Sunday, October 5, 2014

go to the fair

This weekend was the fair. It was hot and dusty and we arrived on the last day. I walked through the quilts, and the N gauge railroad displays. I went through the Exhibit hall. What do you know? There were some familiar items!

This is live dragon vs. bone dragon by Raine
Yes, she won a blue ribbon. She was pretty thrilled with it! Her friend's mom challenged her son and Raine to each draw something to enter. She herself entered some photography and some vegetables from their garden. I was inspired to enter the bunny who's dress I have been working on off and on.

This bunny dress
I got a best of lot, and a $15 dollar prize. Not bad.

Every year, I seem to come back to the feelings of nostalgia for the fairs of my youth. Going to the melodramas that the high school drama classes would set up between the quonset huts FULL of various exhibits. Roaming through the travel trailers on display (one of my favorite things) and climbing aboard the tractors. All these home based crafts are just not practiced like they used to be, or if someone is competeing it isn't at the fair. Why not, though? Why?

I wish I knew what to do to promote that competition a little more, to help inspire crafters and artists to get involved again. Hey you guys, GO TO THE FAIR!!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

thoughts on a young life lost

It happens. If you are a teacher long enough, one of your students - or former students - dies. We got word today that one of our graduates from last year was killed in a car wreck on his way to start college. Those are all the details I have, and as devestating as that is in itself for his family, I hope the circumstances are not worse for them.

I've been a teacher for a good while, now. With experience, I've found that ALL my students hold the potential for a bright future. They go places, and they do things. Awesome things. It has taught me to value them more, even though that potential may not be showing through when I meet them in class. The young man we lost glowed with that potential, though. He wasn't popular, nor did he care to be. He was, however, confident, and he seemed to always have a smile on his face. He read. and he read. and he read. He was a student aide in the library, of all the perfect places. And he graduated.

I got to watch him cross the stage, and wave at his family, and start the rest of his journey through life, with all that shiny potential radiating through that smile. So now, I grieve. For this student who I taught, and talked with, and greeted on my way into the building. I'm sad for his family, and the loss of their child. Memories of his childhood, and hopes for the adult that was promised. I'm sad for this loss of potential. Because we need it.

Go in peace young one.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

road trip!

One of my favorite things is a road trip. We took one this past weekend. On Friday, we drove up to Los Alamos (I don't remember ever being there). On Saturday, we took the scenic drive, and saw some beautiful scenery.

trees, stumps, greenery and VIEW!
battleship rock
We drove, and toured and even got rained on a bit. I was hoping to spot some wildlife, but was kind of disappointed. Even though there were watch for elk signs everywhere, we spotted none. Had to make do with some prairie dogs.

on the look-out
We had a lovely time in the free range trees, and the cooler temperatures, even if it was for only a short time.

more view... oh and I can't leave out Raine, can I?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Busy Summer not Sewing

Summer is moving right along and me with it. I got a few I don't want to do anything days in, but have had a hard time feeling like I'm accomplishing anything for the past week or so. Well, I've been accomplishing helping out my brother, who had surgery, and is recovering very nicely, thank you. He still can't drive again yet (but soon) and needs rides places, and - although he doesn't really need it - checking in on. Well, really he needs a little company, so I check in.

Still, there is sewing I would like to get into the works the next week or so, and then blog about it when I do!  I've got some sewing for me, of course, to get ready for school. To do some of it, I really need and want to get through the serger craftsy class I bought.  I want to do more with my serger than just sew basic serged seams. I want to do those too, but MORE!  I have several knit items I want to put together, and need to do some adjusting of the settings to get them right. Not difficult really, just time. I also have some shirts to make for me, my brother (Happy Birthday presents, so I better get on the ball) and a couple things to finish up for Raine. There are some crafting projects on the calendar for SCA, and I need to get some more in the upcoming months as well. The ones so far were fun! I also really, really want to try some beadwork. Bead weaving/sewing. I'm pretty excited about it.

Here's to getting some sewing done!

Friday, June 6, 2014

the annual visit

This past week, my niece, Shelbi, visited us. She is a couple years older than Raine, and this year, it was quite evident. She has matured so much over the past year, and is more teenager than child. She looks different and acts different. I don't mean that in a bad way, though. My niece has continually amazed me with what a neat kid she is, and this is just one more instance. She didn't make a big deal of her interests, or deride Raine for hers. She was still enthusiastic about participating in activities like bowling and going to the movies and an outing at White Sands. She was just more able to amuse herself than she has been in the past. None of the activities were the make-or-break of the trip.

We did some fun at-home stuff this year. We worked a puzzle. Carl and I took a turn at teaching Raine and Shelbi to play canasta. We didn't finish the game, but we all had a good time playing. Yep, all of us. After canasta, Shelbi turned up Raine's Uno cards, and we played several times over the next couple of days.

I didn't get sewing done for her this trip, although I usually do. We went to Jo-Ann's and picked up a few pieces, but the time ran out. I'll finish some pj's and a swim cover-up for her and send them to her in the mail or something.

It was really a nice visit, and I hope a portent of the teenager she will be the next few years, and the adult she will become. Lots of promise in this one.

Monday, June 2, 2014

relationship reflection

Several couples that I know have broken up recently. I am not in the middle (thank goodness) of any of them, and my point here is not to judge anything about any of their relationships. In fact it is not my purpose to talk about their relationships specifically at all, beyond mentioning them as a jumping off point for writing.

I came to the marriage thing late. I never dated much, or functioned well in those kind of relationships. I'm not particularly flirty, or sexy, or anything. I can't say I understand fully how and why people pick, keep, discard partners as they do. It certainly doesn't seem as easy or seamless as my parents' relationship seemed. I'm sure there were things there that I just didn't/couldn't see, but I still don't know what they were.

I use the relationships that I know as a guage of sorts, I guess. If other relationships can last, so can mine. When those other relationships fall by the wayside, no matter what the reason - because that isn't the important part for my comparison - when they fail, I worry about my relationship.

On one hand, I know that is not a reasonable comparison. We are not them. Our problems are not theirs, and theirs are not ours.

On the other hand, I'm not trying to get into the whys and wherefors of the relationship, its problems or its failures, only the longevity and/or demise.  What chances do we have if so-and-so failed, too?

I'm not trying to borrow trouble, although I'm sure I am, to an extent. I'm certainly not giving up because of what happens to other couples. Still, I know I'm not more special, more giving, more relationship-able than they are. So, it saddens me to hear of a couple breaking up. Even if I understand that it may be the best thing for all involved. Even if I know nothing whatever of what has transpired between them. Even though I know it has nothing to do with the fate of my own relationship, one way or the other.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

the official start of summer vacation

School is done for the season. Now for a nice Memorial Day weekend. We will appreciate the efforts and sacrifices of the veterans we know and love, and others who also have helped defend and protect our country. Thank you!

Carl and I will also go visit our elderly cousins in Alamogordo, appreciating the fact that we are able to do so, and help out people who have meant so much to us through the years.

I'm also working on Raine's summer wardrobe, which is sadly limited at the moment. Until I finish. I'm sewing for her, of course. Pants and shorts seem to be what she likes me to make for her. This year, after we went through her pant drawer, and it looked so very empty, I took her to the fabric store and let her pick out five fabrics for shorts. I think her choices were fabulous, and some were quite unexpected for me. Not shocking - like frilly and pink or anything - just unexpected. In a good way. I finished the second pair today, an orange fall print that isn't too specifically fall, and I think she will enjoy as shorts.

fall fabric that can work year 'round
When I finished them, I had her try them on, and I took a few photos. She could hardly stand still long enough to get a shot.
The best shot of the shorts is not the best shot of a child in motion...
How old are you when taking a picture of your backside is not something that you mind? Well, evidently at 11 you still aren't too self conscious to giggle and shake it. 

Take a picture of my butt, Mom!
could you just stand still for a moment???
Three more pair to sew up!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

that's my girl!

Kids - from day one - are their own people. Any mom will tell you that. There are days that I wonder where this alien creature came from, with her won't eat onions, and keeping candy all year (???) and such.

Then there are days, like today, when I know exactly who's kid she is. She is MINE.

I walked into her bedroom and found this stack of books on her bed.

discarded library books
She got to bring some home, and she picked out - and carried - a pile. A girl after my own heart. Her choices are different than mine would be, but they so did not surprise me. Let's see... snakes

look what I got, Mom!
... and more snakes...

and this one!
...and reptiles, and raptors and finally...

badgers badgers badgers
Yep! Thats my girl, all right.

Monday, April 28, 2014

carcassonne - a game review

It's Carl's fault. I know I've literally been saying that since he was born, but - eh - what the heck. Sometimes it is true. Most times. Well, you know.

One day, Carl and I were browsing through games on the Xbox that Raine got for Christmas. WHAT? Anyway, Carl spotted this game, which he seemed to be familiar with.

We discussed it briefly, and then went on to try some more familiar family type board games on the xbox. We were disappointed in them.

A few days later, some friends were over, and since we all like to play board games, we decided to buy and try this one for the x-box. We had a blast. I think we played it four times that evening. The next evening we were at it again. Even Ron played, and he isn't that fond of board games. (He bought it for his phone). The following weekend, we had a fourth remote, so four people could play at a time. Yeah, I think we liked it.

This is a really good example of a board game that translates well to computer. The scoring is pretty complicated, but so what? The computer takes care of that. There are tiles and meeple and stuff to sort and keep track of. So what? The computer takes care of that. There are no rule disputes, because, yeah, the computer takes care of that, too.  Understanding the game to be able to play takes only a few moments. Understanding successful strategies to play and win? Much more time.

What is even better is that the game for the x-box was only about $10. I think it was a bargain at that, and we have all ready gotten our money's worth out of it.

So, how does it work? Well, each player lays a tile during his or her turn. The tiles can be a combination of city, road, monastary and farm land. Once you lay the tile, you have to decide whether you want to claim any available area represented on that tile. You claim it by setting a little man called a meeple on that area. When you complete something, like a stretch of road, or a city, you get points for it, and you get your meeple back, to claim something else. At the end of the game, you get points for unfinished cities, etc, and for the farmland that supplies (touches) any completed city. It is not quite a cooperative game, but it does have potentially cooperative elements.

If you like building games like Settlers of Catan, you too would probably enjoy Carcassonne!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

not too old to hunt eggs

Our Easter holiday was low key. I made Raine hunt for the plastic eggs she kept last year, so the Easter Bunny would have something to fill and hide. We didn't do much candy, she doesn't eat it anyway much, so much the better for her, so small toys and stuff, mostly. Not too many, I don't think, and set out a basket with books and peeps, and pistacios, which she has decided to love.
good morning Raine
She sleeps late even on holidays. Especially on holidays, so we had plenty of time to start dinner, then hide eggs.  She went out in pj's and uncombed hair (her favorite) to find them. Hide and seek is the fun part.

More Easter goodies.
The egg dying was fun, and for our Easter dinner, I turned them into devilled eggs. A much better use for them than hide and seek, I think.


Pretty yummy!
Raine and Ezekiel did a great job of dying them, I loved the speckled colors and marblization. Ginger - however - was not impressed...

No eggs for you!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

not overly puzzled

I've been itching to work a jigsaw puzzle for a while. I look at them in the store, and think, but those are so expensive! Sigh. I think about getting one at a thrift store, but what about missing pieces? They bug me! Anyway, a finally picked up a box of puzzles with several assorted sizes and a variety of pictures that I liked. A couple weeks ago I finally pulled out the card table and sorted the pieces.

I figured a 500 piece puzzle would take us about a week to put together and I was right. Raine took to it like a fish to water, and helped. This past Friday, I took it apart and bagged it up. "Did you take a picture of it?" Raine asked, hopefully. I had to admit that I had not.


Not to worry, Raine, we can do another one. Pick out the one you want to do. The one with kittens of course! It was only 300 pieces, and she had it finished last night. Then she took a picture.

I'm glad that puzzles are back on the activity list! I think we need a different cover for the card table though... those grey and yellow circles make me dizzy! Whew!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

just another brick

Today, I learned something from a song. Well, maybe "learned" isn't quite right, but there was definitely an epiphany.

First, the song... "Another Brick in the Wall," by Pink Floyd, from their album The Wall. Here is a link to it on YouTube, if you need a refresher... The song is rather a protest about the institution of education, and several generations of school kids have picked it up as an anthem for those moments - or years - when they hate school, starting with my generation. I remember when this album came out, and it was the voice of a teenaged angst-filled, broken-hearted, almost adult period of time for me. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. It isn't a terrible album, but I don't get it out to listen to as a whole. Mostly because it is full of that broken-hearted, depressed, angst-y emotion that made it a perfect soundtrack for that part of my life, and I'm not there any more and don't want to be.

Still, songs from the album visit me on the radio, or where-ever. Today it was "Another Brick in the Wall." When I hear that song these days, I feel the voices of my students - almost 18 years of them now - singing it to me, protesting their "encarceration" in school, much as my friends and I belted it out, riding around in cars, as we prepared to graduate high school. Today, I realized for the first time, that I was, now, one of those "bricks" in the wall. I could have felt bad, taking it the way Pink Floyd meant, basically that a teacher was just another repressor. Instead, I got this image of someone standing at the wall so long that they basically become a part of the wall. They go from pounding on the wall to holding it up.

Interesting. I understand that the song protests the indoctrination of education, and as an educator, I recognize that - indeed - that is a necessary element of society. If you don't know how to be a part of society, you cannot function within it. The good or ill of the indoctrination has to do with its purpose, not its existance. Beyond that, though, lies the real value - and danger - of education. Without it, how do you think beyond that indoctrination? How do you think beyond what is known? It is like so many things. Once you know the rules, you know how to break them with intelligent purpose and intent. You know when to break those rules to achieve your purpose. You understand that it is not without risk or consequence, and you can decide whether the gain is worth the consequence.

So, Pink Floyd, I hear your anthem, and I see beyond it. Not only do we all need that education, we all need to become, some way or another, another brick in that wall.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

holding on

It's a Taurus thing. We don't like to let go. Nope. Not at all. Maybe its a friend who moves away, or that whatchamacallit. You  know, the one you got on your 14th birthday. Heck you don't even remember who gave it to you, or what its really called. It goes RIGHT THERE, on your dresser. And collects dust.

Taurans, you know who you are, and you know it's true.

I'm learning, slowly, the joys of purging. How good it can feel inside to let go of stuff. But sometimes, it can be difficult.

For instance, every time I drive through the neighborhood I grew up in, the neighborhood with the house my parents lived in until my dad remarried after my mom died. Let me just say this (for my mother was a Taurus, too) the house my mother didn't leave until she died. (I hope you can understand my sentiment here... as when we joke around and say I'm not leaving until... well, she didn't - and it fit who she was) The house that my dad let our step-mother take away from us. Well, I get irked. Sometimes more than other times.

Now, of course you are going to say to me, "Of course you do! Who wouldn't?" Well, that whole situation? It's over. It's done with. NOTHING I could ever do will change any of it. I made choices at the time that I stand by, that make me feel like a decent human being. Choices that I can live with, because those were the questions I had to ask myself.

But driving through there, I get irked. Sometimes more than others, and tonight was one of those more nights. Oh I could NOT drive through there, but it is the quickest way to Raine's friend's house, so I drive it at least once a week, more than that, mostly. I would really like to put those feelings to rest. I would really like to be a better person than that. I would like to think I was a better person than that. But I'm a Taurus. I hold on to stuff.

So, every time I drive past, I get that visceral reaction. I'm still working on letting it go.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

spring break

Spring break is all done but the clapping this year. The fat lady will sing soon (in the shower, so no peeking  - and if you do it serves you right) and then to bed and up to work tomorrow.

It has been a pleasant week, full of movie watching, an encouraging visit to my elderly relatives in Alamogordo, and some craftiness. Even Raine has had a good time, when I know she was afraid the whole week would be spent cleaning her room. Sure she did some of that, and not all it needed, but progress was made! She also got to take a day trip to Ruidoso, and another to Western Playland. She got to sleep over at a friend's house, and even play with some young chickens. Ron took vacation, and spent it the way he prefers, spending time with his family, and playing computer games. Well, and watching movies with me, lol.

He ordered some Sherlock Holmes videos, a collection of the movies that we didn't already own. We got to watch those. Jeremy Brett is very good as Sherlock. Oh sure, I the Benedict Cumberbatch is good, but it just isn't the same. Anyway, we also watched a movie called Odd Thomas. Yes, based on the book of the same title by Dean Koontz. I haven't read the books - it is a series - but went to Coas the next day and found the first 3. I had not heard of the movie, even though I'd heard of the books. I really liked it. There was the welcome flavor of Pushing Daisies and a fast pace that I enjoyed. Quite entertaining. Enough so that I will now read the books that I ran out to find the next day.

I've been working on some steampunk-y crafts. I have a shawl that I'm crocheting, and will share when it is more finished. I've also been inspired to dress a bunny, steampunk style. Here she is, so far:

bunny in a corset
I'll be sharing more if this as more of the look is put together. So far, I'm pretty happy with her. I'm particularly happy with how the corset came out. Want a close up?

Love the fasteners!
I'll be posting more about the bunny on my Creatlivity blog. Probably tomorrow. She is nowhere near finished, but the clothes pretty much are. Now for the embellishments! They should be fun! fun! fun!

And now back to our previously scheduled semester...

Friday, March 21, 2014


So much for my plans to post here more often. I have been stretched this semester, teaching, planning for and grading for 3 different classes. It is keeping me busy, I'll tell you that much. I don't have a lot of creative thought left over after work. This coming week is spring break, however, and I hope to get a lot of the planning taken care of for the rest of the semester, and some of the prep work, too... or at least the prep of the prep, if you know what I mean...

Other things have been going on as well. A couple of elderly cousins have needed some time this past month, and I have been blessed to be able to help them out some. I grew up with these cousins (my dad's first cousin and her husband) around and beloved. Still it takes time, and energy.

I see you!!! 

We did take the time to go to Tucson, so we could enjoy Wild Wild West Con 3 at Old Tucson. It was fun again this year. We missed Abney Park, as one of the bands, but Professor Elemental was back, as was Steam Powered Giraffe. There were other bands and entertainment as well. The children's activities were stepped up this year, and Raine and Ana created some awesome cardboard robots, and some fun bug-eye goggles.

Very creative and fun cardboard robots
We also did some make and take activities for adults... except that Raine seemed to make out like a bandit on the pouch making. It required a new belt as well.

ta da! we made it!
So there were the months of February, and March (so far) around here.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Time for another TV program review

Thank goodness for Netflix. How would I dig this stuff up otherwise?

This time I'm going to talk about Emergency! Yes, from that series about firefighter/paramedics from the 70's. This was a show I loved through my teenage years, when Randy Mantooth graced the covers of all the teen girl magazines. Yes, I saw them. No, I didn't buy them. I thought DeSoto was much more interesting. So, I've watched a few episodes from the first season, when there were a lot of scenes between Nurse Dixie and Dr Kelly Brackett. And people going into the emergency room and getting immediate attention, even for minor - or silly - ailments.

I get amused at the show, because it was supposed to be gritty and realistic at the time. Our definitions of those have certainly changed. At least as far as television is concerned. It is fun to see the cars, and the fashions again. I grew up with those. The roads not seeming so busy, not even the freeways in the backgrounds. Nostalgia on a couple of different levels, I guess.

It is interesting to watch with a little more informed eye, though. These guys take their helmets off ALL THE TIME. I can catch the stock footage now. It is weird that there isn't a seat belt to be found. Still, in some ways, the show holds up as entertainment. Sometimes the blood/injury/doctor themes really bother Raine on TV. I love the crime drama shows, but haven't kept up with many. Raine can watch Emergency!, though, for a rescue show, there really isn't much blood or obvious injury. In fact, I told her how I wasn't that much older than she is now when it started, and I how really liked the show back then. Someday, I told her, she can share a show she loves now with her kids (and they will think she's just as dorky as she thinks I am... and that will be OK, too. Singing along with the theme song probably didn't help me much.).

So catch an episode of Emergency! or two for some light, nostalgic entertainment.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

prepare for party

This coming weekend, my baby turns 11. On the teetering edge between childhood, and that hormonal miasma of preteen. We have filled out the application for the science magnet for middle school. Sometime next month, she well get to go tour the school with the other fifth graders. She's looking me in the eye, people, and probably taller than me, now. She's still interested in getting and having toys, but doesn't play with them as much as she used to. She's growing up.

summer vacation 2012

I'll miss the child, kind of like I miss the baby, and the toddler, and all those younger stages, but I'm interested to see just what she will become, and how she will become it. She doesn't seem as shy or socially awkward as I felt. So I hope she won't have such a hard time transitioning friends, as I did. Of course there will be struggles, and many of them will be with me. Its that mother/daughter thing. I'm not looking forward to them, either, stubborn child that she is, but it is part of the deal. I hope she is as thought full as she seems, and as good of a soul. I hope she won't be led too far astray, and will find some new kindred spirits to complement the friends she already holds dear. I hope she can find herself, and is happy with who she finds.

2006 - back when spiders were her favorite.. and mischief

But for now, a birthday party to plan. Presents, invitations, cake (icecream cake, yes, please), goodies and all.
2008 - she may be older, but she's just as silly.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

getting some love, and giving it back

This week has passed slowly, and through a haze of coughing, sneezing, using a box and more of tissue, and generally feeling pretty rotten. Yuck. I explored the line between sleep and awake, not always quite sure which side I was exploring from. I watched an episode of Downton Abbey, and then dreamed it over and over and over. When nothing else would do, I pulled out my Grannie quilt to snuggle under.

My Grannie made me this quilt when I was in my early teens, and every winter, from then on, it would go on my bed to snuggle under all winter long. This went on, winter after winter, until Ron and I got married, and moved to Colorado. Actually, the last time it was on the bed was the winter after we moved to Denver. I was pregnant with Raine, and we had only had Dixie a few months, and she chewed on the edges a bit, like a(n almost grown) puppy will do. I had no hard feelings. Much. But it did make me take a look at my beloved Grannie quilt. The years had taken their toll, and the fabrics had become thin and fragile in places. One square was rather shredded, and others had worn through her or there. So I carefully folded it up, and put it away. In Denver, we needed more serious quilts anyway.

Still there are times, like this week, when I pull that quilt out for a little extra love. We all have times like that, don't we? I even got to talk to Raine about how that quilt felt like snuggling in the love from my Grannie. It was a good moment, in a when-will-this-be-over week.

my Grannie quilt
The worst is over, though, and today I felt more - MUCH more - like myself. I didn't mind doing the laundry. In fact, after feeling like contagion for almost a week, laundry sounded like a wonderful idea. In went the sheets, and the towels, and all the regular stuff. And I really wanted to put that quilt in a load, too. But I just wasn't sure how well it would survive.

It was time to give some love back to it. I got out a needle and thread, and between loads, I mended here and there. I found a piece I could patch on top of the shredded square, which I did. There was, truthfully a lot of mending to be done. I know many people would have given me the opinion that it wasn't worth the time. The thread I used to mend was stronger than the fabric it was holding together.  I know it is. Still, I stitched, and finally got it done, and then washed, and dried. Then, I looked at the backing side. Ooops! still a little more mending to be done tomorrow. I don't mind.

I guess we do need some stinkin' patches...
Then my Grannie quilt goes back in the closet for me to pull out the next time I really need a little extra love.