Friday, December 21, 2007

For Fun Friday

I'm going to take a little blogging break for the holidays. There are books to be read, movies to be watched, and shoes to be purchased at the after Christmas sales. I'll be back on Wednesday, January 2 when I go back to work. Have a joyous, relaxing holiday with your family and friends. And thanks for reading.

Another fun Friday.

Did you elf yourself last Friday? OK, how about scrooging yourself this time.

What year do you belong in? I was 1981.

Here's a video clip that is an excerpt from a Philco-Ford production entitled "Year 1999" that projected what technology might be like in 1999. I love the 1960's guy shaking his head about how much his wife has spent. Strangely enough, that happens pretty often at our house.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Home Late

Tom got home from work late the other night. This is extremely rare. He is always on time and sometimes even comes home early to finish up his work on the computer. But he was late. Normally, when he is late, he will call me. No call. It got later and later. I blogged for a while, then settled into a comfy chair and read. When I looked up, it was quite late. He had never called.

Having a good imagination is a blessing when you are reading a good book. The characters come alive in your head and move around, going through their lives in vividly visualized settings. It's a curse when you start to imagine what could have happened to your loved ones. I tried to read but couldn't concentrate. I decided I would call him at 6:00 if he was not home. It got darker and colder.

Not outside.

In the house.

It was quiet. And dark. And cold. I turned on more lamps and checked the heat. It wasn't really dark and cold. It just felt that way. Being alone would feel this way. Not having him around would feel this way. If he never came home it would feel this way.

And then I heard the garage door open. I felt a little silly when he told me he had stopped at the grocery for a couple of things. And then had to go to another store to get just what he wanted.

I tried to tell him how strange it would be if he never came home again. How lonely. How dark and cold. He hugged me and loved me up a little, then said "You would manage. You are a strong woman." And hopped in the shower.

He doesn't really understand. I would manage. I am a strong woman. But he takes away the dark. He takes away the cold. He...makes me stronger.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Book Fair Frenzy

I had a Book Fair in the library last week. We had free gift wrapping for any presents the kids wanted to purchase.

On Monday, I LOVE the Book Fair. By Friday, I HATE the Book Fair.

I answered the question "How much is this?" approximately 8,391 times.

And, finally. I ran across the hall to the office with the library full of very loud students and parent volunteers trying to manage them, to yell "I need a tape dispenser refill. We have an emergency gift wrapping situation!"

And that's how last week went.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Probably Watch Way Too Much TV. Probably.

So, have you seen "Samantha Who?" It's a really cute and quirky new show with Christina Applegate, who I think is just hilarious and lovable. I never watched "Married with Children" but I loved her in "Jesse". Yeah, I bet you never heard of the show or watched it. We were probably the only people in the United States watching it. Might just POSSIBLY be the reason it went off the air. But Diego. Oh, my God, he was cute. Anyway. Back to Samantha.

Tom was really not remotely interested in watching this show so he conveniently forgot to put it on our DVR to record. I almost said tape, but I know it's really record. It's just hard to remember after years of TAPING stuff on the VCR that we now RECORD on the DVR. And could we have just one more acronym to remember, please? Anyway. Again.

I wanted to see it, he had not RECORDED it so I went to my trusty computer and, for the very first time, I streamed a TV show and watched it.

It was. Fabulous. Tom was watching something else - probably that stupid "Survivor" which I gave up on a long time ago. How many times can you watch people get a rash from wearing their bathing suit for 6,591 hours or eat a bug? I have reached my limit, let me tell you. So, I perched in the chair with a cushion on my lap (that laptop can burn the fire out of your legs when it has been on a while), put the laptop on the cushion, plugged in my headphones and streamed the lost episodes. We were both lost in our electronic worlds. So romantic. We did share an occasional laugh. Well. I laughed and he looked over like I was crazy. I guess when someone is sitting there in silence with headphones on and then bursts out into laughter, it might look like they are slightly mentally deficient.

But the point of this post. Whaaaat? Of course I have a point. I found a list of all the ways you can watch TV shows now and it's mind boggling. I'm going to have to go down this list and check out some of the other shows I have missed because Mr. I-am-in-control-of-the-DVR didn't want to watch that show. Just because I don't actually understand how to use the remote we have. Or how to use the DVR. Or, if I'm being totally honest. How to turn everything on.

And finally. Here's the link to the ways to watch TV. Without actually having a TV.

Monday, December 17, 2007

December 17 Christmas Tour of Homes

Christmas Tour of Homes Boomama is having a Christmas tour of homes, so check them all out today. Here's my contribution.

This is my Christmas village. I have been collecting the pieces for years. Some of the houses are from Avon, purchased back when the kids were small. I love the little people, the ice skating rink and merry-go-round. Although Liz constantly tells me the people are proportionally huge and would never fit in the houses. Oh, she's a big ole Scrooge. I still love it. And I'm leaving it to her in my will so she has to put it up EVERY SINGLE CHRISTMAS. Even if the people's big heads won't fit through the doors. So there.

Oh, yeah. And Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2007

For Fun Friday

Enjoy these tidbits. And have a great weekend.

Ever wanted to be an elf? Did you ever want a family member to be an elf? Well. Here ya go! (Thanks
to Don't Feed Him Crackers for this one.)

Here's a site where you can come up with 43 things you want to change in your life and share those goals with others (if you want). It's pretty interesting to see what you have in common with others - like visiting Europe. I could only come up with 7, so I'll have to think about this some more. If you choose, the site will remind you about your goals and check your progress.

Check out this gorgeous Christmas card from Ashland University.

OK. How well do you know the states? I did POORLY on this test. How did you do?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Invisible or Able to Fly?

So, I was listening to the radio the other day and the commentators came on with a discussion. They were asking about which super power you would want to have - to be invisible or to be able to fly? So, I got to thinking about it.

I finally decided I wouldn't want either one. They both have their drawbacks.

I can't imagine how being invisible would help you. I guess if you were a criminal, you could walk in places and steal anything you want and nobody could stop you. Although. Unless the stuff became invisible, it would look like it was floating out of the store or the bank and that wouldn't work. But maybe when you touch stuff, it becomes invisible also. Let's say it does. This is our game; we can make up the rules. That still wouldn't work for me because I'm not a criminal. I can't imagine how I would spend stolen money or wear stolen jewelry. So, that's out. I certainly would not want be invisible and hear what people say about me. I would prefer to think that my friends and family think I am absolutely perfect. To hear any different wouldn't help anyone involved. I suppose I could offer to help the government and spy on somebody but I'm such a weenie, I don't think I would be very good at that. I don't think there is anything I can think of that I would want to see or hear or do invisible that I couldn't see or hear or do when I was visible. So, that's out.

Now, being able to fly. I am really afraid of heights, so I can't imagine just lifting off the ground and flying more than a few feet above it. And that wouldn't work too well. Just consider how many obstacles would be in my way. OK, just change the rules again and assume I am not afraid of heights. WHY would I want to fly? Airplanes work just fine for getting me where I want to go and, really, flying myself places is just impractical. Where, for example, would I put all the shoes I have to take with me?? And that's not even considering all my clothes, make-up, jewelry, etc. Just not practical. And I really don't want to fly OVER places I want to visit, I want to walk around and see them. I just can't see the benefit.

In fact, I can't think of any super power I would want to have. All are impractical and have serious drawbacks. And most super heroes are not really very happy.

What do you think? Is there a super power you would like to have?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crank It Up, Soulja Boy.

So, I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. A friend who does not work with kids. And I mentioned "Soulja Boy". "Soldier Boy?" she replied. "Who is Soldier Boy?" I was...taken aback. I thought EVERYONE knew about Soulja Boy. The song. The dance. The phenomenon. "It's not Soldier Boy," I corrected. "It's Soulja Boy. It's...this dance thing." And I referred her to youtube.

It's funny how, when you are surrounded by people who are familiar with something, you take for granted that everyone in the world knows all about it. When my kids were little, I thought everyone knew about He-man figures and Care Bears. In reality, only those of us with small children knew those toys even existed.

I first found out about Soulja Boy when two of my kindergarten students were singing and dancing while waiting for the day care van after school one day. Just this week, some of the tech kids were demonstrating it for Brian, our wonderful university student helper. As I watched them dancing and demonstrating the perfect "Superman" move, I thought about how, in a couple of years, when I am not working in a school anymore and am happily retired, I won't know about things like Soulja Boy anymore.

And it made me just a tiny bit...sad.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Classic Is ALMOST The Same As Classy

One of my favorite bloggers, Big Mama, has started a Fashion Friday post on her blog. I always enjoy reading them even though I don't always agree with her advice and personally can't imagine asking someone for fashion advice. I know fashion. I know what to wear and what looks good. I wouldn't say I am on the cutting edge of fashion; in fact, my daughter and nieces might even venture to say that I fell off the cutting edge long ago, back when I continued to wear tapered leg jeans because I know they make my legs look longer and slimmer even though they are completely out of style. I still wear them.

I don't believe in trends because I know as soon as I buy several of that trendy something they will go out of style in about 30 seconds. Plus, everything trendy does not look good on everyone. Some people have a hard time grasping this concept. I wear classic clothes, like jeans and a turtleneck with a blazer. I have been wearing this same style for about 30 years now. It goes in and out of style and I just keep wearing it. It's a classic look that looks good on me and, in reality, never goes out of style.

All this is a prelude to the fact that I have to go to a wedding this weekend. This, of course, required a new outfit. During the course of shopping for this outfit, I came to the conclusion, once again, that it is extremely difficult to find attractive, well-fitting, stylish clothing that does not require you to sell your first unborn child as a down payment if you are over 50 and slightly overweight. It is possible but it requires a great deal of time and just a little common sense.

At this point, I wanted to show you a picture of a twenty-something wearing a mini skirt and boots to illustrate my point that these are not the kind of clothes we should be buying and wearing (and having that said, I'm sure there are some women my age who look fabulous in these outfits), but I got sidetracked when I found that you can actually GET THROWN OFF A PLANE IF YOUR MINISKIRT IS TOO SHORT and also? That you can totally make a miniskirt out of duct tape. The Internet is truly a wondrous purveyor of information, isn't it? Anyway.

I had a vision of what I wanted to buy. Not like a Joan of Arc vision, but a mental image of the outfit. I do this often, unfortunately, and then of course I can't find just the exact same thing from my vision. I have often sighed in many a department store and wished I could twitch my nose like Samantha and just MAKE the outfit I have in my mind. But alas. That only works on late night TV.

What I wanted was something like this.

Only not exactly. My dress would have been looser, redder and my boots would have been low heeled and black. But I couldn't find anything that even remotely approached this vision in any store and, after several unfortunate online shopping tries which involved clothes which revealed back rolls exposed for just anyone to see, I don't buy many clothes online. So, I erased the vision and began again. I tried on approximately 6,581 dresses before I remembered that there are very, very, VERY few dresses made anymore that look good on anyone. Look at the next woman you see wearing a dress and you will see what I mean. What was she thinking?

Finally, I decided that I might be more successful if I switched to pants and that's when I found this beautiful, cream colored pants suit that fit perfectly, except the pants are too long. Who do they make these pants for? Giants? Really. I am 5'7" and they are too long for me? Anyway, hemming them is a small price to pay for the fabulousness of these pants. I was trying them on tonight and Tom (unprompted) said they made my butt look good. Is there higher praise? I think not.

Here it is.

Then, I had to find a top. I mulled over a jewel bright turtleneck in emerald green or sapphire blue, but then I had a vision of a gold and cream striped sweater. The gold would be kind of sparkly to dress up the outfit and the cream would match the suit perfectly. I sighed when I realized that, once again, I had a vision that I would not be able to find.

And then I saw this.

I couldn't believe it. It was perfect, fit great - and was on sale! And sparkly. It was sparkly.

See how great it looks with the jacket?

And pearls?

So, I'm good to go. I have cream colored strappy shoes and a cute, matching shoulder bag with gold buckles. And I will look good. Classic. AND classy.

Unless we have a blizzard. Which probably won't happen. Probably. Because I do not have cream colored boots. Dammit.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Christmas Poem For My Dad

A Different Kind of Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack; brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light.
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,

"I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at Pearl on a day in December,
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of Nam,

And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures; he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,

The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,

I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
Who stand at the front against any and all,

To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,"

"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?"
"It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son.
"Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,

"Just tell us you love us, and never forget."
"To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,

To know you remember we fought and we bled,
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell OneAl Taqqadum, Iraq

I do not support the war. But I support every single soldier who is over there fighting it for us.

Friday, December 7, 2007

For Fun Friday

Another Friday. And aren't they wonderful? There's just something about knowing you don't have to work the next day that makes the day and evening so relaxing. Have a wonderful weekend!

Watch a beautiful Christmas light show put on by a fire station. Just click on the picture to get to their web site and watch the shows.

Take this quiz to find out what holiday you are. I am Thanksgiving. I'm not sure what that says about how I like to eat. And I'm kind of afraid to find out.

Remember that game, Simon? Could you duplicate the flashing lights? OK, let's just see how good you were.

And, finally. My grandson loves books and has many of them at his home and at our house. But lots of kids are not that fortunate. If you feel like doing a little something special for some of those kids who don't have books like our kids do, click on this link and donate a little something. For every dollar you donate from now until December 31, Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing will also donate a new book - up to a million books. This was my feel-good activity this holiday.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

We So Classy

Tom just walked through the family room upstairs where Mark was watching "Die Hard". The original. A classic interpretation of man vs....something or other. And stuff blows up. The epitome of cool.

And he said "Oooooh...a classic!" And sat down to watch it with him.

Now some people might think a classic movie is something like "Out of Africa" or some of that crap.

We know better.

We know great entertainment when we see it.

The new "Die Hard" sequel just came out on DVD. We were one of the first to buy it.

Now, that's classic.

And. Lest you think that we be heathens 'round here and ain't capable of using them big words. I just put my blog through this Blog Readability Test.

Maybe I should use more words like "epitome". So I can at least get into high school.

cash advance What is your blog's reading level?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Pretzels And French Fries.

Note: This blog post was written before I went on Weight Watchers with Tom a few weeks ago. I would NEVER eat a mall pretzel now. At least. Not while Tom was with me.

So, I went to the mall the other day. I needed a new watch battery, some bath gel and lotion and had to exchange some sheets. Yes, my life is overwhelmingly exciting. I can see that you are jealous. While I was there, I noticed the pretzel place. I was a little peckish and I had not eaten one of those mall pretzels in months. It may very well have been years. So I bought one with one of those little things of fake cheddar cheese to dip it in. I was excited. Check above for my exciting life. I remembered them as being SO GOOD. Kind of sweet. Great with the cheese.


It was awful. It was freshly prepared and hot but it was very, very salty and tasted a whole lot like that thin cardboard they put into men's shirts to display them. Not that I have actually tasted that. But it tasted like that cardboard LOOKS.

I was so disappointed. And, as I dropped the remainder of the pretzel in the trash and headed for my little red truck to drive home, I mulled over how things change for the worse.

When I was in high school, I had a fish dinner from Long John Silver's for the first time. I had died and gone to heaven. Seafood heaven. People who EAT the seafood, not seafood heaven. I'm sure that heaven for seafood would be much wetter. And there would be no hooks. Anyway. That fish was light, flaky, delicious, melt in your mouth. And I always got the extra crumbs 'cause they were so good. And healthy. Drips of deep fried batter. Yummy. But now when I get the EXACT SAME DINNER, it's kind of...greasy. Kind of tasteless. And the fries? Paugh. It's just not as good.

And, speaking of french fries? What happened to McDonald's french fries? Remember how good they used to be when we were younger? You could go to the drive-though and JUST get an order of french fries, they were so good. Golden, crunchy, hot, delicious. Now. Yuck. They don't salt them, for one thing, which I'm sure is healthier, but they just don't taste as good.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. It's ME who changed, not the food. That may be part of it. But the food has changed too. And I walked to school in butt-deep snow five miles both way. In my BARE FEET.

Here's what's really ironic. I'm making a sarcastic point with the last paragraph (you got it, right?) but I went to high school in New Jersey. We actually DID go to school in butt-deep snow. A blizzard? Ha! Send those school buses out! The kids will be just fine. And do you know what was in style back then? MINI-SKIRTS. And God forbid you wore warm tights or leggins or sweat pants you could slip off once you got to school. That would not be COOL. So, butt-deep snow. Bare legs. Frozen ass. But I was cool.

Anyway. I may have gotten a little off topic there. What were we talking about? Oh, yeah. Food. I don't think it's just me. It's the food. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Thar She Blows!

One more story about Puerto Vallarata and I'm done. Really. Unless I think of something else. But that probably won't happen. Probably.

The last morning at the resort, we went to have a leisurely breakfast before the final packing and organizing. As we were scarfing down the last homemade omelets and fresh baked goodies (how I wish I had one of those chocolate croissants at this very moment) when Tom said "Hey, look. There's two whales out there." And pointed out by the rocks at the end of the beach. I was not completely surprised since I had actually seen a couple of whales the day before while lolling by the pool. (Lolling is actually the perfect word here since, after a long weekend of gorging ourselves, we probably resembled whales ourselves.)

They were far out to sea but were clearly discernible as they surfaced and swam by and we watched them as we finished our breakfast.

Let me be clear that both of us clearly saw two whales surfacing and blowing foamy white water over their back. We studied them as we ate, marveling that nobody else seemed to notice them. They were so close to shore! We enjoyed watching them, their fins breaking the water as they dove up and down.

After breakfast, we decided to take a closer look, so I ran up the room for the binoculars. We walked out on the patio, close to where the whales were located.

And then we stopped. And looked at each other. The two whales we had been so avidly watching for the last ten minutes? Were two big rocks out in the water.

No wonder nobody else was excited.

At least it wasn't just me.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Godzilla Becomes Nacho Libre

Luckily, we were not absolutely the worst team at the competition. Another robot fell to pieces as they tried to make him perform. At least, Nacho Libre didn't fall apart on the job. Oh, did I forget to tell you? Godzilla became Nacho Libre after the kids noticed the similarities.

Separated at birth?

When we got to the event, we immediately noticed that Nacho Libre was going to have some stiff competition.

Like this.

And this. Nacho Libre didn't exactly resemble either of these robots.

We had programmed him to complete one task - move the dam across the river. But the students figured out pretty quickly that Nacho's one ability - move forward very quickly and attempt to destroy the village - also gave him the ability to do some other tasks. Our quick-thinking robot wrangler managed to force Nacho to do three tasks before he made a getaway and attempted to use the power lines to take down the city.

So, we didn't lose. In fact, we won!

OK, we didn't technically win the entire competition. And we didn't win for best programmers. Or best in robot design. But we won for MOST INNOVATIVE ROBOT.

I guess they had never seen a robot quite like Nacho Libre.

And probably never will again.