Wednesday, June 29, 2011

things that make you go 'uh-oh!'

Cardo was just trying to send me into a mini-panic earlier by asking me when I was going to find out how much it would cost to fix my teeth, which implies that I have to actually go to the dentist several times and have my teeth worked on. I've never had nice teeth and I've never really enjoyed (or felt indifferent about) dentist office visits.

So, here I was, flossing my teeth for the second or third time today and I'm pretty sure I just yanked a piece of my tooth out. I'm afraid to look at it in the mirror.

Oy with the poodles already!

a little look at language

I went to a movie today. In an actual theatre. A first-run movie.

So, anyhow, there was a nice long stretch of trailers before the film started and a great many of them had a little disclaimer pointing out that "The following preview has been approved for appropriate audiences." Well, thanks for the incredibly vague notice. Perhaps it's a guessing game: Whoever figures out who the "appropriate audience" is wins!

Anyhow, the rest of the outing was cut short, but will be picked up again in a few days.

Monday, June 27, 2011

musical monday: go the whole wide world

"Whole Wide World - Wreckless Eric"

One of my favorite cinematic gestures is when Harold gives Ana (or, Ms Pascal, as he calls her), a baker, a dozen flours. Love it!

a reality show i would watch

I saw the following on Mrs Q's Fed Up With Lunch: The School Lunch Project [I'm figuring it's okay to repost in full because it isn't her own writing, but something that had been floating around the interweb...I'm including the link to her site because I still feel I should give credit.]

Next Season on Survivor...
Have you heard about the next planned Survivor show?

Three businessmen and three businesswomen will be dropped in an elementary school classroom for one school year. Each business person will be provided with a copy of his/her school district's curriculum, and a class of 25 students, no aide.

Each class will have a minimum of five learning-disabled children, three with A.D.H.D., one gifted child, and two who speak limited English. Three students will be labeled with severe behavior problems.

Each business person must complete lesson plans at least three days in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives and modify, organize, or create their materials accordingly. They will be required to teach students, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct homework, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, and arrange parent conferences. They must also stand in their doorway between class changes to monitor the hallways.

In addition, they will complete fire drills, tornado drills, and the drills for shooting attacks each month. They must attend workshops, faculty meetings, and attend curriculum development meetings. They must also tutor students who are behind and strive to get their non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the tests. If they are sick or having a bad day, they must not let it show.

Each day they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies into the program. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment to motivate students at all times. If all students do not wish to cooperate, work, or learn, the teacher will be held responsible.

Lunch will be limited to twenty minutes, which is not counted as part of the work day. The business people will be permitted to use a student restroom, as long as another survival candidate can supervise their class.
If the copier is operable, they may make copies of necessary materials before, or after, school. However, they cannot surpass their monthly limit of copies. The business people must continually advance their education, at their expense, and on their own time.

The winner of this Season of Survivor will be allowed to return to their old job.

Pass this to your friends who think teaching is easy, and to the ones that know it is hard...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

let me direct your attention elsewhere

This cartoon about paper margins, font size, superfluous language and last-minute paper-writing makes me laugh.

And, yes, I do know when the margins are over an inch. ;)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

solstice-morning baking

So, what to do on solstice morning, when I was up around six and had a wee guest in the house? Among other things (deep clean the cat pan, wash dishes, take out the recyclables, sweep, put away some books and puzzles), I did this:

Moosewood's Vegan Chocolate Cake, which is super simple to make and wonderfully moist and nice with a bit of powdered sugar sifted on top.

(And, can I now say that every time I sift powdered sugar onto a dessert, I think of that scene in Flowers in the Attic (movie version) when the grandmother is sifting rat poison (or something) onto the cookies before serving them to her grandchildren? Yes. Also, at one point, my mom stopped letting me watch that movie because I was so freaked out by the mother and grandmother in that family. For me, there was that same idea of people stopping to stare at a car accident.)

Anyhow...Happy Summer, all!

Friday, June 24, 2011

screens and sleep, not the best of friends

We've been spending much less time in front of screens lately, especially in the evening. (In fact, I'm about to be signing off here shortly.) This has made getting to sleep at night somewhat easier, but it has made it much more difficult for me to visit this space. Especially because when I do enter the ether, I want to check out other people's blogs before I start working on my own.

So, I'll be slowly working on how to work visiting into this space into my daily rhythm. I am thinking that will mean much more writing by hand and transcribing (or whatever the typing equivalent of that is) later. For now, I'll be sharing little bits here and there, although I have a lot of thoughts for longer posts mulling in my head.


A bit of conversation from the other night:

I was telling Pic that the backs of my knees hurt (reason: sunburn...ouch). She told me, "My legs hurt, too. It hurts my craps."

I asked her, ignoring that I had no idea what "it" was, "Your what?"

"My craps."



Insert my thoughtful pause here. Pic points at her leg and asks, "What are these?"

"Oh! Your calves!"

Never a dull moment.

in this moment: treasure-making

{concept from the fabulous SouleMama: a picture that represents the week}

Monday, June 20, 2011

musical monday: in a funk and out again (i hope)

For whatever reason, I have been in a deep, deep funk today. Pic and I spent the day in the same condo, but we didn't really spend any time together. I know that she needs much more than nearness from me, but I was on complete disconnect. I did manage to get a few things accomplished -- including making oatmeal with her this morning -- but it didn't seem to matter. Today is definitely one of those days where I have to remind myself that I'll (eventually) sleep and wake to a kind of new start tomorrow.

So, anyhow, tonight, after Cardo got home, we went to the pool for about forty-five minutes. We came home to clean up and dry off and then we set out again. We walked for about an hour. Although we brought the wagon along, Pic chose to walk part of the hour. She tucked her tiny hand in mine and we walked in the darkening evening. I started singing this song to her, because why not embrace cliche sometimes?

"The Beatles - I Want To Hold Your Hand"

Happy end of Monday. Here's to Tuesday!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

the great (continual) purge

We are, as always, working on giving away some of the many, many possessions we have. We really do have entirely too much stuff. I notice that when we are more stressed, we buy more (which then leads to more stress and...hello, downward spiral). So, we're slowly starting to dig ourselves out of the last ten months' worth of stress.

I have been ever-so-slowly working on my own project (a.k.a. The Office That Threatens To Swallow Us Whole). I also worked with Pic on clearing out her room. I always think that she won't want to give anything away, that she'd rather be overwhelmed by all the stuff she has, but I forget (again and again) that she's not me. She's not me now and she's not me when I was a child.

She has given away bags and bags and a box of things she no longer has use for. We also gave four bags of clothes to our dearly beloved friends.

I'm not sure that I'm the most helpful helper, though, as I kept wanting to ask her, "Are you sure you want to give this away?" I can't count the times I had to check myself before I blurted that out. Geez. But we got through it and we can see her floor and we realized that she really had a lot less than we had thought, it's just that it was all out where we could see it (at least the top layer).

Among the stuff that I've cleared out:

* five years' worth of paperwork (okay, so I shredded that and stuck it in the garage for the compost bins)

* the crock pot (the one I used twice in two years)

* some other kitchen gadget -- I never even knew what it was (never used in over a decade)

* three pans, two mugs and a travel mug (no partridges, no pear trees)

* a jacket Cardo bought for me over a year ago and which I never wore

To go?:

* about nine hundred more pounds of paperwork (Me vs The Paperwork: The Eternal Battle)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

crumble, as promised

So, we are down to the dregs of the crumble. Really, there wouldn't be any left if it were up to me. I was trying to be fair and leave a piece for Cardo, but he's letting it go to waste! (Actually, I think we can safely say that he let it go to waste, already.)

I made this crumble exactly once last year, no matter that it's just incredibly simple and tasty. Last year, I made it according to the recipe, with cherry and apricot. This time, we only had nectarines, peaches and apricots. And, we were lucky to have these thanks to the fabulous generosity of our dearly beloved Auntie C.

Pic actually stuck with me for the entire making of this.

Why yes, the small one does use sharp knives.

Sliced, sugared and floured.

Meanwhile, as the crumble bakes...Pic takes over the camera. So, what's going on in the living room?

A little Dolly...

...with some dollies. (Actually, Pic is very specific with her labels and she does not call plush non-humans "dollies.")

As Pic had the camera, I asked her to snap a quick shot of the crumble. And, a quick shot she took. (You've got to capture that crumble before it scampers away!)

One pan for us and one pan for Auntie C, Uncle A and Baby H.

All plated up and ready for me to eat. So wonderfully tasty: the fruit a bit tart and the topping nice and crunchy and sweet, but definitely not too sweet. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner and/or dessert.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

don't call me, i'll call you...

...or, y'know, not.

I suppose that I should eventually mention the current phone fun around these parts. As I said previously, my cell recently gave up on me*. I tried a new battery but the transplant was unsuccessful**. I went about two-and-a-half weeks without a cell (not a big deal for me). I now have a new (very similar) phone to replace the one that stuck with me for almost/about five years (I can't remember exactly).

Pretty much as soon as I got a new working phone, our home phone went haywire. We bought it at Goodwill a while back to replace the phone that Cardo brought to our shared home. It's cordless with a built-in answering machine in the base. We can no longer use the controls on the base to play our messages. This would be okay because we can listen to the messages with the handset.

Except...when we listen to the messages on the handset, they play super quickly. The message-leavers don't sound like chipmunks, just like they're talking super-fast.

So, the plan is for me to eventually find our old answering machine and connect it to the new (corded) Goodwill phone we picked up last week. It's been probably about five weeks since our phone has been doing this.

Cardo's cell is working well [knock on wood], and, around these parts, that's what really matters.


* It's oh-so-easy to revert to cliché. Here, I wanted to say "gave up the ghost."

** And, here, I wanted to say, "but no dice."

Monday, June 13, 2011

accentuate the positive

(I've been thinking about a lot of topics for a long time and have procrastinated posting them. This is one of them.)

All too often I let myself wallow in the deep darkness. I focus on all the things I haven't accomplished, all the ways in which I don't measure up to my impossibly high standards for myself. I've been thinking for a good long time that I need to change this and see how it affects me. I'd rather focus on all that I do accomplish day-to-day, even if most everything I accomplish isn't really all that much (and, really, all that we will ever do amounts to less-than-bittiness in the whole cosmic scheme, no?). I'd also like to focus on the little bits of life that bring me moments of joy.

So, at least for this first post, I'd like to go in a few different directions:

Inspiration for this sort of thing abounds in my real life and here on the interweb.

When I was in high school, I had a book called 10,000 Things To Be Happy About. (Actually, I believe I still have the book. I even think I might know where it is.) Shortly after that, I got a day-to-day calendar based on the book. The calendar listed five things that made the author happy for each day. I started my own little happiness list in my journal. I'm not sure why, but I stopped that practice years ago.

As for websites:

* Poke's Five Happy Thoughts

* Tara's Inspiration Monday posts (in which she posts things that inspire joy and thought)

* pretty much anything that Amanda posts, but I'm especially thinking her 10 Things posts

* really a lot more than this, but my connection here is a bit tenuous (my computer is trying to exit the highway), so I'll move on.

Things I accomplished today:

* swept the condo

* spot-mopped (good enough for me)

* co-made a crumble

* helped Pic to purge some of her excess belongings and get her room under control (more on that later?)

* finally returned some movies to the Blockbuster box at the grocery store (okay, so we only kept them for two nights, but it felt like a long time)

* had a much-needed phone call with Auntie L

* ate frozen yogurt

* other than the above, only ate what we had here at home

* pilates

Things that brought me moments of joy today:

* listening to the Thriller album (on vinyl!) and Pic's response ("How did you know I love this song?!")

* the crumble (really, I'll post more on that tomorrow)

* doing a bit of excess-stuff purging myself

* getting a much-anticipated package in the mail

So, it's time for me to disconnect from screens (I'm trying some new nightly routine ideas in hopes of being able to sleep at a somewhat decent hour), listen to podcasts and continue to dig my way through the den.

I hope you find many, many moments of joy and accomplishment throughout your days.


musical monday: you can snuggle up to your cash register...'s a little lumpy, but it rings!

"'So Long Dearie' from Hello, Dolly!"

Pic and I were making a crumble today and listening to show tunes. A different song from Hello, Dolly! came on, but this is the one I want to share right now. I love the incredibly dramatic 'good bye!' she starts off with.

Okay, I'm off to eat some of said crumble right now (smells so pungently, fruitily good). I'll post my somewhat dubious pictures of that experience later.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

retail therapy

I usually try to stay away from stores and store sites and ads in the newspaper, ecc, ecc, ecc. I'm quick to want, but slow to want to spend money, so why tempt myself? I like to take my time and mull over any purchases.

We recently made a purchase I've been thinking about for a good long time. Y'know those record player/CD player/tape deck things? I think they came out eleventy-thousand years ago? Something like that. Well, we have been looking for a working record player for quite some time but haven't had much luck (read: no luck) and I finally broke down and asked Cardo to look for one of those combo-players online. We bid, we won. Cardo had me pay for the purchase, which leads me to what I really wanted to mention in this post.

On signing out of the payment site, there was an ad for an online printing company. A couple of interesting calling cards: 'mommy cards' and 'dating cards.' I am entirely too close to anti-social to be handing out cards with my contact info to other parents. (And, no, there were no 'daddy cards' or 'guardian cards' or 'parent cards' advertised.) And the 'dating cards'? Again, I am so not the audience for those, which, yes, might seem obvious. Cardo and I agreed that we're exclusive, but I mean that I would never have been the audience for the cards. I never really dated and I can't imagine dating so much that I'd need a set of a couple hundred cards to hand out. Just thinking about that makes me uncomfortable. I'm really hoping I'll never have to date. (I have knocked on wood.)

I do, however, occasionally fantasize about making blog calling cards. I like to design them online. I've been doing that for a good many years, so, who knows, I might be indulging eventually. (Or not.)


Does anyone else have Netflix and feel strangely obligated to watch the movies as soon as possible? Ugh, just when I'm trying to wean myself of too much teevee and Netflix is being all efficient and sending me movie upon movie. Plus, there's all this streaming stuff. Oy with the poodles.

A couple more questions: 1) why can't I just let the movies sit for a while instead of feeling compelled to watch them and send them back as soon as possible? and 2) why am I not like this with the really important mail, like bills -- open, write the check, send off the payment, done, done, done?

Oh, oh, one more question: Shampoo? I was especially tired earlier and didn't feel I could turn the movie off, but I was also too tired to go to sleep. (Still am actually. I got Pic off to sleep and here I am wide awake with a pulsing headache. Mayhap I shouldn't be here on the computer, yet here I am.) The movie was not quite what the slipcover represented. I meant to ask for movie recommendations before I was sent more movies. I rented I Heart Huckabees and I'm hoping it's worth the rental. (And, no, I've never seen it before.)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

a bit of lit

Pic and I have definitely been catching up on our reading lately. And, oh, children's books are often oh-so-fun...especially the older books and stories.

We are reading about things like luncheon and pick-a-back rides and tigers who run circles so quickly that they turn into butter. Seriously weird stuff sometimes lurks in those pages.

Take, for instance, "The Village of Cream Puffs," by -- wait for it -- Carl Sandburg. Oh, how lacking my education has been that I didn't know he wrote such weird kid's stories. Stories in which freckles are painted on to remind you whence you came. Actually, there is more to the story than we have in our anthology, which I only just found out in looking for the link I included here.

Then, there's "Little Red Riding Hood." The version we have has the wolf eating both Little Red and the grandma. A lumberjack comes along, cuts the sleeping wolf open with his ax and removes the people, filling the empty cavity with heavy stones. The wolf lives through this but falls down dead due to the weight of the stones in his stomach. Certo!

We also just started reading another Jack Prelutsky collection. Good times!

Monday, June 6, 2011

testing, testing

I'm just playing around with a few things here, without really knowing what I'm doing. It's either this or move, which, I found out last night, I'm not all that comfortable with. But, it's a backup plan, right? Right.

testing, testing

Trying to figure out how to add tabs (with frozen fingers).

musical monday: ain't nobody that could sing like me

"Billy Bragg - Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key (w/ Wilco & Natalie Merchant)"