Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Be sure to perform your civic duty

The 7th Annual Weblog Award nominees have been announced, so go vote!

More VB for the B-day Girl

Well, girl is hardly a word you would use when talking about my mother.
She turned 75 yesterday.
Last year I hosted, well planned (and paid for) a surprise birthday party with all the cousins, aunts and my one remaining uncle.
This year I just had her over for dinner.
And I bought her a Vera Bradley bag.
Let it be known that this is one craze I am not entering into.
But I figured my mother would love to have one as a status symbol kind of thing.

It is, however, a retiring color, so we are a bit out of style, but honestly, who cares!
And she was pretty thrilled to get it.
Well I thought she was.
I'll see how many comments I get from the ladies around town who know my mother (and know that she talks incessantly) - that will be the true test.
Now, if I were to buy a Vera Bradley bag this is what I would like for myself, something simple and classic:

But for $79 I think I'd rather have something in leather.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sometimes there's God so quickly

No, this post is not about religion.
Nor will it be an homage to Tennessee Williams.
It is about the small things
This morning as I was pulling into my mother's driveway in order to drop off DN2 a Boz Scaggs song came on the radio.
It was "Lido Shuffle" and I used to have that album (probably still do, up in my attic).
I had to get the pouty girl out of the car and into my mother's house so by the time I came back out the song was over.
Because I haven't heard it in ages.
So I begin my drive to work and start flipping through the stations rather quickly because I really hate to listen to people talk in the morning, especially on the radio.
I found a station where a good song was finishing and then the next song started.
Do you know what it was?
"Lido Shuffle" by Boz Scaggs.
So to quote Blanche DuBois, "Sometimes there's God so quickly."

Monday, January 29, 2007

Can I get a refund for time wasted?

Last night while trying to struggle through a chapter of Thomas Carlyle's text On Heroes, Hero Worship, and the Heroic in History, I turned on the tv.
After flipping through channels I realized that The Soup was on E, so I watched it.
Now that is a good show, it makes me laugh and keeps me as up-to-date as I need to be with regards to other television shows.
But then I made the big mistake.
I kept it on E after The Soup ended.
Intrigued, I decided to stay and watch High Maintenance 90210.
Are these shows for real?
Are people really this selfish, vacuous and downright stupid? Not to mention afflicted with drinking problems?
It was like watching a train wreck, problem is you don't know how much is real and how much is scripted.
And no, I don't think I'll be watching it again, but I would like to have that 1/2 hour back in order to do something productive, like watch Weird Al videos.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Irrelevant Question #532

Why is it that I can barely drag my lazy butt out of bed on mornings when I have to go to work, but on a non-workday I'm up at 5:37?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Lake Effect

I shouldn't have complained about the temperature yesterday.
After I posted that it was 15 degrees, the temperature started to fall.
By the time I left work (at 4:05 Jean and Sheri!) it was 10, and then when I went to PetSmart it was 4, and that is where we're holding this morning.
4 degrees Fahrenheit.
I don't even want to think what it is for Celsius because when it involves a negative number it's best just not to think about it at all.
And we're getting the lake effect from both lakes this morning. Yikes.
Actually this is not true, I just watched the news, it's only from Lake Ontario, but the wind chill factor is -8. We are expecting about 3 inches of snow today and a couple more this weekend. Remind me again why I wanted to move back here!?!
Some joker on the tv's Wake Up show this morning played Journey's song "Wheel in the Sky."
For those unfamiliar with the lyrics it begins, "Winter is here, again, oh Lord..."
I finally got some knitting done last night because the best thing to do in my big, drafty, hugely expensive home to heat is to sit in bed and watch tv and knit. Or read. Whatever floats your boat.
So last night I busted out my mitten I've been working on.
Have you ever committed a large amount of time to a project and think, (1) this doesn't look much like the picture, and (2), perhaps I should have swatched?
Well, perhaps I should have, because it just seems to me the space where the thumb hole is going to be shouldn't be located up at the base of my index finger. Hmmm.
Am I going to rip it out?
Oh no, I'll see it through.
The cuff may reach to my elbow just so I can make them fit but I'll keep on plugging along because I'm stupid that way.
Stay warm!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

15 Degrees and holding

Not much going on around here.
It is 15 degrees outside with more snow in the forecast.
So evenings are spent hibernating, with lots of reading being done.
I finished Shane, it was lovely, and now I'm reading The Princess Bride.
If you've only seen the movie - which is great - go get the book - it is definitely a classic.
And in honor of the snow, I leave you with pictures from 1911 when Niagara Falls froze.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Large Amounts of People

I went to class last night half expecting a small, intimate group of people, specifically six other grad students, and I found that the undergrad and grad classes had been combined.
When I got to the room I thought, "This can't be my class, this room with this large amount of people," but indeed it was.
Seeing as there are about thirty undergrads, added to the seven grad students this makes for a very full classroom.
But it was a good time.
And we went around and introduced ourselves and said what our favorite toy was from childhood.
So who got to go first with the introductions?
The fat, old lady by the door.
For those of you not keeping track, that would be me.
After I said who I was and what my major was (non-matric grad student and here for fun!), I cleared my throat and said, "My favorite toy from childhood, which is obviously much farther back than anyone else in the room..."
And it's true.
I am the old lady in the class, and it's kind of funny.
Because the professor is talking about when she played with Ninja Turtles.
And I'm thinking, okay, while you were playing with them, I was buying them for my kids.
But really it was all good, and we have some assignments to do on the internet in addition to our discussions in class. I'm used to internet learning, which is how I finished my undergrad and grad degrees.
I'm already working my way through all the required texts before thinking about what I want to write about.
Reading Shane now and I must see the movie because I never have, believe it or not, only the clip where the boy yells, "Shane, come back! Come back Shane!"
For the record, that is not in the text, I looked for it already.
Again, another first for me - working ahead.
It should be a good semester.
As long as I can stay organized.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Long Mondays

First off, thank you all for your thoughts on whether I should take a class or not.
I would have to think that my mind had already been made up for me as soon as I saw the book list.
In other words, yes, I signed up for it.
And here is my rationale:

I will not be changing jobs in the middle of the semester like I did last semester.

My hours at my current job are shorter than in my previous one (although it's a lower position, right Sheri and Jean?)

My commute to work is 4 minutes vice 30.

My commute from home to classroom is 1 1/2 blocks.

I will not be in charge of Girl Scout cookie sales this semester.

I am already organized for the semester and thinking ahead to what paper I'll write (15 pages) and what picture book I'll discuss in class (30 minute presentation) at the end of the semester.

And as my friend Rick advised me, take classes in the winter months and save the summers for the family.

That's farther than I was last semester at this time. I used to leave work at 5:00 or just prior and zoom home only to zoom to class. So Caroline, your words of advice were certainly appreciated and spot on, but I ended up deciding to register anyway.
Well, because as Laura put it so succinctly, I'm a learning junkie. If I'm not in a class I feel as if I'll be missing out. Plus, I don't have to pay for anything but the books and I got those on Friday for $50. Now that's a nice price to pay for textbooks you have to admit.
Anyway I've read the syllabus already and for the first week we have to read some passages from Plato, John Locke and some others regarding the importance of education for children. And I've already read Plato and Locke for my other master's program, so we're old friends.
So I'm set.
Wish me luck - class starts tonight and goes from 6:00-9:15 so it's going to be a long Monday.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Genetics is a funny thing

My brother T called me yesterday.
There he is on the left-hand side of the picture.
Oh and look, there's DH back there pretending he knows how to grill.
Anyway, he had just finished talking with my mother and as he claims to be the favorite one he didn't want to sully his standing in our mother's eyes by having to ask her (1) how old she is going to be, and (2) the actual date of her birthday.
He's close, because he's shooting within the general vicinity, but he's like many men - he just can't remember.
Unless it has to do with the date of a particular football game.
So he calls me to get the info.
About the birthday, not football.
He can pretend to be the favorite all he wants, but I'm the only girl and that alone earns many more cool points.
And also allows me to inherit our great-grandmother's china and crystal.
Well, and her fat ass too but that's a different story.
So we got to talking and he had said he read my blog awhile ago.
He also admitted that he can't remember how to get back to it.
Now he and I have not lived in the same house in over 25 years.
He moved out West (the real West, not just Western NY State) in 1980 or 1981 - I can't remember exactly.
We really have only seen each other a few times since then - like maybe three or so.
It's not that we don't like each other, it's just that I was out allowing the government to pay for me to live abroad in exchange for giving them my body and soul 24/7.
I tell you this because it is important to my story, essentially to set up the fact that although we may have grown up together we really have not been around each other much in our adult years.
Although at the age of 43 I still bear the scar on my pinky finger where he ran over it with his ice skate when I was 8, not to mention the numerous mental scars to my psyche concerning the existence of vampires and werewolves.
Well he read the post in my blog about six weird things and he told me that he too likes his eggs hot, hot, hot. We continued to talk and found out that we share many similarities when it comes to the consumption of food, beyond the fact that we both like to eat it.
But he eats his food one item at a time as well, vegetables first, always, unless of course it is a meal with french fries, then they come first.
So I thought it was kind of cool to find out that I am not the only strange one in the family.
Genetics is indeed a very funny thing.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

J'en connais

I've been thinking about this for over a month.
I don't know what started it, but something did.
And because I am an inveterate listmaker, I felt compelled to compile this one, so here it is.

The 10 Songs I Never Get Tired of Hearing

1. "Down by the River"
Neil Young

2. "Hole Hearted"

3. "Solisbury Hill"
Peter Gabriel

4. "Black"
Pearl Jam

5. "Yes, Anastasia"
Tori Amos

6. "Gloria"
Laura Branigan

7. "Don't Shed a Tear"
Paul Carrack

8. "Hear You Me"
Jimmy Eat World

9. "Windy"
The Association

10. "Northern Lights"

Honorable Mention:


"Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)"

"Ballad of Sir Alexander"
Zach Nelson

Don't consider this a Meme, but I would be interested to see what others have on their list. That is if you've ever given it any thought.
No pressure now.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Today is the last day to register for classes without incurring a late registration fee.
This is important because I haven't yet registered for a class.
And I swore I wasn't going to.
But then I looked at the books for a particular class, namely Children's Literature.
They're studying Peter Pan, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Treasure Island, The Princess Bride, and four other books.
Since I'm still in a non-matriculated status, I can only take three classes before I apply for the Master's program and I've already completed one. And since I've been taking classes non-stop since September 2003 I know that I really need a break for many reasons, namely to get my house organized and spend time with the family.
Oh, and knit!
However, I really like to take classes and Learn! and I feel as if I'll be missing out if I don't take a class. And truthfully I do have this grand delusion that someday I'll be working on a PhD, because who doesn't want to be a secretary working on a PhD?
Anyway, I thought the answer would come to me in a dream as to whether or not I should register.
It didn't.
I asked DN2 if she minded if I took another class on Monday nights and at first she said no, then after I asked her about ten more times she said, "go ahead and take it because you'll just keep asking me until I say yes."
Jaded at eight.
Sounds like a new after-dinner mint.
Here it is 6AM and I can't decide whether to take it or not.
This is going to be a long day.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ice Storms

This is a horrorific video of cars sliding on the street in Portland.
But check it out anyway.

Funny books and bottle deposits

When we went to the museum on Sunday they had library books all over the place. So while DN2 worked on a craft I read to her from a book that was close by. For the record, I love places that push reading.
I found a great book with some poems that made me laugh, and the pictures were great too!
Here in New York, and in some other states, we have to pay a 5 cent deposit on all bottles and cans of anything with carbonation (this includes Red Bull). So this poem caught my eye and really cracked me up:

Poor Dad

A witch mean and bad
Imprisoned poor Dad
In a bottle of pop in the closet.

We couldn't free Dad
And were sad when we had
To return him for the nickel deposit.

It's from a book called Timothy Tunny Swallowed a Bunny by Bill Grossman.
And tomorrow is Friday!
Yee haw!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New blogger, old friend

If you get a moment, head on over to my friend Laura's blog.
She is just starting out (as in yesterday was her first post), but I love her dearly and hope you give her as much support as I will.
Let me tell you a bit about her.
We bonded over angel food cake.
We were stationed in London and our paths never really crossed, but I talked with her husband everyday at work and DN1 was in the same kindergarten class as her son W. We lived in Northwood and I think they lived in Slough, as in the city where The Office is set, but I'll let Laura tell you about that (and she can correct me if I'm wrong).
So we finally had a command picnic in May just prior to our packing up the command and moving it over to Germany. At the picnic Laura and I struck up a conversation with each other, and as we talked we picked at an angel food cake that someone had brought.
By the time we were done talking there was nothing left to the cake, but as you know, food and drink are among the best things in life and when you share them with someone you truly like, well life is good.
Just not so good for anyone who wanted a piece of that cake.
When we moved to Germany their apartment was across the Strasse from ours and we became very good friends.
We have even vacationed together!
And for me, or anyone else, vacationing with someone and still being willing to do it again is a great testament to how well our families get along.
So I'll be checking Laura's blog and encouraging her to achieve her goals.
And she's learning how to knit too!
You go, girl.

I know what I did this past weekend

How about you?
Other than my day of sloth on Monday we actually had a fun-filled weekend.
On Saturday we went ice skating and had a good time. Well, crappy rental skates (no toe pick and plastic boots - can you say foot pain?), but good enough that we are actually considering buying some skates and going more often. I grew up ice skating, but not at a rink, we went down to the pond and skated around and away from the edges where the frozen cattails were. Now people put helmuts on their kids' heads and knee pads. Man, times are changing.
Anyway, on Sunday we headed out to the Strong National Museum of Play.
What an amazing place.
I wish that I were 8 again, because there was so much to do there!
You could work in a post office, see the butterfly garden, sit in the cockpit of an airplane, walk through Adventures in Reading and see where the troll was from the Three Billy Goats Gruff (I have a thing for trolls, even took my picture with him).
It was fantastic.
They even had a Wegmans supermarket there where the kids could go and shop for items and then ring them up.

Once you've done your grocery shopping and you can scan it yourself. Well the kids can. If the adults want to do it, they can go apply for a job at the store.

You can even print up a receipt to take with you. It's actually pretty cool. Great marketing for the supermarket, I say as a jaded consumer, but fun for the kids.
There were craft tables all over the museum.
And you didn't have to worry about the mess!
Now that's what I call fun!

Even DH got into the act, working on some boondoggle with DN2.
The second floor had all sorts of toys that you could look at, but you could play at the table with the Tiddlywinks and Lincoln Logs if you so desired.
I ended up buying a family pass for the year - much cheaper than just paying each time. And it is a great place.
So, you can see why I earned a well-deserved day of sloth on Monday - I was playing all weekend.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ride a White Horse

The title has nothing to do with the post, other than it's snowing, and I was listening to Goldfrapp on the way in to work.
We're in the middle of a snowstorm.
It's amazing.
I didn't go anywhere yesterday, and finally at about 7:15 pm I went to clean off my car.
The ice was so thick I had to run it for 20 minutes just to get to the point where we could scrape it.
And then the side doors wouldn't open.
So this morning everything is frozen again, and the doors, which I still couldn't get open, are kind of open but not.
Which means the lights in my car keep flashing on and off, and the doors keep locking because the door is open, but then it's closed, but then it's open.
It is crazy.
Fortunately it is still frozen, so the doors are not flying open as we drive along.
Even still, the weather stripping ripped off the driver's door, because it has been stuck to the metal!
I walked out yesterday to take the dog out, and I could hear the clatter of the tree branches as the wind knocked them about. Everything is covered with ice, and we have plenty of snow.
So you know what I did yesterday in the midst of this icestorm that turned into a snowstorm?
If you guessed "not a damn thing other than watching movies and knitting" then you are the one million dollar winner for today!
And yes, this is what the tree branches in my backyard look like, minus the bird.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Big News on the Football Front

I'm sure many have heard this story.
What I would like to know is what happened to the salary cap for MLS?
I'm anxious to see how this will pan out -- will more Americans suddenly begin watching and playing soccer?
I have to tell you, where I'm from (which is where I am now) soccer was always a popular sport.
And this cracks me up.
"David is truly the only individual that can build the 'bridge' between soccer in America and the rest of the world."

Pele built a bridge.
Don't get me wrong, Beckham is a brilliant player, but he's no Pele.
Especially if he turns to Tom Cruise for advice.

Well we got past hump day

And we finally have some snow here.
It's great!
About 2 inches fell the night before last, but I've heard rumors that it is going to rain this weekend.
Soon, soon, we'll get some more snow.
That which fell in October can't be all that we get for this winter, and we didn't even get hit as hard as Buffalo.
On the health news front, my friend Sheri's husband, Charles, is recovering quite well from his surgery and is currently cancer-free. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.
Don't you hate days that take you away from home, especially when all you want to do is sit home and read, watch tv, and knit.
Dang it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Concerts with girls

For many months (since September actually) I've thought about writing about the phenomenon called "High School Musical." For those without younger children who stay glued to the Disney Channel(s) 24/7, or for those who don't frequent Limited Two, this may be a new thing.

Rather than provide you with a synopsis of the movie you can check it out via IMDB, much easier. DN2 fell in love with both the movie and the soundtrack, and because she is 8, she of course thinks that Zac Efron who plays the lead is extremely cute.

More background information. When DN1 was 8 I took her to her first concert. It was important to me that we do this mother-daughter bonding thing, and especially at a concert that was pro-female and a positive experience. So we saw Tori Amos (Under the Pink tour). And then 2 years later we saw Tori again (Boys for Pele tour). DN2 knows about this, and she also knows that her sister is a veteran concert-goer (ask DN1 how many times she has seen Thirty Seconds to Mars). Anyway, DN2 has been dying to go see a concert. So at the last minute, literally the morning of the show, I bought tickets.

Because they were last-minute tickets DN2 didn't know, so when I came home from work she was in her bed, crying, saying that half the kids on her bus were going to see High School Musical and she really wanted to go (in 2nd grade math "half the kids" really equals 2, but we won't quibble). So when I told her that we were going too she was so excited she didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was cute.

We got to the concert where there was a mob of mothers and daughters, some fathers, and even an emo kid or two. When the concert actually started, DN2 was so excited she was crying. Here are my girls waiting for the show:

I did get DN1 to take the earbuds out and put down the cell - no texting during the concert! And here it comes:

It was a good show and everyone enjoyed it. Even I liked it, though it did feel like a 2 1/2 hour Disney commercial. Unfortunately Zac Efron wasn't there since he is up in Toronto filming Hairspray, but Drew Seeley did a good job as the male lead. And if I were a more involved parent I could tell you the names of the characters, but the only high school basketball show I watch is The White Shadow because that is the 70s time warp I am stuck in.

And I will give props to Disney for buying their female stars some AMAZING shoes.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Why, oh why, won't she enable me?

All I made was one simple request of Kat.
Well let me preface my story by reminding you that I am participating in Wendy's idea that we knit from our stash in 2007.
And I've also been checking out the sale at The Scottish Lamb's place and she's got some nice things for sale.
But you know I won't buy anything because I've vowed to knit from my stash.
And I have been!
I've completed two scarves (simple enough), a hat, and some mittens for DN2.
Not much, but for me any FO is better than a UFO, right?
So I said to Kat today, "Hey, you know, The Scottish Lamb has got some really pretty yarn over there and I bet you could decide to buy some and send it to me as a gift. Perhaps later on you might remember that I owe you $20, plus shipping and handling, and I could reimburse you."
You know what she said?
Some people are just not good at enabling others.

Sorry, I was busy in talks with Hollywood

No posting over the weekend.
I was sick, lame, and lazy.
And of course, I was in a movie.
DH rented a movie on Saturday called The Game of Their Lives. It's about the 1950 World Cup game (this is soccer, folks), where the U.S. beat the Brits in the first round (thus setting the bar for future World Cup competition where the US wins in the first round but doesn't get much farther).
The film opened and the announcer says, "Welcome to the RFK stadium and the 2004 Sierra Mist MLS All Star game," or something along those lines. I looked at DH and said, "Hey, we were there."
You know I love watching my soccer games (and players) and we had some seriously good seats at this game.
Well sure enough, DN1 comes home from the Redneck part of NYS (the Southern Tier) and watches the movie and spies us in the crowd!
So rent the movie and watch it because it's soccer, not just because you might see me.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

What I Am

I saw this on Blithering Knitot's blog and thought I'd play along.
I think this one is a little more true to life than the "Which Flower Are You" quiz because I am so not social and bubbly, people!

You are The Hermit

Prudence, Caution, Deliberation.

The Hermit points to all things hidden, such as knowledge and inspiration,hidden enemies. The illumination is from within, and retirement from participation in current events.

The Hermit is a card of introspection, analysis and, well, virginity. You do not desire to socialize; the card indicates, instead, a desire for peace and solitude. You prefer to take the time to think, organize, ruminate, take stock. There may be feelings of frustration and discontent but these feelings eventually lead to enlightenment, illumination, clarity.

The Hermit represents a wise, inspirational person, friend, teacher, therapist. This a person who can shine a light on things that were previously mysterious and confusing.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Oh, and I have four kids, so part of this is not true either, unless we're talking about a metaphorical virginity.
And if this is true, how come I can't get paid to be a hermit, eh?
What's up with that?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Prayers go out to my friend Sheri and her husband Charles.
I don't want to violate HIPAA regulations, but suffice it to say that I am thinking of them both.
And just so you know, Sheri, I'll be substitute teaching Sunday School in two weeks - apparently I'm getting in good with God and I may have a direct connection so I'll let the big guy know.