make sure it WAS a dust bunny, not a mouse carcass or something equally repellant. As if the dust bunnies aren't repellent enough. Oh, yeah, and don't judge. (ok, maybe a little, but not loudly, please).

Since I was right here by the computer, I started up some netflicks, and that helped put something in the background while I was sorting and dusting and murphy's oil soaping... and doing laundry as well. Also helped my not get distracted by the other things on my computer.

Oh, and I got to look through a lot of photos of Raine when she was younger (a baby mostly...awwww). That can't be a bad thing. A distraction, yes, but not a bad thing.

I still have some sorting to do, but I'm doing a pretty good job of sorting things OUT of the house. Yay. That sure helps with the feeling of accomplishment, I think. Oh, sure there is more to do tomorrow, but there has been progress made today definitely.

Friday, June 7, 2013

my own good news

I've been out of town for a few days, at a conference about some school improvement stuff. I rode up to Albuquerque and shared a room with two other teachers, who were awesome to spend the time with. (We all had about the same sense of humor - and what a great way to start a friendship) We spent a lot of time sitting at tables, but after the conference time was over each day, we shopped a little and walked around more. It was better than going back to the hotel and sitting around, but it really wasn't much in the way of exercise. I kept telling myself, though, that I would get back on the bike today when I got home.

my vintage, dare I say, antique, Schwinn Air-dyne exercise bike
I did it, too. You know what? I was happy to do it, and get the kinks stretched out from the trip. More than that - oh so much more - I'm back on the "horse" so to speak. I didn't have to talk myself into it. I didn't have to convince myself. I didn't wait until tomorrow. I didn't even want to. So, all this time, when I've been feeling like this exercise effort has been an attitude challenge for me almost every day, today it wasn't. Today I really wanted to ride. And I did.

Friday, May 31, 2013

let the games begin!

We've had the first, restful, week of summer vacation. Yes, Raine has played with her friends every day this week. Yes, I've taken lovely naps, thank you. I've done some sewing, but not as much as I pictured myself doing this week. I've put together two pair of shorts and two pair of pants for the girl, but only finished one of each. I didn't even get started on the tops I have cut out for her. Next week, I guess, around the commitments I made to do stuff for school (compensated, of course).

Raine's flying adventure, two years ago
Tomorrow, we send Raine off to visit her grandparents. She's independent enough not to mind flying by herself, and she will have books etc to keep her busy on the flight. I know part of her wishes we were all going, but the relationship she has/will forge with her grandparents by herself is different than the one she has with us there as a buffer. Different for them, too. They are her only living grandparents, she's their only grandchild. They should be able to dote and spoil without parents looking on and judging. They've already got reservations at a water park resort. OF COURSE she will love it!

Last year, we managed to tour the Biltmore, and get a rare family photo
I'll be busy with school stuff while she's gone, and then almost as soon as she gets back, she and I will be off to Tucson. We will each enjoy the company and companionship of our friends there (conveniently living in the same abode). I'm so looking forward to visiting and making stuff with Steph!

Soon after we return, we will enjoy having my neice come stay with us for a bit. That is always fun. We'll have to go to White Sands, and shop, and I hope I get to make some stuff for her, too, while she's here. All too soon, it will be time for school to begin again, but for now, let the summer games begin!

Monday, May 13, 2013

reaching reacher

Tom Cruise produced and starred in the movie Jack Reacher. It is based on the book One Shot,  by Lee Child, one of several about Reacher. I've been reading these books, here and there, although One Shot is not one I've gotten to. Yet. I like Reacher. He's big and quick and tough and a good guy. A really good guy. He takes care of trouble, even when he's in over his head.... which is WAY, WAY over my head. At least in the taking care of trouble category.

So I knew this movie was out, and I was curious about it, but in a quandry. I mean, I LIKE Jack Reacher books. I think they would make excellent fodder for an action movie or two, or twelve. But Tom Cruise? Aside from Tom's occasional bouts of public crazyness, he just doesn't fall into my "here's the actor who should play Reacher" list. Why not? Well, Reacher is big. No, BIG. Taller, broader, bulkier than many of his foes. Tom Cruise? Not so much. Is that a deal breaker? Maybe. Reacher is tough and intimidating and a fighter, depending on quickness, strength, size and lots of experience. Can Cruise pull that off? Even without the size being a factor? I just didn't know.

This weekend, when I was walking through Walmart (my coffeemaker went south the last time we had a power surge/outage) I saw a copy for about $15. Well, that was a low enough price to take a chance - even though the fact it was there AND a low price all ready did not bode well.

So, now for the review. I still feel like a bigger actor - taller at least - would have helped bring the physicality to the part. That said, Cruise did all right with the rest of it. Not mind blowing, but all right. The movie was a perfectly acceptable action/adventure film with a car chase and a really, really bad guy. As a mystery, it lost some of the investigative-ness it might have, but Reacher is not Sherlock Holmes. He generally solves things by being somewhere that he shouldn't be, asking questions that he shouldn't and defending himself effectively afterward (beating up people). The movie had an exciting car chase, which kind of surprised me. Remember, I haven't read the book this movie is based on, so it may very well have an extended car chase in it. Generally speaking, though, that does not seem Reacher's style. Sure, he drives. He gets behind the wheel when necessary in some borrowed car or another, but he also seems perfectly happy to be the passenger. He never insists on being the driver. Never brags on his mad driving skillz. He seems the get from here to there guy, not the let's take this muscle car for a spin & see what she can do kinda guy. But, it makes for entertaining cinema, so... a car chase.

All in all, I think the movie is - like Tom in the part of Jack Reacher - all right. I was entertained. Do I think it was the best Jack Reacher movie that ever could be made? No. Do I expect that there will be others? Ummm... maybe. Depends on how much Cruise likes producing, and how crazy he is about being Reacher. Would I go to a theater and spend my hard-earned money? Maybe. Would I see it on disk, and maybe even buy it? Yeah, probably.

Friday, April 26, 2013

birthday recap

OK, so in a couple of days, I'll be 53. This year, it bugs me. This year, I'm feeling it. Why 53? Why THIS year? Time for some personal assessment, maybe.

I know that I've been off the "get real" track the past... well, I'll say 6 months, but really? more like 9. Stopped excercising, even though it was helping me feel so much better, and helping me loose some weight, and... and... and I still stopped. Sure, I've been dealing with a new job this year. I love it, by the way. I really do, even though it is tough this semester without a prep. Ouch!

I've been put back on the "get real" track though, and really, I know it's where I want to be... I just wish it looked more like I would like it to look. I got boosted up when Ron's insurance changed this year, and the diabetic medicine, Januvia, which I was using was going to cost about $10 a day. Yeah, that's not happening. So, I've been taking a different medication, and tracking my fasting blood sugar level in the mornings, and logging my evening meals (evening eating has long been my downfall), exercise (yes, I've been able to put myself back on the bike at least 5 nights a week) blood pressure, and weight. I've written down questions for my doctor, and even taken the log so I would remember to ASK them. I've even written down the results of the visit... well, you know, the important bits. Lets me have a record. Lets me really be real with myself, not just "I think" X is happening.

One of the things that rocked my world was talking to the Doctor about diabetes treatment options, and he told me that some of them can make you gain weight. On the order of 20 pounds per year. I've been fat pretty much all my life. Certainly all my adult life, although my weight has certainly been higher than it is right now. I realized, though, that I didn't want to gain 20 pounds a year. I didn't want to lug it around. I didn't want to have to work around it. Dress it or feed it or feel the stresses it would put on my knees or hips. My thought was, gaining 100 pounds in the next 5 years would just kill me. period. So. Wake up and get busy on NOT doing that. And yes, I have.

The exercise is harder this year than it was last year. Why IS that? Oh, I'm glad that I'm doing it, I've seen the effect in my general movement, well being, and blood sugar levels. It's just... harder. Maybe it will get a little easier. I hope so. Of course about then, it will be time to add something to it, again.

I'm struggling with blood pressure though, not super high, but not where I want it either... Struggling with swelling. Finally addressing it as an issue, actually. Trying to keep reality in my picture, and not just turn the blind eye of denial towards the health issues that can determine the quality of my life for the rest of my life.

Is 53 the magic number of finally growing up? Is that why it is sucking so much right now? Damn.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

windy spring day

Hello all my friends who used to live in New Mexico and don't any more. Today was one of those days that you just DON'T miss about NM. The wind blew. A lot. And there was dirt in the air.

I'm west of I 25, looking south east
See how the sky kind of matches the ground? Notice that you don't see the mountains? If I had taken a better picture, you could notice barely seeing the mall across the highway on the right-hand side of the photo. Let me tell you something... this photo was taken after the winds started to die down, and the visibility increased. Yeah. THAT kind of day.

Raine went on a field trip today. The fourth-graders from her school went downtown, visited the farmer's market, and several museums. When we were asking her about her day, and asked if she got hot walking around outside, she said no, "there was a bit of a breeze." A bit of a breeze.

This is what comes of letting your children grow up in NM, people!

Friday, March 29, 2013

sigh for friday

Today did not seem like a very productive day, although there were haircuts, and lunch with my brother, and family dinner. I've loaded some photos into Pinterest of our trip to Wild West Steampunk Convention. I was hoping to see more online, but found only a few people had linked to their facebook page. It inspired me to go ahead and post mine. I should link them there, too, I guess. I enjoyed looking at the photos I found there.

Easter is sneaking up on me and I don't feel like I'm ready. There is a part of me that is resistant to the Easter preparations. The part that misses Dad, who passed right after Easter, was it 6 years ago? We still dye eggs, because we enjoy it. I boiled up a couple dozen, and we'll work on them sometime tomorrow. We were going to have our family dinner, but it has turned into a pot luck at some friends' house. Not too many people, and definitely nothing fancy or formal. Just the kind of get-together I enjoy. It certainly feels better to me. I better find our plastic easter eggs, to load up for Raine, too. She still gets a kick out of finding them, so out they will go.

Tomorrow, I hope to get some seing time with Roxanne, but honestly, it will probably be more planning and maybe some cutting out for her. I'll be glad when that part is done, and the sewing can actually commence.

I've been good about my exercise goal, and have gotten on that pike every day so far this week. I'll be climbing on it again when I'm done typing here. It's still feeling good to do it and giving me some good positive feedback. I have a couple amigurumi to finish up, photo and post this weekend. And - of course - all the normal household chores. It's definitely been a good week, and I'm a little sorry to see it end.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

still cutting up... uh... out

So I still have the cutting table out with fabric on it, but the living room has been tidied up. I have Raine's red shorts to cut out, and a new other shirt to cut out for her as well. (We ALL ended up at Jo-ann's today...) I got fabric for two new shirts for me as well. I got that fabric all washed & dried. We'll see how much gets ironed and cut out tomorrow. We're running out of spring break, people!

Other accomplishments for today? Got eggs for dying. We usually dye a couple dozen because it is fun and creative. We don't hide them, because that gets messy, and then you can't make them into devilled eggs. We have devilled eggs, because they are yummy.

We got some new fish. A new Beta, who is white and green. Raine suggested naming him Jewels, and I think I'll go with it, but as Jules. I like the Jules Verne twist on it. Way to go, Raine! She got some Gourami for her tank. They are more social than Betas are, but it is a small tank. We went with two. Don't know what she named them, yet.

There are still a few more things I want to get done before we are back to the school routine. Fire up my new grill. Go eat enchilada's with the extended family. Finish up the grading I brought home. Working on my smart board is still looming over my head, but it may be the thing that "gives" this week.

Tomorrow is hair cut day. Shorter for summer for Raine. I also have to remember to warn the stylist that her hair falls where it will, and do a bangs test on it... I'll get mine trimmed too, while we're at it. But before we go, I need to sleep in Just. One. More. Time.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

my house is a mess...

And it's my fault. There is fabric all over the living room, and patterns strewn about. There is more of both in the computer room, where the cutting out table is set up.

Cutting out stuff is my least favorite part of sewing. My solution? Cut a bunch of stuff out at a go, and then go through the stack as the opportunity arises. Then, when I want to sew, I have something to sew, NOT something to cut out. It works for me.

One of the things I don't like about cutting things out is all the moving pattern pieces around and getting them to fit. All the measuring to make sure the garment will fit. All the folding the fabric one way to cut out these pieces and folding it another to cut out those.

Yeah, and hand is going to be a bit sore tomorrow from the ironing, and the squeezing the squirt bottle. I prefer spraying the fabric with water while ironing instead of dealing with the dripping and spilling of steam.

So, I got some of Raine's summer clothes cut out... a pair of shorts and a pair of pants, a pair of pajamas and one of the shirts. That leaves another pair of pants, 2 pair of shorts and one more shirt. I'll probably get another shirt cut out before I go to bed. I need to go back to the fabric store for more red fabric. She's too tall to get a pair of shorts out of one yard of fabric any more. It takes 2 and a half for a pair of pants!

Notice I didn't even get to the pieces I want to make for myself? Yeah I noticed that, too...

Monday, March 25, 2013

spring break? i have goals!

Did you know that certain types of diabetic insulin medication can make you fat? Great news isn't it? Just what us diabetics need. So, why do I now know this? Because I have been talking to my Doctor about alternatives. Ron's insurance changes this year affected more than our co-pay, and the new cost for Januvia - which I have been taking for several years now, and have been controlling my diabetes with - is about $250 per month now. Per. Month. You see, it doesn't have a generic version. So, now I'm taking one that does.

Since not all of the medications work the same way, the effective dosage of one may or may not be the effective dosage of another. Since the first medication I took made me nauseous, there is a chance for other side effects as well. Yay. So yeah, a little bit of a rant here in my mind.

On the other hand, I've taken up monitoring my blood sugar again. Something I should do anyway. And the new med may need some adjustment, but seems pretty close dosage wise, so far.

That brings me to my first goal for spring break. Bringing exercise back into my day. Last year, I was riding the stationary bike 3-4 times a week, and I was feeling stronger, and less arthritic in my hips and knees. My A1C blood test came in at a very good level. It felt good. But of course it is a habit that is easy for me to break. And I did. I've been trying to talk myself into starting again, but even reminding myself of all the positive feedback I was getting from the exercise, I couldn't manage to get on the bike.

Until last Saturday. I did it. Then again on Sunday, and again today. My goal is at least 15 minutes every day of spring break. All ready, my hips feel better. That's a big deal in the positive feedback column. Next week, my goal will be to go for 20 minutes.

I met another goal for this week as well. I drove to Alamogordo to visit my elderly cousins. They are very dear, and I love them, but of course it is not convenient to drive an hour there and another hour back for the couple of hours that they can tolerate at this point for a visit. It is evident that they need the contact though, and we are the closest family members, so Carl & I are stepping up for it. Last week, one of them said, "you just don't know what it is like to have elderly relatives, do you." Well, actually, I do. Yes, my parents both died in their early 70's, but 3 out of 4 of our grandparents lived into their 90's. My dad's mother lived with him the last few years of her life, and I helped him with her - of course.

I had a nice visit today, and go to talk and go over some family history stuff. I've been wanting to do that, so that was excellent, and my cousin seemed eager to do some more, and that would be fun for us to do together, and a good excuse to go see them more often. Win/win for both of us!

Tomorrow, getting ready for this summer's sewing. Time to get out the patterns, and do some cutting. There are a few other goals I have in mind, too, but I'm so glad the week is starting off so well!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Wild Wild West Con - steampunk adventure

This past weekend, Ron, Raine and I travelled to Tucson, and went to a Steampunk convention at Old Tucson Studios. It is, pretty much, the perfect venue for a Steampunk convention. This year was the second Wild Wild West Con, the first being two years ago. We went to that one, too, and had a good time. This year blew that one completely out of the water, though.

This year, even though the weather was a little spotty, there were many more people. In fact, on Sunday we had to park in the overflow lot. The organization was a lot better and the events were much easier to find. It also helped that it was not a split venue. There were several entertainers who led seminars and then went out and had fun themselves, which in turn made the Con even more fun.

This is Professor Elemental getting "held up" (his idea of a fun photo)
When we walked in the first day, one of the first people we saw, was the Steampunk Boba Fett, and Raine was very excited to see Boba Fett. Later that day, he approached her to see if she wanted to get her picture taken with him. He was very nice and talked to a great many people that day...
thumbs up for Boba Fett, steampunk style
We got to several of the semenars we wanted to attend, and when we didn't get to one, it was mainly because we were otherwise engaged having fun. The time went by so quickly! We took our friend's daughter that first day when we took Raine, and they both had a blast in the kids' area, making puppets after watching a puppet show. The park was open for visitors and they had the attractions going, like the old fashioned cars.

Raine thinks she's a great driver all ready...
We rode on the stagecoach, too. The take a little tour of Old Tucson. There is also a little train that does a curcuit around the park. That's fun, too.
all aboard for Dodge!
We were quite entertained by the tea duels. Just who WOULD be able to dunk their cookie and hold it the longest and nom it without splooging?!?! The entertainment in the streets was very cool, too...
a stilt giraffe to help remind us that Steam Powered Giraffe would  be playing
Friday and Saturday night there were concerts. They were a lot of fun. We got to see wide range of entertainment including some belly dancing, and a variety show from the League of S.T.E.A.M. Our favorites were the chaphop rap of Professor Elemental,
the robot rock of Steam Powered Giraffe,
They might be robots... (not)
and then Abney Park totally blew us away...
they were having so much fun, they didn't want to leave... 
The weekend totally flew by. We had a BLAST and really want to go again next year.

Ron got his steam on. Abney Park band members in the background.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

hulu fail

A couple of years ago, I got hooked on Burn Notice by watching the first season on Hulu. It was easy and convenient while I was sitting near my computer, but working on something else (I don't even remember what that was). Sure there were a few commercials, but comparitively few, and the show ran smoothly and the next episode started as soon as the current one was through. I told people about Hulu. I considered it a go-to for series viewing on computer.

It's been a while since I used it though. Until last night. I tried to watch the last couple of episodes of Castle, and folks, I could only get through one. It kept... well I'll be generous with the intent, and say freezing up. About every time the commercials would play (up to 3 from the 1 I previously experienced, but still fewer than if I was watching TV), the screen would go dark... not the whole computer screen, but the Hulu page "screen." I would wait. Is it loading? Doesn't seem to be. OH! hit the button for the show again... no, not the start arrow, the button that shows the episode. It would start again... with some more commercial time. REALLY?!?!

I was annoyed. Can you tell? From that experience there is NO WAY I would actually pay for that service, much less recommend to anyone else that they watch for free. I certainly won't be watching there any time soon.

Wonder where else I can find this week's episode of Castle...  At least Google is stil my friend.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

7 psychopaths

Did you see this movie when it was in the theaters? Did you?

Ron and I did. We loved it. Quirky, dark, and hilarious, we laughed and laughed. I mean, have you looked at the cast? How could you not love this movie?

GO. Go get it. I'm telling you. It is out on DVD now, and you can buy it. We did.

Here's the trailer if you want to check it out.

This is not a paid endorsement, just a movie that was entertaining, and will be through many viewings.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

what I need

Here we are, racing through February. I've become - more or less - accustomed to the no prep period I have this semester. Valentine's Day was survived. Windy days like today. Teaching Macbeth (I think this might be my favorite of his plays, actually, there is so much to it). The lot.

But I still need something.

I need a kick in the butt.

Last year in February, and all through the spring, I was riding that exercise bike 3 or so days a week. Half an hour. Not every moment or anything. I could feel the difference in my health, in my joints, and in my weight. This year, although I need it every bit as badly, I am not. For some reason, I just can't talk myself into getting started on it.

I have all those same good arguements that I had last year, that were working. I even have the knowledge of the benefit I got from the activity. And there the bike sits. And here I sit. I'm not happy about it, and I know it is rather whiney to complain about something I'M DOING TO MYSELF. And here I sit, doing that. THAT I can talk myself into. Regular exercise, not so much. ARGH!

Evidently I need an external push of some kind to tip me over the edge of excercise... can anyone give me what I need? Anyone got some kick my butt?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

that moment when...

I woke up this morning and noticed right away the light spilling over the drapes. "Hmmm," I thought to myself, "that isn't right."

I tried to make it all right. "It's OK. It's Sunday, right?"

I realized it wasn't Sunday. There's nothing like a little panic to really get you up and going in the morning, is there. Yes, I overslept. No, I hadn't turned on the alarm clock the night before. ACK! I better get a move on! I made it to work on time, dressed and everything (One of the good things about putting together my clothes for the week as I do laundry. No thinking, just grabbing). Even got Raine off to school, too.

It was nice, though, getting that extra hour of sleep.

The alarm? Oh, I already turned it on for tomorrow. Yeah.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

birthday bash rehash

Raine's party went off well. It was well attended. So well attended that we ran out of goodie bags, but the kids who didn't get them didn't really seem to mind. (thank goodness) Pizza and dump cake and ice cream were eaten. Kids ran and played and ran and played. We had reasonable weather, despite the forecast of rain that day. Thank goodness we are in NM, and it sprinkled a little in the morning and evening, but while we were at the park it was scattered clouds, and a great temperature for shirt sleeves and running. Or swinging.

busy at the park
Parents mostly dropped off their kids this year for the party. That was fine with me, as Raine's friends seem a pretty good bunch, generally speaking. The younger kids that came - some siblings and some cousins a few years younger than Raine - had parents that stayed and kept an eye on them. We had plenty of food, so they were very welcome. Everyone seemed to have a great time at the park, which seems to be a favorite.

One of the kids Raine invited, whose mom and younger sister joined in, asked me if I'd ever had any trouble getting kids to come to her parties. I said that we generally tried to keep it small, but she tended to invite the same kids every year, and went to their parties, too. The mom said that none of the kids they had invited to her son's birthday came. None. I was FLOORED. Her son is a nice kid, and although he is a grade ahead of Raine, he is among the group that plays in the street when they can.

Another family on our street was invited, too. This family had a wonderful Halloween costume party and invited the kids that play together. They had a blast playing party games and running and chasing each other, and showing off their costumes. So of course we invited their boys to Raine's birthday party. The boys didn't make it. But, the mom came (she seems a very nice woman) and said that the dad was bringing the boys (don't know what happened there, but OK it happens). She brought two girls with her. I don't know why she brought them. Don't get me wrong, they played and were pleasant and all. Just that I didn't know them, and neither did Raine. I thought it was strange, but we went with it.

The best part - for me at least - was that Steph & Pete and the girls came over from Tucson for the weekend. It was great seeing them and spending some all too infrequent time together. They helped out with the party as well. I hope they had as good of a time as we did.

peeking out!
So, all in all, another successful birthday celebration. Happy 10th birthday, Raine. I can't believe how the time is flying by.

The Birthday Girl!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

ahh for friday

I'm very much looking forward to the coming weekend... and somewhat not. It will be a good one, I'm sure. Raine turns 10 (!) tomorrow, and we'll have her birthday party at the park like last year. We had an awesome party last year, and the kids had such a good time they didn't want it to stop. I'm hoping for a repeat. Did I mention that the weather forcast is for rain? Yeah. Here in NM, though, you take forcasts like that with a grain or two of salt. Still, I'm wondering what to do if it DOES rain... go bowling? get wet?

My best friend is coming over from Tucson for the party, and bringing her family, of course. Her younger daughter and Raine get along very well, which makes us all happy. As much as I love seeing them and am thrilled that they are coming,

I know it will be a busy weekend. It will seem short, and quick. I'm already tired for next week thinking about it. I think though, if I can manage to get good sleep in, and a good mix of activity and rest, it will be good. Different is restful in ways that rest doesn't always cover. Right?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

guilty as sin

I'm about 100 pages into Tami Hoag's book, Guilty as Sin. The book is about 600 pages long, and the story is building, but I find myself balking a little. I'm not as fond of courtroom mysteries as I am of good old detective ones. That is part - but not by any means all - of my hesitation.

It's the male crime writer character. He's trying to get the inside scoop on the case. You see, I really like Castle. And Nathan Fillian, of course, AS Castle. I finally figured out that I was comparing this character to Castle on some level, and then I conciously did it. He's handsome, like Castle, and rich, with the pull that follows riches and fame. Like Castle. He's persuasive and sexy, as well, definately a potential complication for the female lead. But he's slimy. Insinuating. CREEPY. Not like Castle in those ways at all. In fact, he's almost and anti-Castle. It's bugging me.

Now, the story - as I said - is moving along. I thought the Judge dying on the bench during a hearing was interesting. I'm wondering who REALLY kidnapped the kid, and who took him home. His dad might have something to do with it, or he may just be falling off his rocker. That part of the story I like well enough at this point. Not sure it will over come anti-Castle, though. Just not sure.

Monday, January 14, 2013

catching up before I'm too far behind

I'm going to feel that way all semester. I did pretty well last semester, keeping up with grading, etc. Better than usual, I think. Incorporating some new (at least to me) "tricks of the trade" to accomplish it. But this semester, I'm working without a prep, and man I'm feeling it. I knew going in to this new job that it would happen. I don't think I'm going to flounder or anything. It will probably - in the end - be good for me in some ways. A few ways. Some way.

There will be evenings with the gradebook, though. I spent part of this evening with it, and now I'm typing along when I should be getting myself into bed. Last week was rough, and I hope they will get easier. I think they will, once the routine is set.

I really want time to sew. I made a zippered pouch this past weekend, and I want to make more! More! MORE! I tell you, MORE!!!

I've been really tempted to do a crafty pay it forward. I've seen quite a few people doing it on facebook, and i haven't commented so they would pick me! pick me! but... I do love making stuff for people. That said, if you are reading this, and you would like a zippered pouch, and you tell me some color, or colors you like, some day this year, it just might show up with your name on it. But only in the name of practice, mind you... Well, and i really like to make stuff...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

first day of school, 2013 style

I met my new classes today. They seemed nice. I have a full slate this semester, teaching 4 classes, with no prep. Yeah. That's how they're doing the block schedule at LCPS these days, you only get ONE prep of the 8 sections you teach all year. It saves money. sigh.

Still, I will remember that I knew that going in, and that my trade off of time before and after school that I don't have to commute will make up for that in some ways. Also, these are the same classes I taught last semester, so I am not going in quite so cold as I did at the beginning of the first semester.

I am heartened by how low my failure rate was last semester, and I am gratified by that. Only four students total failed. Four. At Gadsden, if I had four in one class fail, it was a low failure rate...

I'm only teaching one section with Mr. Staley this semester, and truthfully, I'm going to miss having him there. I don't NEED another adult in the classroom with me, but I like his style of teaching, and so do the students. He has an awesome love of poetry, and I learned a lot from his poetry lessons with the students. I'll try to emulate them with my other English 4 classes, but as I told my students, it will be a pale comparison.

Friday, January 4, 2013

new year and snow and stuff

I must be a perverse sort of person. No, not perverted, just perverse. Everyone else was writing their Happy New Year posts, and I just couldn't jump on the band wagon. I have my same resolutions... be healthier. Keep life simple. Make stuff. I'm hoping that my friends and family will be healthy and happy in this new year. I'm hoping I can remember to write 2013 for the date...

I've had a really nice holiday, with a couple of weeks off from work, but it's back to the grind on Monday. I got in touch with a cousin who I hadn't talked to in close to 25 years. We had snow yesterday, which is almost gone now, but was so nice. It must be because I live where snow is not common, but watching the falling flakes - the big fluffy wet ones - coming down from the sky still looks like magic to me. Beautiful, cold magic.

There also seems to be some magic in each New Year. The chance to start again, if not exactly start over. The hopes of good things that we wish for ourselves, and each other. It is a good magic, and I hope it falls in fat flakes all over us!