A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Monday, May 28, 2007

What a week.

Theme: Colorful

We were spending a couple of weeks at our condo in Northern Utah. One morning I woke and our bedroom was glowing red. Now, in 1971 my family was evacuated in front of a raging fire, so glowing red is cause for immediate heart palpitations. I raced to the window and saw that the entire complex was glowing red, but our bedroom is in the basement so I couldn't see what was causing the red. I went upstairs onto the balcony and couldn't believe what I was seeing. The sunrise was flaming off the clouds and there were THREE rainbows. I was only able to photograph two, but am hopeful the three will always stay in my memory.

First, to Sam - I don't remember what songs the Hillary people were considering. I was so busy pitching a fit that they would waste donated dollars on such a trivial matter that I didn't even look at the choices.

Re: our teacher action. Contrary to predictions, the district denied the charter that would have devastated our district. The petitioners will now go to the County with the petition, which is fine because as a County charter, if they don't make budget it's the county's problem, not the school district's. The district still did not do the minimum to provide competitive salaries for our teachers, but I think we will see something (although we will still be at the bottom of county rankings even though we live in the most expensive city in the county). Now we're in a welcomed lull before negotiations begin.

Good thing, too. Last Monday was a normal day. Tuesday classes were preparing for Open House. My last class ground to a total halt as the administration pulled one, then another (a total of seven) students in and out of my class in a drug investigation. We have this about every three years or so. Three of my students were suspended and arrested (13 years old!) for possession and another suspended for carrying (I guess she was "just hiding it" for someone else.) Ironically, another teacher and I had JUST been talking about how, for the last 13 years or so, we have always been assigned the students most likely to be hauled out in a drug raid, which is exhausting for a teacher. We have an appointment with the AP tomorrow to talk about our morale and to explore this pattern. Maybe this is the evidence I need to make my case, huh? There are four grade 8 history teachers and none of the others had students involved. Only me, and mostly in one class (BTW, the AP is 100% sure there were two other students in the same class involved, he just couldn't prove it.) So, after dealing with that last period, I had to stay after two hours to get ready for Open House, then put on a happy face for the evening. It took the AP another two days to finish up his investigation and took me until Friday to come to terms with it. I dragged myself home by my fingernails (figuratively).

Tuesday was (FINALLY) the last day of our Cingular contract and DH and I happily skipped to the local Verizon store for our new phones. (It used to frustrate him that he had to climb out onto the golf course to make a Cingular phone call in Utah while our guests would lounge on the sofa to make their Verizon calls.) I am NOT a phone person, but have been lusting after the pink Razr phone for almost two years . It's mine now, with "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" as my ringtone (except for DS1 who has the "Asteroid Field" from Empire Strikes Back and DS2 who has the "Imperial March" from same.) The down side - DH is pestering me with text messages (as I feared).

This will be the last week of intense instruction for the year. Next week is Newsies while I grade finals and final projects, and the following week is graduation week which means packing up the classroom and turning in keys. I have a fairly busy summer planned but it should be fun. Just wish gasoline was a little cheaper.

Saturday and today were relaxing days puttering around doing maintenance. Watered plants (always therapeutic), pruned, small repairs. Managed to get all the ponds working again and love to hear them. Yesterday I spent the day scrapbooking with my sister. Very relaxing and, again, good therapy.

In stitchery and quilting, I am working on Paper Panache's Nativity Advent for a friend. My goal is one block a night to get it done before I leave on my trip in July, but I make so many mistakes that I'm really slow. I'm also still working on Bent Creek's lighthouse sampler for the same trip.

Guess I better stop writing and go stitch on something, huh?

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I'm a raving left wing liberal Democrat. I adored Bill Clinton. I enthusiastically voted for Al Gore and wish he would run again. I voted for Kerry because I hate King George the Liar.

I have never been enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton and have been looking carefully at the other candidates for the primary.

Now I question whether I would vote for her if she is the Democratic candidate!

This morning's email's subject line is, "We need your advice..."

Iraq? China trade agreements? Impeaching the President? Alberto Gonzalez?

HEALTH CARE FOR CHILDREN!?!?! How about my grown, college graduate sons, neither of whom have health insurance.

No, no. Hillary wants my advice on what her campaign song should be.

For pete's sake, woman! Who the heck cares?!?!


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What the ???

I REALLY don't want to go into the details, but just want to mention that lately my first thought upon waking in the morning is, "What the hell happened to my life?!?" For now I'd rather focus on some positives so that they are recorded for posterity (or at least as long as this blog survives).

First, DS1 has two classes left - tomorrow and Thursday - and then he will have finished the rather protracted journey to a teaching credential. For posterity: K-12 education, check. First semester of college was a semester in Nepal with the local community college. Second semester at a different community college, neither having even a half-way decent instrumental music performance program. Second year entailed moving to Santa Barbara (45 miles away) and living there to attend their community college for their excellent jazz program. Year two completed and he utters the words I will never forget, "Mom, you won't believe this but I want to change instruments." Mind, his big band teacher once commented that DS1 was "the best bass player I've had in years" and now he wanted to learn to play the piano. Hence, years three and four spent at yet a fourth community college in Fullerton (70 miles away but with an even better jazz program and awesome piano teacher). Rents a room in the neighboring state university's international students' housing where he meets his now wife. FINALLY, piano skills in hand, he transfers to NYC to finish his BFA in the New School University, Mannes School of Music, Jazz and Contemporary Music program. Survives 9/11 (still won't talk about it). On way home is interviewing over the phone with an English language school in Japan for a job starting in September (fiance's student visa had run out and she had gone home). Thinks he has the job, but at the last minute the school's owner decides to hire someone else. Takes multiple part-time jobs (at the same time) and lives at home, playing x-box to fight depression. After a year takes a part-time job teaching keyboards to little kids at an elementary school in a neighboring town. Decides he LIKES teaching and is good at it. Decides to enroll in local university's teacher credential program. Is told he may start in September if he crams in two prerequisites in the summer, which he does, only to learn in September that these classes are no longer prerequisites and he didn't have to take them after all. Survives one year in this program fighting multiple requirement changes, incompetent professors and anti-male bias. Quits for a year to earn money substitute teaching. Marries in January, 2006. Changes universities to finish teaching credential. Completes student teaching last month and is now finishing last two classes. WHEW! He has been attending job fairs and sending out applications. Had a promising interview last Saturday with an encouraging - but weird - call back on Monday. The school is perfect for him, he is perfect for the school. Just trying not to get too optimistic and is still attending job fairs and sending out applications. He's been here before.

This is the weird part, though. During the interview they asked him what kind of elective he could put together as part of an elective program at this school (brand new, opening in September.) He described the keyboard program he did at the elementary school. When they called back on Monday they said two things: first, they had begun work on a grant application to buy keyboards for a keyboard elective; second, they were "hopeful" that they would be able to make him an offer. Huh? None of us quite know what to make of that. Like I said, it sounds promising, but...

After graduating from UCSB (BA in Anthropology) DS2 spent last summer applying and testing for a job with the post office. It was a protracted process but he was eventually placed as a rural sub in our town. He worked every day for a couple of weeks, then had a disagreement with the scheduler. The scheduler retaliated by leaving him off the schedule for more than a month. Long story short, he is now subbing the city routes, working nearly every day. They love him and compliment him and appreciate him. He and his best friend were able to get an apartment across town. He seems really happy with life at the moment. He is the first to admit that this is a job for a few years as he gets over 19 years in school and decides if there is something he'd like to do when he grows up (a few years in anthro ed getting his degree taught him he wanted nothing to do with the anthro community.) He worked his last two years as a programmer (we used to call them disc jockeys) and music director at the university radio station and I wouldn't be surprised to see him end up in radio somehow. He has a nice girlfriend and the Dodgers to root, root, root for. F
or now I'm just delighted that he seems so happy with his life.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

for Seaside Stitcher

One of my favorite blogs to visit is Seaside Stitcher. She always makes me smile. She posted this meme and asked her readers to let her know if they had done it so she could go visit, but when I saw it she still didn't have any takers. This one's for you, girl!

Another Meme

  1. Explain what ended your last relationship? Still in it, 35 years in June.
  2. When was the last time you shaved? Two months ago before my doctor visit.
  3. What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.? Scrapbooking
  4. What were you doing 15 minutes ago? Reading an adorable blog about a teddy bear ventriloquist.
  5. Are you any good at math? Yes, but like Seaside Stitcher I have to have paper and pencil (kinesthetic learner which is another way to say I have to use my fingers and toes sometimes.)
  6. Your prom night? Didn't go. Forced my sons to ask nice girls without boyfriends. Long story for some other time.
  7. Do you have any famous ancestors? Sort of. I share an ancestor with Thomas Jefferson.
  8. Have you had to take a loan out for school? No, my parents paid for the first three years and my husband for the last four.
  9. Do you know the words to the song on your myspace profile? No myspace, no song.
  10. What is your myspace profile? I dumped it when I started my blog.
  11. Last thing received in the mail? Another credit card offer.
  12. How many different beverages have you had today? Two, water and milk.
  13. Do you ever leave messages on people’s answering machines? Not usually.
  14. Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to? How to define "concert"? I worked the snack bar when my high school hosted an Iron Butterfly concert but I didn't see them. I attended MANY concerts that my sons performed in. And I flew to Madison, WI, to see two days of Drum Corps, International competition. But by my definition of "concert" (that is, I paid big bucks to sit in a real theater and be entertained) I guess my first was "Tap Dogs" followed by STOMP, BLAST and (believe it or not) Olivia Newton John. I also took my son and his friend (who have the same birthday) to see David Copperfield in person (my son is a lifelong fan). Does that qualify?
  15. What’s the most painful dental procedure you’ve had? Had a molar removed last year that was "resorbing." That happens when the body decides a tooth is a foreign object to be eliminated. The socket only hurt for a day and healed nicely, but my jaw hurt for a month where they had to crank it open to get the tooth out.
  16. What is out your back door? A small pond full of water lilies and duckweed backed by Cupani sweet peas that have volunteered for the third year in a row.
  17. Any plans for Friday night? This past Friday night about 6 I sat in my recliner to put my feet up for a few minutes before starting some articles for my union newsletter and fell fast asleep. Sounds good for this Friday, too.
  18. Do you like what the ocean does to your hair? Never have, although I love to swim in the ocean.
  19. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns? Yes, and I buy them at Christmas, too. My husband and sons love them.
  20. Have you ever been to a planetarium? Yes, at the Museum of Natural History in Santa Barbara and at Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles. I've also been to the Air and Space Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC, but I don't think that counts.
  21. Do you re-use towels after you shower? Yes.
  22. Some things you are excited about? Pirates 3, the last Harry Potter, the opening of the Finding Nemo ride at Disneyland, building our new house in Utah and retirement. And June can't get here soon enough!
  23. What is your favorite flavor of JELLO? Cherry
  24. Describe your keychain(s)? It has a very blingy Mickey Mouse head with a clip to hang the keys. I keep my house keys separate from my car keys on a chain with a wand of glitter in oil that my husband brought me from the Long Beach Aquarium and my classroom keys on a third with a plastic map of the United States (I teach US history).
  25. When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people? Last Thursday I gave a speech to the local Democratic Club about King George Bush's unconstitutional use of signing statements to nullify laws that our legislature passes. Dictator!
  26. What kind of winter coat do you own? A Disneyland sweatshirt does it in Southern California.
  27. What was the weather like on your graduation day? Hot.
  28. Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed? Closed, so the family doesn't have to listen to me snore.

Something we never outgrow

Photohunt Theme: Childhood

Gee, those were good times. Boys are ages 28 and 25, now. Two fine young men of whom I am very proud.