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

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Things that Make Me Happy

I've started a couple of posts in the last couple of weeks, but my whining makes me depressed so I'm not going to post them.

So tiresome.

Instead, I'll post a few things that have made me happy recently, in no particular order.

I took myself off to the last showing of the new Star Trek movie Wednesday night and I loved it!

I remember gathering with the family for our weekly Star Trek tv series viewings when I was in high school and this movie hit just the right combination of nostalgia and entertainment for me. I got such a kick out of watching these youngsters show me just exactly what those original crewmen (and women) were like when they were just starting out.

The only thing that "missed" for me was McCoy's accent - where is that Georgia accent? Such a small thing, though, and Chekov more than made up for it. I got such a kick out of the little references to the old series ("Fencing.")

I enjoyed it so much that I took DS2 to an imax showing of it on Thursday night and enjoyed it even more. The digital experience was well worth the extra $6 on the ticket. I went to the 10:00 pm showing both nights (because I hate putting out any amount of money to listen to middle school kids talking in the back of the theater - something I hear 180 days every year - or to little kids whine for food, drink, bathroom or boredom). Interestingly, that two hour escape seems to have been more recuperative than straight sleep. Both mornings after I awoke more refreshed after 5.5 hours sleep than I usually am after seven or eight hours.

The Dodger dog is such a sweetheart. He is loving and smart, although he is into his "terrible twos" in doggie years and keeping us on our toes. He's so sneaky it's funny. He knows there are things he is not allowed to chew on, so he carries one of his toys over to the thing he wants to chew and pretends that he is chewing on his toy when he is really chewing on the piece that is not allowed. This picture was taken when he had met bubbles for the first time. [I just heard, "Off! Off!" coming from the family room. Apparently another first - he just got up onto the coffee table. Sigh.]

I've been managing to spend some time in the garden, if not every day, certainly every other day. This is the sweet pea bed. I planted seed this spring, but it didn't germinate. I've had good luck growing them as long as I order fresh seed (not the stuff in the nurseries), soak it for 24 hours, score it, plant it deep in well-composted soil and plant in OCTOBER, not March. None of my nursery-purchased seed came up, but yesterday I found these lovely seedlings at a local nursery so for $4.18 I got a jumpstart.

This is my "Cecile Brunner" climbing rose. I bought it three years ago and for a year it lived in a pot. I finally managed to get it in the ground and it was adapting pretty well when the winds blew down the fence behind it. After a few months we had a fence company out to replace the fence and they pulled her over and tied her down out of the way, breaking the stake in the process. I was too busy to repair the damage until this past spring break. I made a new support, but to get her back up straight I had to strip her leaves (she's well armed) It was exciting to see her leafing out again this week.

Last year I planted a hydrangea in the corner behind this urn fountain. I didn't really expect it to survive since that corner gets full sun most of the afternoon. This year when I checked back there I noticed lots of weeds and bare sticks where the hydrangea had been. I spent a few weeks deciding what to try next and decided on a snowball bush. Today I got back there and pulled weeds to plant the bush and - lo and behold - the hydrangea had leafed out and even had a small flower on it. I ended up moving the hydrangea over where it will get more water, then planting the snowball behind the fountain as planned.

Jury duty.

Yeah, I know. Go figure.

When I found out I had been assigned duty on the County Criminal Grand Jury I went into shock. And, indeed, it has been a tremendous challenge to juggle my Monday and Friday jury schedule with my teaching duties. But I've pulled it together. And I have to say, this has been a fantastic experience.

As a teacher of the Constitution, I'm learning a lot that will improve my teaching of the Bill of Rights. As Grand Jurors, we are treated with much more respect than I receive as teacher (from students, their parents and even my superiors). Our activities are scheduled by the District Attorney's office and many of the witnesses we hear are law enforcement officers. I am happy to say that I am developing renewed respect for our justice system in our county (and am convinced that our country would be better off if the Law and Order series - in all its forms - were banned).

I will be on this jury until July 31 and regret missing one of my Utah trips, but in the long run I think I will look back on this experience with pride. I definitely feel that I am contributing to my country in a way that I never have before.

The promise of summer.

I can smell it, it's so close.

I've already warned my family that, with my jury service over July 31, I will be in the car and on my way to Utah August 1. Don't know if anyone will be with me or if I will have to bring Dodger with me or what, but I am out of here and in Eden (really! That's the name of the town) for almost three weeks. Quiet. Reading. Quiet. Cross stitch. Quiet. Embroidery. Quiet. Friends. Quiet. Shopping.

And quiet. I crave it, and it doesn't exist here.

I will be working on this piece, which I reserve for my Utah visits because I get too distracted here at home and make too many mistakes.

I've actually finished more than is shown here. The floss work is finished on the blue and orange fairies, and the petticoat is finished on the green one. I think I should have all the floss work done on this piece by the time I leave Utah. Then I will block it and mount it on a Q-snap frame for the metallics and beadwork. My goal is to have it finished in time to take it to Utah in June of next year. I will leave it for framing with the Shepherd's Bush framer, then pick it up when I return in August.

I'm also planning to work on the Bunny Hill applique BOM. I've traced all the pattern pieces onto freezer paper and am going to try a technique for needle turning where you put the piece on the RIGHT side of the fabric and needle turn following the edge. I was delighted to find that I have enough of this fabric

to do this BOM. I think I will use the stripe (actually, it's not that dark) as the background. I will supplement with other lines but if I keep the baskets themselves in this line I think it will be stunning.

Finally, and most importantly, my kids seem to be OK, and that makes me happy. DS1 is benefiting from being in a charter school as he seems to have escaped the layoffs in the LAUSD (knock on wood). DS2 is going back to school starting with a summer school biology class. It's good to see him so excited.

Things are not good for California teachers (I'm expecting to lose at least ten days' pay next year) but if my kids can hang in there, I can hang in there, too. 27 teachers lost their jobs in my district last week. If our six initiatives don't pass next week, we will probably lose 30 more. I feel lucky to have a job, even if we have to tighten our belts for a while.

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