My wishes for us all in 2009
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
I never thought I would give up my dream of the "perfect" Christmas (in the material sense) but I admit it's pretty far out of grasp this year. I've always enjoyed the whole process of Christmas. My goal is to have a sparkling clean house first, then fill it with Christmas finery, then collect gifts for my loved ones, then make cookies and breads and other treats. In my dream Christmas this is all done by Christmas Eve so that I can be in my recliner all day, watching Christmas movies and eating Snickerdoodles.
In years past I've gotten close. Before I started working I could get the house clean and dressed and cookies made. But I've never been able to relax on Christmas Eve. It's been OK because I've always also known that all that material stuff is outside what's really important, which is being with the people you love in a spirit of selflessness.
This year I'm having a real hard time grabbing onto that. I can't seem to shake my funk over just where I am right now. Instead of having moved into my new retirement home (which was scheduled in the life plan for last month), I'm still stuck in the falling down home that still has the original avocado green kitchen tile that came with the house when we bought it 34 years ago. I'm still working at a job that I stopped liking about ten years ago. My retired husband is so busy with his retirement activities that he doesn't have time to clean the house (as promised) and I'm in a perpetual state of disgust over the place. What a dilemma! Deal with the resentment of living in filth, or live with the resentment of doing it myself on top of working full time.
Then he has the nerve to say (re: the weedy flower beds in the front yard) that I don't seem to "want" to weed anymore. Hello? I am a true gardener. The sign of a true gardener is that we actually LIKE to weed. Just how much energy am I supposed to have, oh ye who has hired a gardener to do your one chore, mow the lawn. (In fairness, he was willing to have said gardener "weed" the flower beds. The guy took the weed whacker to them. NOT a good idea.)
I haven't been able to talk myself out of this. Or Disneyland my way out of it. Or shop my way out of it. Or visit my way out of it. Or internet my way out of it. Or walk my way out of it.
Or eat my way out of it.
So this post is an attempt to write my way out of it.
Thank you for your patience.
One frustration has been the Christmas tree.
We moved to an artificial tree years ago when my son developed asthma. Because I'm picky about how the lights should look, I took over that part of decorating the tree. After a couple of years of taking them off each year after the holiday, I decided to try just folding the tree up with the lights on like the store trees. What a mess! I wound the lights around and around the branches and each year the folding process cut through the wires enough that I've been having to find the broken strands and replace them - two or three at a time - every year. So, this year I decided to replace them all (since I can no longer find which ones are the broken strands without taking them all off anyway) and use clips rather than winding. Target had eight boxes of clips. It is taking way more clips than I imagined. I bought all eight boxes; two trips to the store which is clear the hell the other side of town, three if you count the trip I took when they hadn't received replacement stock. Our tree is in three sections and I ran out of clips just two branches short of finishing the first section. One more trip to Target (still no clips) yesterday. Yesterday afternoon DS2 gave me a little advice as to where to shop for a Christmas gift for DH so I went to another town and stopped at their Target where (hallelujah) they had more clips. As of last night the tree is up and lighted. Today, ornaments!
Even the Happiest Place on Earth wasn't able to fix me. I took Mom last Wednesday and we spent a nice day at the resort. We have a nice routine. California Adventure for two turns on Soarin' Over California, then over to Disneyland for the rest of the day. We took in a Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show, did some shopping and then spent the rest of the late afternoon and evening with the Ragtime piano player at Coke Cornerl. Nothing better than enjoying the Christmas decorations (which I can't share here because I can't manage to get a decent picture at night) and people watching with piano as the soundtrack.
When I got home, I had received a package from Primitive Stitches. I was too tired to do more than take a shower and go to bed, but I grabbed the package to take to school and, from there, to the cardiologist's office. There's always a long wait for the afternoon appointments in that office and I was delighted to be able to flip through these delightful designs (all beautifully printed on card stock) as I waited. As I enjoyed my patterns, though, I was getting more and more irritated by the gross cigarette smell coming, I thought, from the couple sitting next to me. They were called into the examining area, though, and the smell persisted. I realized then that the smell was coming from the packet of patterns. I highly recommend this designer. The designs are terrific and well-produced and the service was excellent. Just be aware, if you're a non-smoker, that you may need to do some airing out or recopying of the patterns if you can't handle the smell of stale cigarette smoke.
Friday was December 5, the anniversary of Walt Disney's birthday. I've made myself a tradition of taking a personal day to go by myself (or with my sister, if she's available) to lay a flower at the flagpole in Town Square (where Walt's welcome speech rests on a plaque). This year the plaque was covered by the sound booth for the Candlelight Procession and living Christmas tree presentations later that weekend.
I did enjoy the new Pixie Hollow with the opportunity to have a picture taken with two of the faeries. It was quite a long wait but I got some pictures of the new faerie sculpture garden.
But even my pictures are depressing. Three months of walking the treadmill, 45 minutes at a time, at least four days a week (most weeks five) and I'm still not losing any weight. Which is why I'm eating again.
Which isn't going to fix anything.
I had planned to go on the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion, but while I waited in the picture line at Pixie Hollow I aggravated my (arthritic?) hip and had to rest for a while. I decided to go to my favorite lunch place - Carnation Plaza - for a late lunch/early dinner. There is always another line to wait in there and after I'd been there about twenty minutes a middle schoo- aged boy (yes, I can spot them) "joined" the large group ahead of me. About a minute after he got there, another five people "joined" him. However, once the large group was seated it was obvious that this boy was not with their group, but had cut into line in front of me. Turns out (obvious from the "Thanks for saving our place for us, Brock" conversation) that his group thought they had left him to keep a spot in line while they shopped, but that dear little Brock had lit out on his own and cut into line just before they returned. Now, Disneyland is supposed to be my getaway, my happy place to forget about what I do on a daily basis. But this behavior is exactly part of what's wrong with our education system. Kids don't do what they are supposed to do and get away with it. Should I say something? Will it make a difference? I turned to the woman (grandmother? aunt?) closest to me and said, "Are you not with that large group?" She answered, "No, we aren't." "Then," I continued, "you need to know that that boy was not in the line keeping your spot. He cut into the line just a minute ago." Did they ask the boy? No. Did they move to the back of the line? No. His mom said, "You can go ahead of us," to me. To which I replied, "Well you need to let all these people who have been waiting with me go, too." Right at that moment the hostess (who had already made a list of the half-dozen parties waiting in the line) came looking for me as the party of one on her list. My table was ready and she was very confused because, according to her list, I should have been at the front of the line. "There you are!" she exclaimed with confusion written across her brow. "What happened?" I answered that "this group" had cut into the line. She apologized as she seated me and said "We can't allow them to get away with that."
That was the end of my involvement but, again, this is a huge problem with more and more kids in our schools. This child made a poor choice and there should have been a consequence. The appropriate thing for the family to do would have been to move to the end of the line. Instead, they chose - I assume - to believe that the adult was lying and to keep their place in line. Which is what happens more and more at my school. The parents believe the kid's lies rather than the teacher and enable their child to just continue to make poor choices.
I let that whole episode go and finished my lunch. Took in one of the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies shows (a different group and different show than I usually see), then headed to the Haunted Mansion to see the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. Which was my last attempt to do a ride. The stand-by line went all the way out onto the street - clearly not good for my sore hip to wait another hour for an attraction. I headed back to Pooh Corner to see if there was anything new for DH's Eeyore collection (nope) then headed back to Main Street. I overshopped for myself then found a seat on a bench for the parade (a two-hour wait). The parade was fun. I had originally planned to see the fireworks, but that was another three hours away and the crowds were getting to me so I decided to come home early.
I was grateful that the traffic was not too bad.
Which brings me back around to the Christmas tree. I really do want to finish what has become not a pleasure but a chore so I will end this whining and get to it. Shower first, I think. Maybe once I get the tree done and the room vacuumed I will feel a little Christmas cheer-ier.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Just got back from watching Twilight and thought I'd share my two cents with anyone who hasn't yet 1) seen the movie or 2) read the book.
A couple of weeks ago I saw a paperback edition of Twilight at Costco. I recognized the title as one I've seen being passed from student to student in my classroom, and they've been excited about the movie coming out. So, I decided to pick up the book and check it out. Halfway through Twilight I went to Amazon and ordered the full set.
Only takes about 200 pages to get hooked.
I finished the series and loved it. Pure escapism at its best. A friend calls it "brain crack." At first the story seems a tad disjointed and shallow, but taken as a whole (all four books) it really fills in nicely. Leaves you hoping there will be a fifth and maybe a sixth book.
Anyway, I was impressed with the stills and trailers coming out of the movie so was looking forward to seeing it, which I did tonight. I have to say I was a little disappointed. A reviewer said it well. Today, most book adaptations are well over two hours in length. This book, produced by a young company (which, one assumes, did not have the capital to do this movie to the fullest) needed at least 2.5 hours to show well on the screen. I missed the development of the relationships within the Cullen family as well as between Edward and Bella at school. I also missed the development of the relationship between Bella and Alice.
On the positive side, however, the casting for this movie was dynamite. Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen is worth the ten bucks admission and the future dvd purchase. I like the fuller Charlie character. Billy is a fuller character in the movie, too; credit to Gil Birmingham for making the most of the few seconds he has on the screen. Carlisle (Peter Facinelli) is terrific. (Are these actors well-known or newcomers? I don't go to movies very often and don't recognize anyone except Pattinson from Harry Potter.) Rosalie's antagonism had too much screen time because they didn't really make a point. Emmett didn't get enough time to develop his devil-may-care attitude.
Sounds like they will go ahead with New Moon. Here's one fan who hopes Twilight is successful enough to get the investors to give the producers what they need to really develop the story as it deserves.
For this one, I would suggest going to the movie first. The locations are useful to getting a visual of the book setting. Because the characters are so spot on, having those visuals wouldn't hurt for the reading, either. Then, with the sketchy movie version of the story tucked away, go read the books and immerse yourself in the full story with fingers crossed that they do better with the next installments.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
1. Political show - I would not have survived the Bush administration without Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. Colbert's "The Word" helped, too. But for sheer political eloquence I agree with Jennifer that Keith Olberman must be at the top of the list.
2. Picnic food - Don't do picnics, but have very fond memories of breakfast (bacon and scrambled eggs cooked on the Coleman stove) in the park before going to the zoo.
3. Mixed drink – I don't drink alcohol (never have). Can I count an orange juice, strawberry and banana smoothie?
4. U.S. President – Bill Clinton (although I wouldn't want him for a personal friend).
5. Kind of student to teach – the ones who aren't afraid to let their faces light up when they "get" it (increasingly rare by the eighth grade).
6. Hobby you do or wish you still did - cross stitch and primitive embroidery; quilting; reading. I wish I were retired so I could get back to gardening. I wish I could find someone with a kiln so I could finish up the dozen porcelain dolls for which I have greenware stashed in my closet (my ex-teacher closed her shop when her parents became ill and she never re-opened.
7. Sports commentator – Vin Scully
8. Sport to watch on TV – Dodger baseball. I also enjoyed watching the curling during the 2002 winter Olympics.
9. Animal to have as a pet - I loved our Akita and would have another in a heartbeat. Also enjoy fish. Once upon a time I was into Himalayan and Persian cats and had 14 (did the whole show/breed route for a short time). No better way to decide cats are disgusting creatures. I'd loved them all my life and am still hopeful one will capture my heart again sometime (but don't know if I'll every get over gagging over the spit smell of their fur.)
10. Halloween costume you have worn – The last time I wore a Halloween costume was when I wore a long white robe with hood up to sneak into a concert my kids were playing at a local hotel. I would never do it again, but they were doing an Oingo Boingo cover show and I really wanted to see it without cramping their style.
11. Kind of dessert - If it ain't chocolate, it ain't worth eating. I make a killer mousse.
12. Comic strip - Wow, I haven't read the comics in years. Historically my favorites were Calvin and Hobbes (my younger son was Calvin) and The Far Side.
13. Style or make of footwear - Never got the girl shoe gene. The most comfortable shoes I've ever worn were my Mickey Mouse Crocs and I've worn them out. Great for standing and lecturing all day.
14. Ice cream flavor - Hagen Daz Chocolate Chocolate Chip
15. College or university president – Yeah, I keep up with that for sure.
16. Internet news source – CNN.com
17. Vacation spot - Big Sur in California or Eden, Utah (Eden would be first except that we're hoping to move there permanently so then it wouldn't be our vacation spot, would it?) For mini vacations, Disneyland.
18. Wine – Don't drink wine, but I like foods with dry white wine in them (like fondue or Hunter's Chicken.)
19. Way to waste time instead of working – This would be it.
20. Student excuse for late work – "The printer ran out of ink." My response is usually something like, "You've had three weeks to do this. Why were you printing it at the last minute?" Believe it or not, last year a student tried to turn in a late project (I don't accept late work) on a Friday and I wouldn't take it. Had the damn thing in his hand. The following MONDAY the kid's liar of a father showed up and claimed the reason his son couldn't turn it in on the due date was that their printer had broken down and Dad had to find the one that worked in the garage over the weekend. So, you want to know what's wrong with our schools?
21. Reality show – No such thing. Nothing filmed and shown on television (except MAYBE the news) is reality. I've never watched one and never will.
22. Jewelry on a man – One pierced earring, a simple stud or small hoop. No glitter. Very sexy.
23. Pizza topping – Italian sausage on extra cheese.
24. Children's movie - Disney's Sleeping Beauty. (Although I also love Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, and Toy Story. The new Tinkerbell is pretty adorable, too.)
25. Celebrity you wish would retire - Those Hilton women. I can't figure out why they're celebrities.
Historians believe the Declaration of Independence was written to be performed, not read silently. I hope you'll have the time at some point to enjoy this gift from Norman Lear and his Declare Yourself campaign. If you don't listen to anything else, at least enjoy Morgan Freeman's introduction. (Music by John Williams, too. Doesn't get any better than that.)
Kim introduced me to a new blog to add to my "Stitchers to Visit" site. Marcie has some thoughtful things to say about Thanksgiving and the history or Indian/White relations in our country.
Her comments reminded me of the video I show every year, produced by Norman Lear as part of his "Declare Yourself" campaign and his Declaration of Independence Road Trip. A few years ago, Declare Yourself sent a teaching kit as a gift to teachers, and I have been showing it to every student since. I've probably watched it a hundred times and I still get teary-eyed every time I listen to Morgan Freeman's introduction.
As most of my friends here know, I teach early American history. I originally planned to focus on Indian/White relations, but when I got to the university I had chosen for their fine Native American history program, I learned that the key professor had retired the year before. I switched my focus to Westward Expansion with Dick Oglesby (a move I never regretted). I've continued to study (including an amazing course in Cherokee history by Dr. Julia Coates and the Cherokee Nation). The more I learned about the relations between indians and Americans, the more I understood Native American reluctance to embrace Thanksgiving.
Their reluctance is well-founded. The history of Europeans, then Americans, in relation to the peoples they found here when they arrived is a history of, at best, competition for limited resources and, at worst, betrayal of the worst kind at every level. Martie is right, though, than in some circumstances - usually those in which Europeans/Americans behaved with integrity - very healthy and supportive relationships developed. In the late nineteenth century, after the "end" of the Plains wars and when the American government decided that Sitting Bull was still a threat to be eliminated, some of Sitting Bull's most vocal supporters were his white neighbors.
He was assassinated anyway.
Which is why I am grateful to be reminded, by Marcie's thoughtful Thanksgiving comments, of Morgan Freeman's comments at the beginning of the Declare Yourself video. He says,
It is not for Americans today to feel guilty about our ancestor's treatment of the People, but rather to work to ensure that the atrocities (if not physical, but political) of the past do not continue into the future. I, for one, feel a sense of justice at work when tribes, in SoCA often pushed onto the least productive of lands, have built huge fortunes for their people through the gaming industry. While, granted, some tribes still have work to do to determine how best to help their people with this new income, it is totally inappropriate for the U.S. government to now be looking at ways to - again - tap this indian resource for white people's gain.
So, while I will honor this day of meditation on the many things I have to be thankful for, I will refrain from featuring Pilgrim figurines in my Thanksgiving displays.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Don't get me wrong. I was thrilled to see my son and looking forward to the holidays.
But it was perfect in Utah. No snow yet (a disappointment) but otherwise gorgeous! Temps in the 40s (I'm such a jeans and sweatshirt girl) and QUIET. The construction in the development is finished (at least until the economy turns) and the "resort" element is waiting for ski season so it was just a beautiful, sleepy valley to putter around in.
We stopped at the market on our way to the condo and stocked up on too much junk food (and about a gallon of Cream O' Weber chocolate milk, which would spoil you for all other chocolate milk) then settled in to enjoy the quiet. DH, at my request, put his phones on vibrate (and on a pillow) so that they didn't interrupt the quiet. Not surprisingly (since we'd been up since 3:00 am) we both had a lovely nap in our chairs which got our visit off to the perfect start.
Most of the time we just kept the TV on mute (DH can follow football quite nicely without the inane comments from the sportscasters, thank you). Stitching did occur. And I listened to The Amber Spyglass on audio while I stitched. Little flaw in one of the discs so I missed chapters 27 through 30. I'm hoping what appears to be something smeared on the disc will clean off. If not, I can read the chapters in my hard book. I was also trying to stay awake on the last night to finish the book and kept dozing off during the last couple of chapters so have to "re-read" those in some form or another.
I had finished New Moon (the second in the Twilight series) on the plane up and kept Eclipse next to the bed for nighttime reading. I was proud of my control! I managed to not bring the book up for daytime reading, and finished it on the plane home.
As I said above, there was stitching. And frogging. And re-stitching. And re-frogging. Stich. Frog. Stich. Frog.
I gave up.
My goal on this piece is to finish all the floss, then the metallics. Then I'll block it. I bought a BIG set of Q-snaps - big enough for the entire design. After I block it I'll mount it in the big snaps and do the beading. Then I'll take it to Utah so the Shepherd's Bush framer can frame it for me. Trouble is, somewhere during the couple of years that I've worked on the blue fairy (keep in mind, I only work on this piece in Utah because I'm finding it very difficult to work on the small gauge, dark blue linen and can't do it with the distractions here at home) I dropped a couple of vertical rows. It didn't make much of a difference in the body of the dress, but now that I'm at the border along the bottom of the skirt things aren't working out right. I decided that what I need to do is work the metallics along that border now, then go fill in the rest of that dress. I'll have to make stitch-by-stitch decisions on how much rust, how much blue to work in, but it will be OK. The problem I was having this week is that I don't have a definite line to orient the stitching (since I'm off the chart). Of course, since we were flying and only wanted to bring carry-on luggage, I opted to leave all the non-essentials (like the metallics) at home. Once I made the decision to abandon the blue skirt for now, I moved the piece up and worked on the green fairy's petticoat. Much easier, although the white is pretty boring to work on.
The visit was pretty idyllic. The only negative was that we scratched the rental car.
We'd set off on Sunday afternoon hoping for a late lunch/early dinner out. Our favorite restaurant is closed on Sundays (we don't think they are LDS, but so many families spend their Sundays at family dinner that a lot of the restaurants close), so we went to the next choice. They were closed for a month's vacation (also something that happens during the off season up there). So we ended up just going to the Wingers for a hamburger.
DH decided to take the back route home (up over the North Ogden divide which would have taken us up closer to the snow-capped peaks and always gives us a breath-taking view of the valley. We were turned around on the road up by a very kind policeman ("Sorry, I'll have to turn you around." ) Just minutes before we got there, there had been a horrible car accident. A woman had a suspected "diabetic incident" and drifted to her left, rear-ending a car waiting to make a left turn. The car she hit smashed into the Saturn in front of it (also waiting to turn left), pushing the entire back end of the plastic car into the pilot and co-pilot's seat. When we left for home, the newspaper reported that the 13-year-old girl who had been in the back seat of the Saturn was still in extremely critical condition.
Now turned back to our usual route, we continued up 12th Street. Before we had gone even a mile we saw more flashing lights. There had been another serious accident at the intersection of 12th and Monroe. Not too many emergency vehicles (they were all up at the near-fatality we had just been turned away from) but three vehicles involved. One was a pick-up with oversized tires. It was nose-in at about a 45-degree angle in the roadside ditch but leaning toward its right side. Both tires were off the left side of the car. The missing tires were lying in the road. We haven't figured that one out.
We continued up through the Ogden Canyon and started the left turn over the spillway (which is how you get to Eden unless you want to take a 20-minute detour around the reservoir.)
As you make the left onto the dam, there is a tall wall (we don't know why they built this view-destroying wall there but it's about 8 feet tall) so you can't really see what's waiting on the spillway when you are driving up to it. As DH made the turn and we were just nosing onto the spillway, we looked across the water and saw one of those huge fire department ambulances coming our way and almost to the narrow, two-lane road across the spillway.
Even in our aged, befuddled, vacation-state brains it only took a second to realize that the oversized ambulance and our rented Camry were not both going to fit on that spillway, so DH pulled into the tiny bit of shoulder (about a foot wide and only about three feet long) that was at the entrance to the spillway road. This left the car behind us stuck across the road in front of the rapidly-approaching ambulance. DH inched our car up as far as he could so the other car could pull in out of the way and got 1/64th of an inch too close to the guardrail. Fortunately, the scrape (in the bright red paint) was only on the front fender. It could easily have been all the way along the side of the car. And one of the things we love about Utah is that everyone is pretty hang loose about this kind of stuff. In fact, one of the women who helped us at the Enterprise rental return had been raised in Eden (still lives there) and knew the spillway well.
It will cost us $$$, but to me the worst part of any "accident" is the wondering (and often the guilt) if you could have done anything to prevent it. In this case I truly don't think there was anything DH could have done. It was either a small scrape from the guardrail, or a large scrape from the ambulance.
Oh yes, and the ambulance was not going to either of the accidents we had already seen. He hung a left turn and went back toward Huntsville. As we watched him drive up the road we saw a third accident. In this one a white truck (or maybe a van?) was off the road and headed nose-down toward the reservoir.
It was about 4:30 in the afternoon, so I figure that people had been watching football games and drinking and then headed home. It was weird - almost apocalyptic - to see so many accidents in such a short period and such a short distance from each other. All things considered, we were pretty lucky to have only had that small scrape and no physical injuries.
We sure were happy to get safely tucked in, however.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I know, I'm supposed to have some kind of contest or something. I'm too lazy. Or too burned out. Or something. Maybe for my three-year blogoversary?
I'm still enjoying Meyer's series. I'm about halfway through New Moon. Jacob is about to have a life-changing experience.
Since the movie comes out tomorrow (and I won't get to see it until after Thanksgiving) I thought I'd have some fun with this template. And it is fun. I am so bored with mine and happy to have found this fun site.
Facebook has some entertaining flair related to Twilight. My favorite is,
So, DH and I leave for Utah in the wee hours of Saturday morning (plane leaves LAX a little after 7:00 am.) I have the rest of the Twilight series, the audio (unabridged) of The Amber Spyglass and I still haven't started Brisingr. Also am taking the Firefly Faeries to stitch on. I'm thinking The Amber Spyglass will win out on this trip since I can listen and stitch at the same time (and the headset will block the inevitable football games and DH's cell phone calls.)
We come home Tuesday night.
I wish everyone as nice a weekend as I hope to have and a warm and loving Thanksgiving.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
It's been one of those weekends.
Backstory, Part I: I teach middle school. DH mentors adolescents. I have tried to communicate that, if he must have them at the house, I would appreciate it if he would do so on days and at times I am not here (like every other Saturday) because I really have had enough of dealing with kids during my work week and really don't want to see, hear or SMELL them on my days off.
Backstory, Part II: 27 years ago we installed a carpet in the family room. At my BIL's suggestion I chose the best quality carpet I could find on the best quality padding I could find. I also followed the advice of a friend's husband who was a carpet cleaner and contracted yearly for Serv-Pro to do a "showcase" cleaning of said carpet. (Showcase = shampoo first, then steam with a truck-mounted steam cleaner). I was rewarded with a carpet that looks new every year. I have this done right before Thanksgiving so that when I decorate the house for the holidays it's over a clean carpet. Sadly, the local Serv-Pro was sold to a couple who ditched the shampooer and now only steams. I've been very disappointed in the result for the last three or four years and commented on same to the contractor that did the back bedroom rennovation last spring. Turns out, he has a cousin who does just the kind of cleaning I wanted. So, I had arranged for him to drive up from (gulp) Anaheim (about 70 miles) to clean my carpet this morning at 9:00 am.
Last week DH asked me if I wanted to participate in the anti-h8 march in neighboring Ventura, California. Of course I did! Then he reveals that he's taking one of the teens (a loud, self-absorbed 16-year-old). By Saturday morning it turns out that this simple act (drive up, march, drive back) has evolved into a potentially all-day event involving constant presence of one or more young people. I suggested that I take my own car so that I can come home right after the march and prepare the house for the carpet cleaner the next morning. At this point I learn why I was really invited to the march. Said adolescent may not ride with DH unless there is an adult female chaperone in the car with them at all times. I was stuck. As we prepared for the march we checked out the route and were pleased to note that the parking garage where our car rested was on the way back to the staging area for the march, so we agreed that we would peel off and leave early. Once we reached that spot, though, DH had collected several of his gatherlings along the route and didn't feel he could just up and leave since he had talked them into coming, so I was stuck sitting in the car for over a half-hour waiting for him to finish the march and return to the car. If I'd known this would happen I would have brought a book, but as it was all I could do was sit in the hot car hoping to catch a breeze off the ocean.
He finally arrived (teen in tow) and assumed that I would drive us all home. When I protested he assured me that teenybopper would be pleased to drive.
I had planned to do the prep for the carpet cleaner as soon as I had rested and rehydrated and, indeed, got a little start when the doorbell rang. Little did I know, he had invited these kids to come to our house - all five of them - after the march. They monopolized the bathroom (leaving it rank), smoked outside (at least he honored my demand that they not sit in my brand new recliner if they'd been smoking) and were so loud that even on the other side of the house with the door closed I could hear them, especially the 30-decible cackle of the star of our attention.
Need I mention I was NOT able to do anything in the family room as far as prepping for the carpet cleaner because the room was pretty full of bodies watching a (yawn) football game?
Finally, they all left for a local college game. (Note: DH did not bother to provide dinner for his wife although same had been promised.) This was at about 6:00 PM. I grabbed a piece of peanut butter toast and a glass of milk for dinner and prepared to get to work. First step was to open up the house (guess there is a benefit to a hot Santa Ana condition) to clear out the stinky feet stench.
The phone rang.
It was my older son with wonderful news. His wife's aunt is treating them to a trip back to her home in Japan for Christmas and - more importantly - New Year. I know my DIL has been missing New Year with her family and yet there is no way they can afford such a trip themselves, so I'm thrilled they get to go.
I wept for myself.
After three hours of cleaning and shoving furniture around I was ready for the carpet cleaner. After a shower I went to bed and finished a book I've been reading, then went to sleep before DH got home. I was still so angry, though, that I did not sleep well.
This morning the phone rang at 8:30 AM (my carpet cleaner was scheduled for 9:00). It was the carpet cleaner. He was trapped in Anaheim because all the freeways were closed because of the fire. Sigh. We set up another appointment for Tuesday (a day I had taken off to grade papers).
So, there I was, angry, frustrated and sad when DH came into the family room this morning. When I shared the news about the Japan trip I lost it and he was patting me and trying to be sympathetic. I was pretty direct that this was a "last straw" kind of a thing after yesterday. I really hope I have done a better job of communicating that I do not welcome these kids on my days off, but DH has a real talent for not hearing what he does not want to hear.
I have plans to just vacate the house from now on if they show up.
In the meantime, I decided my attitude was going to take more adjusting than I could manage with willpower alone, so I headed for Trader Joes' for a chocolate run (I try not to have it in the house). I guess I overdid it: frozen chocolate chunk cookie dough, French truffles, chocolate bon bons, a chocolate torte and chocolate ice cream for dessert.
No, I haven't eaten it all. But I felt better for having brought it home to indulge if I wanted to.
The only "upside" of the weekend so far has been reading the book, Twilight. My students (well, the female half, anyway) have been passing the Meyer books around for a few years now and the debut of the movie next week has them all atwitter. While I was shopping at Costco I saw Twilight for cheap (with Robert Pattinson, et. al., on the cover) so I picked it up. It took almost 200 pages for me to really see what the excitement was about but must say I have loved reading this book and have ordered the other three. I think I'll go see the movie (a late show) next week. The trailers look like they've done a pretty good job with it.
I'll have to check to see if DH has teenager plans anytime next week.
Good opportunity to cut out for a movie.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
I liked it a lot.
First, I read a couple of chapters of Eldest before getting out of bed. I re-read Eragon already and hope to finish re-reading Eldest before the 22nd. We're going to Utah for a few days before Thanksgiving and Brisingr is slated for the trip.
Then I got up and put Tinkerbell on the computer for company and entertainment while I folded laundry from week before last. Then I sorted last week's laundry and put a load into the washer. Over the course of the day I managed to wash every dirty piece of fabric that I used over the last week. Unfortunately, this creates a bit of a problem since I don't have enough storage space for all of it when it's clean (especially with my new Obama t-shirt collection) but I managed - somehow - to get it all squeezed in somewhere so it's out of sight.
Then I got started on taking down the Halloween decorations. My goal with this project was to clean out all the plastic totes in which I've stored this stuff for years and reduce the quantity by one full box. It took me a couple of hours but I managed to get everything down, cleaned, sorted and re-packed. I'm giving away several cute pieces that I never put up any more (including the unused brain jello mold that I've had for a decade). Then I put up my small collection of Thanksgiving stuff.
I emptied some storage containers (if the cereal falls into the trash can in one lump, it's finished), washed them and put them away. I cleared off a counter that had had the same collection of flotsam sitting on it since Christmas.
I finally put together the meeting schedule for the Exec Board of the union local for which I'm president (it's been done in pieces before and they were having a hard time with that) and sent it out.
I sorted the last few weeks of mail and pulled the bills to get into the mail tomorrow.
I went to the gym for my 45-minute walk on the treadmill.
When I got home I got cleaned up and DH took DS2 and me to a very nice restaurant for a nice dinner to celebrate Obama's election. During dinner DS2 filled us in on his progress toward applying for grad school at Berkeley. He hopes to get his masters in journalism, something that professors had urged him to do. He takes the GRE next month and will apply for admission spring of 2010. He has enough media classes already that if he takes a few more classes at the community college he should be able to get an AA in Journalism to go along with his BA in Anthropology. After dinner we went to Coldstone Creamery for dessert. Once again, I concluded that they have the worst ice cream in the industry and from now on I will just enjoy the company and pass on the food when we go there.
After we got home I snuggled in for a relaxing evening with my book in my new recliner under my new warm throw. I planned to read several chapters. Instead, I read barely two pages before I was sound asleep.
Stitching happened night before last. I'm doing some embroidery on the sashing on the spring quilt. Once I got some 1/4 inch bias tape sewn down I started twining a vine around it. Not worth sharing a photo yet, but it went better than I'd hoped.
It's nice to feel within the living again. Now I have to write some checks to get those bills in the mail and get ready for work. If I can conquer some of the chaos at school, I should be in better shape from now on.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
I wish I could gloat.
Certainly I, and my fellow liberals, deserve to. For the last eight years, we've been treated like we didn't exist by the current administration. I did celebrate on Tuesday. Cried pretty much nonstop for about three hours.
It was the looks on the faces of the people in Grant Park that kept me blubbering.
This is my favorite photo from that night.
My favorite because Mom's and Dad's faces reflect my feelings.
Don't let me down, Mr. President-Elect. My children are like this daughter in her "change" shirt with her face aglow with trust.
I believe in your message, Obama. And damn it, I expect to see works projects that employ AMERICAN construction workers rebuilding our decaying infrastructure. I expect to see AMERICAN techies designing green energy systems to be manufactured by AMERICAN workers. I expect to see my son and his wife actually get to consider starting a family because you help them get out from under their $900 per month health insurance premiums on one teacher's salary. I expect to sacrifice to help my neighbors who are losing their homes because of medical bills or because one or both of them have lost their jobs, but not so that some stock broker can get an $11,000,000 bonus for a year's work instead of just $1,000,000.
I expect to see American soldiers from Iraq trickling safely back in to the United States AND I expect to see progress toward co-existance in the Middle East.
I expect to see Osama bin Laden on trial for the pain he inflicted on my child who was living and going to school in New York City on September 11, 2001. He still can't talk about the horror.
A CNN international newscaster said that it was amazing but the international reaction to your election was pretty much a wiping away of the negative feelings for the US inflicted by the idiocy of George W. Bush, almost a post 9-11 support for America under our new leader.
Don't let us down, Mr. President-Elect. We recognize that you are up against tremendous challenges. We recognize that the reality of the mess left by your predecessor is that you may not be able to move as quickly as you would have liked toward rebuilding a healthy America.
But I expect to see movement.
Don't let me down.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
And now the work begins for all of us.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
DS1 was the composer/arranger. He played piano, DS2 played drums. The inspiration was their dad singing Streets of Laredo to them instead of Rockabye Baby.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Managed to walk Saturday morning, then go to Costco for a birthday cake for DS2. Cleaned the bathroom because DS1 and DIL were coming for the October birthday bash and DH hadn't cleaned that bathroom in months. Bash was lots of fun. Got home to note that DH had been sick all over the bathroom and had done his usual HA job of cleaning it all up. Happily that was the only down note of the weekend.
Sunday managed to FINALLY move all the files I wanted off the old computer and onto cds (mostly pictures ) so that computer can go to recycling.
Watched the latest Indy movie while I worked. Got my laundry done and walked at the gym again. Finished re-reading Eragon and read several chapters of Eldest in preparation for reading Brisingr.
DS2 has planted a vegetable garden in the back. It's wonderful the way he cleaned everything out and it's fun to watch him enjoy one of my favorite hobbies to much. Plus, his friends are participating, too (they're going to share the harvest, I guess) so I get to see them from time to time, too.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Just before school started, a friend recommended a new gym in town. I checked it out and by the end of that day had signed up the family. It's been a little over six weeks and I'm already seeing progress. On the scale, I've lost about 12 pounds, but because I'm walking 45 minutes, five days a week on the treadmill (and building those large muscles) I'm guessing I've lost more fat than that. Judging by the way my clothes are fitting, I'm guessing closer to 18 pounds, maybe more.
Don't really care.
I'm really watching the heartrate improvement and am thrilled.
Another friend lost a LOT of weight (went from my size to normal) last year. She was telling me that she didn't feel any different. I've been there. You lose a buncha weight (my biggest loss was 72 pounds) but you don't feel any different. So I told her we need to keep lists of things that are now that weren't before (for her it was being able to climb stairs without pain in her knees). So, that's what the new list is in my sidebar. When I notice I can do something now that I couldn't before, I'm going to post it over there where I can remind myself that there are changes.
Chocolate season is here (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter). I'm hoping this will help me endure.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I've been researching my family history for over 25 years now and can find no Puritan ancestors, so how in the world I inherited my Puritan work ethic I don't know. What a drag! Work before fun, which means I can't put out my Halloween decorations until I've cleaned the house.
How stupid is that?
So, I got out my goodies and just cleaned the areas they dress.
How FUN is that?
Anyway, this is a quilt I pieced by hand over the course of three years (or was it four?) of vacations at my parents trailer at Bass Lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains, about an hour from Yosemite. Those were great times! For the first few years I spent a lot of time down at the pool and clubhouse supervising the boys, but they eventually got into that age where they could be free to roam and hang without me. Mom and I would sequester ourselves in the trailer with a view of the pines through the windows and handwork in hand. Years passed and the boys grew out of the lake and into their own affairs, but Mom and I try every couple of years to go up to the mountains for a week or so. Haven't made it there in the last couple of years (took her to see her sister year before last, then to Utah with me last summer). Maybe we'll get there next summer. There are some great quilt shops on the way up, and an unbelievable gift shop in Oakhurst on the way up, too.
Guess we better plan that.
We had our "crop" day yesterday. Mom, sis and I spend the day over our scrapbooking, but it's really just an excuse to gab. I think I did only one thing - added the year to an already completed page. But, I got some stuff sorted out. I've been working for a couple of years on some Disneyland scrapbooks. One of them (using Creative Memories' vintage Mickey book) has all the Disneyland pictures I could get my hands on from 1955-2005 and ends with all the visits we did to celebrate The Happiest Homecoming celebration of the 50th anniversary of the park. My parents took us there at least once a year starting in 1955, and DH and I tried to keep the tradition going with our kids (although we couldn't always afford once a year). The folks weren't really into photography, although I was able to find a whole roll of pictures from that first visit.
Yes, we used to dress up to go to Disneyland. They still have a dress code, but certainly you don't have to dress up anymore.
This is my favorite picture from one of our early trips with our boys.
Of course, it soon became very apparent that one book was not going to be big enough for all of my pictures, especially since I fell in love with the place all over again during the Homecoming. I've already filled another book that starts in 2006. And during the homecoming I bought one of the souvenir scrapbooks and am filling it with all my pictures of Homecoming "stuff." Icons, souvenirs, events, and the Parade of Dreams.
Mom and sis are plotting an intervention for me about this parade. I can't stop taking pictures of it. I redid the pages in the Homecoming album several times because every time I'd declare it "done," I'd go back to the park and get better pictures. Now it's become a joke. In fact, I finished another spread in the newest album that included two pages of POD pictures (labeled, "again") and I told sis that the next spread is going to be titled, "Oh, look! A parade! " It makes me very sad that it's only planned to run for another year or so. After that, I will have to go to Disney World to see it.
Not much other news. Sis has been working part time for a construction company for a while and they've decided to hire her full time. She has mixed feelings about that. DS1 is having a much nicer year this year. Instead of a 4/5 combo he is teaching second grade and says "They're pretty adorable." DS2 is still thrashing. He got more hours this week but was discouraged to learn that the post office is facing the same economic fallout as the rest of the country and may be looking at layoffs.
Santa Ana winds are arriving. Thank goodness they seem to be cold winds. When they're hot they're even more miserable. Keeping fingers crossed the new fences hold (they all blew down in the winds this time last year.)
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Saturday, October 04, 2008
All the politics is becoming tiresome.
Really, though, I haven't picked up a needle since school started. Because something new has been added in my life.
I joined a gym.
In fact, I signed up DH and DS2 as well. I haven't had my "program" appointment yet. This fitness center is owned by and attached to the clinic owned by one of our town's most respected physical therapists. They offer a "deal" where I can have an appointment with a PT who will design a fitness program based on my physical needs and concerns.
Like my fragile knees. And sore hip.
Since the end of August all I do is show up and walk on the treadmill for 45 minutes. Slower to slow for the first 15 minutes, then 20 minutes at a cardio target rate, then 10 minutes to cool down a little. I've managed to get there five times a week most weeks. I plug in my headset and watch CNN. Unless I can't stand whoever is on, then I have my CD player as back-up.
I've lost a little weight (a little over 10 pounds) but more importantly I've watched my heartrate drop. When I started this I was getting resting rates in the high 80s. Last weekend I was relaxing in bed reading on a Sunday morning and got a rate of 59! Usually, though, my resting rates are in the high 60s and low 70s, which are dang respectable.
In other news, my life is taken up with work and union meetings.
And fighting depression.
Like many Americans, I've had to watch my dream of relocating to Utah shatter because of the economy. The only good news is that I have a job that may be secure (although the Governator is threatening to hold back my paycheck as blackmail of our legislature as they 'negotiate' a budget) and can continue to make the payments on the property we own there. But, by the time the economy improves enough to sell the condo and the house here in SoCA, DH will be in his late 70s and probably won't be able to move.
I hate this.
So, not much fun around here. I'm trying to rearrange the extra room (again) to carve out a place to sew and a place for my son's keyboard. One of the regrets of my life is that I never learned to play an instrument (the only person in my family who did not, although I raised two gifted musicians of my own). Anyway, DS1 is going to give me monthly lessons and I get to use one of his keyboards to practice.
If I can figure out where to put it.
I already bought music to shoot for. The last time I was at Disneyland I bought a book of easy piano music and chose "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story II as a 'goal' piece. I also bought a more difficult book and someday would like to be able to play "Little April Showers" from Bambi. I've always had a mental block, though, when I've tried to learn an instrument, so expect a real struggle. Fortunately, my son knows me very well and is an incredibly good teacher (and kind man).
Tomorrow I hope to put out some Halloween decorations. I'll show you my Halloween quilt then, OK? That's kinda stitchy.
Sure hope it starts cooling off soon so I can get back to this project.
...for thousands of young college graduates who can't find jobs that will support them?
...for 750,000 Americans who have lost their jobs this year and may lose their homes (with traditional, fixed-rate, 10% down mortgages) this year alone?
...for millions of Americans who have seen their jobs outsourced to foreign countries?
...for thousands of small businesses who had to close because WalMart brought cheap Chinese crap into their communities?
By Paul Krugman / New York Times
Unbelievable. Sarah Palin finished her closing remarks by quoting Ronald Reagan:
It was Ronald Reagan who said that freedom is always just one generation away from extinction. We don’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream; we have to fight for it and protect it, and then hand it to them so that they shall do the same, or we’re going to find ourselves spending our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children about a time in America, back in the day, when men and women were free.
When did he say this? It was on a recording he made for Operation Coffeecup — a campaign organized by the American Medical Association to block the passage of Medicare. Doctors’ wives were supposed to organize coffee klatches for patients, where they would play the Reagan recording, which declared that Medicare would lead us to totalitarianism.
You couldn’t make this stuff up.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
As I watch my sitemeter it appears I've driven away some of my conservative blog friends but I just can't stop posting this stuff. Here's the latest with an introduction from an email. The friend who sent it to me is good about checking Snopes for confirmation or denial. I have to assume the narrative is "real"; hard to deny the pictures.
[The] Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was to be held outside on the lawn in front of the Loussac Library in midtown Anchorage. Home made signs were encouraged, and the idea was to make a statement that Sarah Palin does not speak for all Alaska women, or men. I had no idea what to expect.
The rally was organized by a small group of women, talking over coffee. It made me wonder what other things have started with small groups of women talking over coffee. It's probably an impressive list. These women hatched the plan, printed up flyers, posted them around town, and sent notices to local media outlets. One of those media outlets was KBYR radio, home of Eddie Burke, a long-time uber-conservative Anchorage talk show host. Turns out that Eddie Burke not only announced the rally, but called the people who planned to attend the rally 'a bunch of socialist baby-killing maggots,' and read the home phone numbers of the organizers aloud over the air, urging listeners to call and tell them what they thought. The women, of course, received some nasty, harassing and threatening messages.
I felt a bit apprehensive. I'd been disappointed before by the turnout at other rallies. Basically, in Anchorage, if you can get 25 people to show up at an event, it's a success. So, I thought to myself, if we can actually get 100 people there that aren't sent by Eddie Burke, we'll be doing good. A real statement will have been made. I confess, I still had a mental image of 15 demonstrators surrounded by hundreds of menacing 'socialist baby-killing maggot' haters.
It's a good thing I wasn't tailgating when I saw the crowd in front of the library or I would have ended up in somebody's trunk. When I got there, about 20 minutes early, the line of sign wavers stretched the full length of the library grounds, along the edge of the road, 6 or 7 people deep! I could hardly find a place to park. I nabbed one of the last spots in the library lot, and as I got out of the car and started walking, people seemed to join in from every direction, carrying signs.
Never, have I seen anything like it in my 17 and a half years living in Anchorage. The organizers had someone walk the rally with a counter, and they clicked off well over 1400 people (not including the 90 counter-demonstrators). This was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state. I was absolutely stunned. The second most amazing thing is how many people honked and gave the thumbs up as they drove by. And even those that didn't honk looked wide-eyed and awe-struck at the huge crowd that was growing by the minute. This just doesn't happen here.
Then, the infamous Eddie Burke showed up. He tried to talk to the media, and was instantly surrounded by a group of 20 people who started shouting O-BA-MA so loud he couldn't be heard. Then passing cars started honking in a rhythmic pattern of 3, like the Obama chant, while the crowd cheered, hooted and waved their signs high.
So, if you've been doing the math… Yes. The Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was significantly bigger than Palin's rally that got all the national media coverage! So take heart, sit back, and enjoy the photo gallery. Feel free to spread the pictures around to anyone who needs to know that Sarah Palin most definitely does not speak for all Alaskans. The citizens of Alaska, who know her best, have things to say.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
I've loved Randy Newman's work since I read his name on the jacket of the soundtrack for The Natural. He's done a lot of beloved music (like "You've Got a Friend in Me" from his Toy Story track. So I picked up Harps and Angels while on vacation. First time I'd heard this one. Amen.
Friday, September 19, 2008
I had looked forward for three years to retiring last June. We listed our condo in Utah for sale two years ago this November. We had hoped to start construction on our retirement home last April. We had dreamed of moving into that home next month.
We're not moving anywhere, maybe ever.
I'm still working, probably until I'm 75.
I'm working so that we can continue to squeeze out payments on the condo that won't sell and property taxes on the property we can't build on.
Here's why I'm confused. Conservatives say big government is bad; regulation - especially of financial institutions is bad. It was OK with them for families to be sold homes they couldn't afford so that CEOs could reap bonuses in the tens of millions of dollars.
And then, when the inevitable doo-doo hit the fan and those unaffordable mortgages collapsed and then, also inevitably, the financial institutions that loaned that money and gave those obscene bonuses in the first place collapsed,
THEY ALL COME RUNNING TO THE GOVERNMENT TO BAIL THEM OUT?!?!?!?
So now I, who am working into my retirement to pay my bills, will also be paying more taxes (wait a minute, don't Republicans promise tax CUTS?) to bail out the same financial institutions that clamored for no government regulations.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
If you're a minority and you're selected for a job over more qualified candidates, you're a "token hire."
If you're a conservative and you're selected for a job over more qualified candidates, you're a "game changer."
Black teen pregnancies? A "crisis."
White teen pregnancies? A "blessed event."
If you grow up in
Grow up in
If you name your kid Barack, you're "unpatriotic."
Name your kid Track, you're "colorful."
If you're a Democrat and you make a VP pick without fully vetting the individual, you're "reckless."
A Republican who doesn't fully vet is a "maverick."
If you spend three years as a community organizer growing your organization from a staff of 1 to a staff of 13 and your budget from $70,000 to $400,000, then become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new African-American voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, then spend nearly eight more years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, becoming chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, then spend four years in the United States Senate representing a state of nearly 13 million people, sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you are woefully inexperienced.
If you spend four years on the city council and six years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, then spend 20 months as the governor of a state with 650,000 people, then you've got the most executive experience of anyone on either ticket, are the Commander in Chief of the Alaska military and are well qualified to lead the nation should you be called upon to do so because your state is the closest state to Russia.
If you are a popular Democratic male candidate, you are an "arrogant celebrity."
If you are a popular Republican female candidate, you are "energizing the base."
If you are a younger male candidate who thinks for himself and makes his own decisions, you are "presumptuous."
If you are an older male candidate who makes last-minute decisions you refuse to explain, you are a "shoot from the hip" maverick.
If you manage a multi-million dollar nationwide campaign, you are an "empty suit."
If you go to a South Side Chicago church, your beliefs are "extremist."
If you believe in creationism and don't believe global warming is man-made, you are "strongly principled."
If you cheated on your disfigured wife and left her to marry a rich young heiress, you're a Christian.
If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years and are raising two beautiful daughters, you're "risky."
If you're a black single mother of four who waits for 22 hours after her water breaks to seek medical attention, you're an irresponsible parent, endangering the life of your unborn child.
If you're a white married mother of four who waits 22 hours after her water breaks to seek medical attention, you're spunky.
If you kill an endangered species, you're an excellent hunter.
If you have an abortion, you're a murderer
If you teach abstinence only in sex education, you get teen parents.
If you teach responsible age-appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you're eroding the fiber of society.