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

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bright Eyes


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Can't stop reading...

...about the inauguration.

This from the Washington Post:

Obama laid his hand on the burgundy-velvet-covered Bible that Abraham Lincoln used for his inauguration in 1861, and history again trembled. The chief justice that day was Marylander Roger B. Taney, who wrote the Dred Scott decision that said blacks could never be citizens. The Constitution, he said, recognized blacks as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations.

"History again trembled." What a great phrase. I teach about Taney and Dred Scott every year, but I did not put together until I read this that Taney was the Chief Justice that had sworn in Abraham Lincoln.

I also teach every year -when I teach the articles of the Constitution and the oath of office- that the President-Elect may choose whatever he (or she, someday) wishes to swear on when they take the oath. I did hear yesterday that Obama's swearing in was the first time Lincoln's Bible had been used since Lincoln used it himself.

I want to know from whom that truly brilliant idea came.

Back to the Grind

Monday: MLK Holiday (cleaning, laundry, gym and genealogy)

Tuesday: Inauguration Day television in class, emergency budget meeting with Superintendent, watch inaugural balls (favorite was the Youth Ball, although I'm sorry I missed the Neighborhood Ball.)

Wednesday: Tecumseh lecture, union Exec meeting

Thursday: War of 1812 lecture, emergency budget workshop 5-7

Friday: War of 1812 symbols lecture (White House, National Anthem, Uncle Sam) and FINALLY get back to the gym.

Saturday: cleaning, laundry and DEFINITELY back to the gym.

Sunday: DH leaves for two weeks in Utah. Scrapbooking with Mom and Sis, niece's birthday party in the late afternoon and evening. Very special houseguest arrives for a week's visit.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I have a President.

Some favorite images.

Pete Seeger leading us in "This Land is Your Land." Yes, I was singing along to the live feed on my computer. Wasn't he fabulous! 89 years old and thrilled to be where he was. And his grandson, Tao, sounded just like, well, Pete Seeger.

I admit that I don't really keep up much with current music and country was never my favorite (although I own a number of albums because I fell in love with a song here and there). But I became an instant fan of Garth Brooks, especially with his song, "We Shall Be Free."

This ain't comin from no prophet,
Just an ordinary man,
When I close my eyes I see,
The way this world shall be,
When we all walk hand in hand,

When the last child cries for a crust of bread,
When the last man dies for just words that he said,
When there's shelter over the poorest head,
We shall be free,

When the last thing we notice is the color of skin,
And the first thing we look for is the beauty within,
When the skies and the oceans are clean again,
Then we shall be free,

We shall be free,
We shall be free,
So stand straight,
Walk proud,
'Cause we shall be free,

When we're free to love anyone we choose,
When this worlds big enough for all different views,
When we're all free to worship from our own kind of pew,
Then we shall be free,

We shall be free,
We shall be free,
Have a little faith,
Hold out,
'Cause we shall be free,

And when money talks for the very last time,
And nobody walks a step behind,
When there's only one race and that's mankind,
Then we shall be free,

We shall be free,
Listen to what I'm saying to you,
We shall be free,
Cause every night and day I pray it's true,
We shall be free,

We shall be free,
We shall be free,
Stand straight,
Have a little faith,
Walk proud,
Hold out,

We shall be free,
Listen to what I'm sayin' to you,
We shall be free,
Every night and day I pray it's true,
We shall be free,

Turns out, it's a hard song to find. I'm really hoping they put out an album from this concert.

The Mounties saluting President Obama from the steps of the Canadian Embassy as his motorcade passed.

The President and First Lady (yes!) leaving their car to walk the parade route with big, happy smiles mirroring the big, happy smiles on the faces of the Americans along the route. I admit to being almost as happy to have the spectacular Michelle Obama in my life as Barack.

President Obama flashing the "hang loose" sign to the Punahou High School band as they marched past.

No explanation needed here.

President Barack Obama 2009 Inauguration and Address

I have a President!

Monday, January 19, 2009

From MLK to Today

Sunday, January 18, 2009

This is Your Land

I weep.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

In celebration.

I'll be weeping for joy for the next few days.

It started today as I watched the Obamas and Bidens cruise to Washington on a train.

As I watched faces aglow at every stop.

I remembered this Disney song and decided to pull a post together. I don't know how to put music to my blog, but someone did a youtube using the song which I've posted below if you want to hear the music that goes with the lyrics.

America, spread your golden wings
Sail on freedom's wind across the sky.
Great bird, with your golden dreams,
Flying high, flying high.


Restless one in a world of change,
Keeping dreams aloft in the rain.
Spirit free, soaring through the clouds
of time, of time.

America, you must keep dreaming now
Dreaming the promised vow of your pioneers
America, keep on flying now.
Keep your spirit free.
Facing new frontiers.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

John F. Kennedy, Inaugural address, January 20, 196135th president of US 1961-1963 (1917 - 1963)

I have a dream this afternoon that the brotherhood of man will become a reality in this day, with this faith….

Rev. Martin Luther King, Address at march on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 28 August 1963, Washington D.C.

"Forty feet, down two and a half "
"Kicking up some dust"
"Four forward"
"Four forward"
"Drifting to the right a little"
"Contact light?"
"Okay engine stop...”
"We copy you down Eagle".
”Tranquility Base here.

The Eagle has landed".

America, spread your golden wings
Sail on freedom's wind across the sky.
Great bird with your golden dreams,
Flying high, flying high,
flying high!
Keep on flying high!

Golden Dream is a song used in The American Adventure at Epcot's World Showcase and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln at Disneyland.

Golden Dream - A Tribute

Barack Obama's train trip today got me to thinking about this song. I don't know how to put music in my blog, and don't like this video too much, but if you want to you can read the lyrics while you listen to the song.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bloggers are so cool!

I just did hand-to-hand combat with a broken lamp. Actually, it was the extension cord that was pfffttt (burn marks on the plug; not good). The battle involved a lot of crawling, sniffling, moving underbed boxes, sniffling, testing, getting up and down from the floor a dozen times (not easy when you need to lose about a hundred pounds) and nose blowing.

Oh, yeah, we won't mention the swearing.

Anyway, I got sweaty and dusty and irritated (don't you know I'm sick, stupid cord?) so, having achieved a victory I decided I'd earned a break. I sat down to read blogs, which is a pleasure. Jace is always good for a cheer-me-up and he didn't let me down, although I'm somewhat irritated that he passed on his cold (MO to CA. Viruses can travel that far, right?) Visiting MaryKathryn is like getting a hug; unfortunately, she has new cross-stitch goodies to temp. I will be strong. Linda's not quite up to speed yet and Missy must still be busy with the baby, but Stitcher S has posted some post-holiday updates, Nancy is quilting again and Sam has gone nuts with her knitting (whooo hooo, girl.) Chiloe hasn't updated yet (she's probably in the clink after her neighbor's dog pooped in front of her new home.)

And then the magic happened. I looked up and noticed I have a new follower. I'm so flattered that anyone would want to check in on my ramblings enough to be a follower. And, best of all, it's someone I haven't met yet. So Greenmare, thank you for visiting me in the stitchery. I had to pop over to your blog immediately and read away and found another kindred spirit. (I hope you don't mind if I read back through your archives!)

And by the way, if you really are engaged in a diet challenge, I'll join you! Let me know how to sign up!

Ugh. Wind.

My third blogoversary came and went without comment. That's OK. An anniversary should be an opportunity for eloquence which is way beyond me recently.

The Santa Anas are blowing. I don't really mind the wind sometimes. We had a number of cold, wet, windy days before winter break that were really kind of fun in weatherless SoCA. But Santa Ana winds are nasty, full of positive ions that make the hair stand on end and all sorts of bitchiness emerge. The "PoliceOPs" website (now, THERE is an interesting read) warns that "Hormonal reactions to increased positive ions in the air (Full Moon Effect) cause hyperactivity, depression, violent behavior, road rage, higher occurrences of migraines and asthma. Even bees are known to sting without provocation on higher postive ion ratios."

Yep. That about covers it.

It doesn't help that I seem to have come down with a cold. When I headed for my folks yesterday I thought it was some kind of reaction to all the garbage flying around in the wind because I never had the sore throat, just the stuffy nose. Same today. Spring has come - sort of - so it could be something sending out pollen already. My violets are blooming which is usually a sign that winter is on its way out. Nevertheless, I had a hard time sleeping and breathing at the same time last night so am feeling pretty draggy.

I had a nice day with my mom and sister yesterday for our monthly scrapbook crop. I'm closing in on finishing the Disneyland books. There are three (well, now four). I started with the Creative Memories retro Mickey album. I gathered up all the Disneyland pictures I could get my hands on to document our trips starting when the park opened

and going through the 50th anniversary "Happiest Homecoming" celebration.

During the 50th I bought the scrapbook they were selling at Disneyland and as I built the historical overview book, realized that I had a LOT of pictures of the fun things that Disney did during the 50th - enough to fill a scrapbook on their own - so divided the pictures up, using the Disneyland souvenir album just for the 50th stuff.

Once that year was over, though (and it was obvious that I was going to fill that first album to overflowing) I used another red album for the trips since the Happiest Homecoming ended (sometime in 2006; they kind of dragged it on past the July 17, 2006 end date because we were all enjoying it so much). That album filled up kind of quickly, so I just bought the new Disney album from Creative Memories to keep the fun going.

Yeah, I'm rambling.

So, yesterday I got it down to the last couple of trips worth of pictures. I have another project I'm anxious to get working on so am kind of pushing these along now. It's nice to watch those project boxes empty (although I really haven't figured out where to store these albums.)

I did a little bit of stitching last week, but not enough to take a picture of. SoCA people are kind of weird. Because it doesn't get REALLY cold here, we tend not to run our heaters. (Most of us really suffer when we travel to the east coast because they keep the buildings too warm for us). Anyway, here at my house most mornings we don't even turn the heat on in the mornings, and by the afternoon the sun has been shining on the house all day and it's tolerable in the evening. Our family room isn't heated at all (except by the fireplace when we care to build a fire) and most of the time we're comfortable with lap robes in the evenings.

But last week was so cold here that the house never warmed up during the day and the evenings were pretty cold in that unheated room. Cold enough that I couldn't really stitch much, my hands were so cold. Had to keep them under the blanket, then went to bed early.

Like most of the country, I'm watching the economy disintegrate before my eyes and worrying about the outcome. My husband's pension seems safe (at the moment) and my teaching job should be secure, although California teachers are anticipating the end of our class size reduction funding which, in my district, will mean the loss of 17-50 teaching positions and layoffs up into year-five tenured teachers. Our state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jack O'Connell, threw out last week that the state is running out of cash and may have to pay teachers with IOUs at the end of February. Actually, what the governor suggested was paying state income tax refunds with IOUs, but the way things are going, we just can't predict what's coming. I'm most worried about my son and his wife. She has not been able to find a job in the three years they've been married and they are both living on his year-two teacher's salary in the Los Angeles Unified School District. LAUSD has just announced they might have to start laying off "probationary" teachers (which are year-one and -two teachers) if the governor's proposed budget goes into effect. Now, DS1 teaches in an inner city charter school, which may mean he has some protection, so I'm not panicking, but it doesn't stop the worries from sneaking in here and there.

I feel sorry for my mom and dad. I get the impression that their income is secure enough; last night Dad assured me that any of us who lose our income during these times are welcome to come live with them. I had to think a while about what this is like for them. Dad was born in 1925 and Mom in 1932. So, for both of them, their earliest memories are of living during the Great Depression. Now it looks like their last memories will be of another great depression. Doesn't seem fair, somehow.

Finally, I need to get a vent off my chest this morning. I just read this story about an ancient lobster that was "liberated" from a saltwater tank at a Massachusetts restaurant - after PETA raised a stink - and returned to the sea "to allow this noble old-timer to live out his days in freedom and peace."
Ten bucks George becomes a big dinner for a family of five that pulls him up, says, "Wow, that's a big one!" and throws him in a pot without another thought. I think PETA needs to 1) accept that animals do not perceive their "imprisonment" as humans might and 2) focus their energy on getting humans to stop neglecting and abusing their household pets.

Monday, January 05, 2009

What do Pierce Brosnan and George Clooney have in common with my son?

Bell's Palsy.

Amy Goodman and Ambassador Joe Wilson had it.

And now my beautiful baby boy (all 6'5" of him) has Bell's Palsy. Something has mysteriously caused the nerve bundle that controls the muscles on the right side of this face to swell, smashing it (the bundle of nerves) into the sides of the little hole in the skull through which it arrives from the brain. The result is that the right side of his face is paralyzed. The good news is that his eyelid seems to be recovering somewhat and he can keep his eye lubricated. He is having some eating challenges that will get very old if this continues too long (some cases take as long as a year for full recovery. The fact that his eyelid is already better is very good news

He's being a remarkably good sport about it.

I told him that in Twilight, Bella goes on and on about Edward's crooked smile so he is in fashion with his.

He didn't think that was very funny.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Welcome Autumn

I was able to find an ebay seller selling the magazine for which I asked for help in the post below. Fingers crossed this is a good seller (100% positive should be good, right?)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

2009 - MY year!

I LOVE this template!

This is so ME. So the secret me. The one who, if I did not live in a house full of males, would have a house full of pink-flowered chintz and ruffles and sweet peas.

Christmas has come, gone and left a trail. Everyone seemed to enjoy a fairly mellow day. We had to laugh. At 4:00 am Christmas morning I was on my way out of the bathroom when I ran into DH on his way in, and DS2 was making his way down the hallway, just coming in from watching movies at a friend's house. Major gridlock in the hallway! I figured we wouldn't see DS2, then, until Christmas afternoon, but he was up at 8:00 or so, ready to open presents. About 2:00 the rest of my family started to arrive, with dinner at about 3:25. It all came together perfectly, if I do say so myself. After dinner were more presents, then a "chocolate themed" dessert.

I had spent the five days of winter break before Christmas cleaning (with a few hours here and there for final shopping) so the house is in pretty good shape for the after-break. I really want to start school on Monday the 5th with my room cleaned and the house in decent order. The tree and other decorations will come down slowly (goal is always to have it all down by Valentine's Day) but I'm not touching that tree until I have a sane storage solution for it.

My good intentions pretty well flew the coop for the first three days after Christmas, however, thanks to my Christmas present. DH and DS2 gave me an ipod nano 4g (with 8 gig memory) and I've spent three days syncing a lifetime's collection of music over. Yeah, I know the CD wasn't widely available until the early 1980s and I've been collecting music a lot longer than that, but believe it or not (and I'm having a hard time believing it myself) I've been able to gather up most of the older music I remember on CDs. Gotta love the concept of "greatest hits." I'm still looking for a few really old songs from the 1960s but I'll track them down eventually. I've used about 7 of my 8 gigs and managed to transfer Matt Harding's "Dancing 2008" so now when I need a little pick-me-up I have it.

My blogoversary is in a few days (no, no contest planned) and I took the opportunity to go back through the archives and reflect a little. I have to admit, it was rather depressing. I really don't want to let this year go by and have accomplished so little - again. I decided to start by choosing just a couple of pieces to determine to finish this year. In cross stitch, I think I'll go for this one:

There's not that much to do. Leaves, seed pods and snow on the branch, a cluster of green leaves behind the bird (you can see the start of one) and snowflakes throughout. And the "reward" is a brightly-colored striped stocking hanging from the branch. I have to decide how to finish it. I have some pretty Christmas fabrics with "glitter" that might work up into a pretty pillow, but pillows get thrashed around here so I might just frame it.

I've also packed up (into a tote) my embroidery blocks for the Winter Wonderland quilt by Crabapple Hill. I've done a couple of blocks already.

I will have to sit through lots of meetings for the rest of the year (many of them boring as hell) so want to have some handwork to help keep me awake.

I also have to put together a small kit to have in my purse all the time. I find myself sitting around waiting rooms a lot lately and it drives me nuts. I appreciate that my doctors are willing to give their patients all the time they need, but since I have to take late afternoon appointments they are usually 45 minutes to an hour behind schedule by the time it's my turn. If I always have a little kit with me, I can pull it out for fabric therapy to keep me calm.

Of course, this means I have to buy a new purse, too.

I think I will also pull a couple of incomplete projects to try to finish: The foundation pieced wallhanging I've been working on for three years, now, is at the top of that list. The problem has been lack of a place to work, but I think I've just about got that problem handled. I also have a small quilt that is ready for hand quilting (in fact, I've already started) that is haunting me. I talk myself out of working on it because I've nowhere to put it when it's done, but I think this is one incomplete project that is crippling me so I need to finish it.

I'd also like to get confident about freehand machine quilting and embroidery this year. I have a couple of panels that I could work on to practice (I took a class and - other than having to fight my Pfaff Lemon - did fairly well so I think I just need practice).

Most of my resolutions, though, revolve around getting the yard under control and keeping the house presentable (although it's a long way from being a house to enjoy living in; we're going to have to wait until the economy picks up again and we can unload the "investment" properties before we have any money to fix this place up.)

One thing that has to happen is that this house has to be put into some kind of shape where it's easier to maintain. Toward that goal, I've been sorting and flinging and packing things to donate away. It's a time-consuming process but I do feel a little better. I have a couple of boxes of books to give away Monday (which freed space for the flotsam books that have cluttering the table spaces.) I've also been wading through the stacks of papers that have made it impossible to keep my work area functional. Managed to log some family history stuff into the computer, and all the little slips of paper with people's names and phone numbers are gone (and the information in the computer, too.) I'm going to Michael's today for some 12 x 12 project boxes which will finish up my room. I have two pictures to be framed (have frames and mat board in the family room to finish them up this afternoon).

I'm still dealing with the same "down in the dumps" feelings that I had last time, although things are getting better. It's so unlike me to not be able to rally myself that I started looking for physical explanations and, in that quest, read through the side effects of the blood pressure medication my cardiologist doubled for me just about the time I started feeling so sad all the time. Turns out depression is a side effect of this drug. I'll be talking to him about this on Thursday when I have my follow-up appointment.

I think that 2009 will be another challenging year. I wish I could face it with my usual optimism, but whether it's the meds I take or just being beaten down by circumstances a little too long, the best I can do at this point is commit to "one day at a time" with a goal of accepting what I cannot change.

I do HOPE more for all of us, however!

I need a favor. This is called "Autumn Welcome" and is a Teresa Wentzler piece that appeared in the 1989 Just CrossStitch. I would really love to do this piece but, alas... Does anybody have a source for old (really old) issues? Or do you know if it appeared in a book at a later date? Any clues how to track it down would be welcomed!