Monday, November 30, 2009

Time for a shopping trip

Work Friend and I are going shopping. We do this every year at about this time. See, we are in charge of (and by "in charge" I mean the only people in the building remotely willing to do) the Christmas for Kids program for our school. We go and buy gifts for children whose families are struggling.

This is more of a time-sucking commitment than either one of us bargained for. It pretty much takes up a huge portion of life from the end of October until the middle of December. There are letters to write and envelopes to stuff (and address and lick and stamp) - asking for donations or if assistance is needed. There are letters to open and coordinate and sort - boys or girls, who wants what. There are presents to buy -a few very loooooong nights at Wal-Mart (they either love us or hate us, but I'm not sure which). There are presents to sort and wrap - early mornings and late nights. There are thank-you cards to write - for all who contribute or help. There are families (ours) that are neglected while we do all of this.

In eight years, we've received three thank you notes.

A lot of the kids we buy gifts for come to school every day in their Abercrombie sweatshirts, with their ipod in one hand and their iphone in the other.

There are parents who return the gifts we provide and use the money to buy cigarettes and vodka (or worse).

There are parents who call and complain that they didn't get enough presents.

And every year we wonder, at some point, why we do this at all.


There are kids who will come back from the holiday break with a new warm coat.

Or new boots.

Or a new sweatshirt or jeans.

Kids who will sleep wrapped up in a warm blanket.

Kids who would not get Christmas presents any other way.

And we know we will keep doing this every year for as long as it is necessary.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Nothing says "Christmas" like Santa. With a gun.

You better watch out....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You Capture - Food

Come with me, if you will, on a grocery store adventure......

(I could eat sweet potatoes every single day.)
(Sometimes I get sidetracked...)
(Whoever did this is a genius.)
(I got sidetracked again.)
(Hopefully this takes care of my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner. And makes fudge. And feeds us until the next shopping adventure.)

See more good stuff to eat over at Beth's.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Looking back. Looking ahead. (4 Years)

A few years back, when Hubby and I were in the thick of things, I made a statement. I told him I would give this marriage 5 years. If by our 5th anniversary, things were not markedly better, I would cut my losses and go.

I meant every word.

I did not mean it as an ultimatum. I did not mean it as a threat. I meant it as a light at the end of what was, for me, a dark, dark tunnel.

I meant it. And I didn't know how I would mange to hang in for that long.


Tomorrow, Hubby and I will mark our 4th anniversary. And I will be thankful for all that we have been though in the last four years - the good and the bad. I will look back on what has come already. (It's been a bumpy ride.) And I will celebrate the future that is yet to come. (But it brought us here.) The future we will share together. For 5 years. For 75 years. For as long as we both shall live.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

List Time

1. I'm pretty sure I was the first person not related to Stephenie Meyer who read Twilight. And then I started after everyone I know to read it. And no one would. For, like, a year. Everyone was all "A girl who falls in love with a vampire? Whatever." And I was all "You will soooo want Edward to be your vampire boyfriend, too." But no one listened. For about a year. And then my friends slowly started to read it. And now it's this worldwide phenomenon. I'm just saying.

2. Speaking of the Twilight books, I really wasn't all that crazy about Jacob until the fourth book. (Because, you know, Edward.) But, um, yeah. I saw New Moon on Friday, and I am all about that Wolf Pack.

3. I have already heard Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano about 75 times. And I'm not even exaggerating. Granted, I keep putting on the radio station that's already playing Christmas music 24/7, but still. There has been an excessive amount of Jose Feliciano for this early in the season.

4. Speaking of the holidays, I'm done with my Christmas shopping. He He! (Or Ho Ho!)

5. This morning while I was running, I had this little 3 minutes of transcendence. I was on this tree-lined, curving road. No cars where to be found. And Rufus Wainwright's version of Hallelujah shuffled in. And for those three minutes, I really and truly felt like I was floating. My feet weren't even touching the ground. It was this peaceful, zen moment. And then The Banana Splits Theme Song shuffled in next, and the magic was gone.

6. I really thought that the vegan soy "turkey" would have gone on sale by now. But it didn't, so I bought it anyway. Thanksgiving is Thursday, you know.

7. This is a short list, but it's all I've got right now.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

You Capture - Sunrise/Sunset

What I see at sunrise:

And what I see at sunset:

Or, if you want the more traditional:

Head to Beth's for more....

PS - Sorry I'm not too inspired this week. I'm too tired to be inspired. Next week will be better, though.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

He takes one for the team, and keeps on going.

So, we've been having some plumbing issues. As in our bathtub faucet didn't want to shut off. Ever. It just wanted to keep a steady trickle of hot water going at all times. This didn't really work for us, so we had to call in the plumber. (Okay, first we called in Dad, and he gave it all he had - which is a considerable amount - and declared it beyond his expertise. Then we called the plumber.)

We know the plumber. One of those friend-of-a-friend-who's-kind-of-your-friend things. He's helped us out before. Very reasonably and very ably, too.

So the plumber, and his brother/plumbing partner come to assess the damages. And they're in the basement giving Hubby the lowdown on what needs to be done, how much it will cost.... And they're admiring Hubby's drum kit.

And somewhere in the conversation, the plumber and his brother offer this deal to Hubby - they'll fix the bathroom tub issues AND replace the sump pump in exchange for Hubby's drum kit.

This is a storied drum kit. This is the drum kit that Hubby played in his band days. The band that was very good. The band that had label guys coming to see them. The band that came thisclose to being signed.

It's the drum kit I would never ever dream of asking Hubby to part with, even if he never ever touched them again.

The drum kit that's a big part of his past, and of what he once wanted for his future.

The drum kit that he traded for a new bathtub faucet and a sump pump.

Because, he said, that was a different time and a different place. But that time and place is done now.


Today Hubby got out his new soup cookbook and whipped up some sweet potato - ancho bisque for dinner.

I guess that's what this time and this place is.

It's a very good time and a very good place.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Just hand over the
chocolate and no one will
come to harm today.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

You Capture - Real Life

This is my M.O. It's what I've got. It's what I do. Are we happy? I'll bake cookies. Are we sad? I'll bake cookies. Are we angry? I'll bake cookies. Are we menstrual? I'll bake cookies. I like to think they are "healthy," since there's no eggs or butter, and it's mostly organic, and usually vegan. But, um, the fact remains that they are COOKIES and are still full of sugar and chocolate. Because why even bother to bake cookies if there's no sugar and chocolate?

I will admit it. I have a drinking problem. I am addicted to warm beverages. I waste far too much money far too often on various forms of hot cocoa and chai. And then, the next morning, when I need to make room in my vehicle's drink holder for the morning's tea, I place the remains of last night's fix on this little ledge in the garage. Right in front of the weird plastic giraffe and the Boston police's "no stopping or parking" order.

There is more real life for the viewing over at Beth's.

This post is brought to you by the letters L, M, and W.

So, I'm in the midst of the poetry unit at work. And in my efforts to mix in some "fun" with the "real poetry," today we were working with alphabet poems. You know.... pick a topic, then each word of the poem starts with a consecutive letter of the alphabet.

And I have an example to share. From the actual teacher materials. So the students can see what a finished product looks like before they begin working. The topic of this alphabet poem is food.

And it gets rolling.... Apples. Bubbly casserole. Delicious eggplant. You get the idea.

As we move through the alphabet, we come to the L/M portion. What does the sample, geared toward adolescent children, say?

Luscious melons.

Yes. You read that right. Luscious. Melons.

Ninety-eight 6th graders. And luscious melons.

I give each lesson three times a day. Not one group could keep their giggles in.

Those giggles turned to full out guffaws when we came to the letter W.

You guessed it.


Like it could be anything else. Is there even another food that begins with the letter W?

And all I could do was stand at the front of the room and say "Yes. I said wieners."

And laugh.

I cannot wait to see what their homework looks like.

PS - In yesterday's lesson on concrete poetry, the example was The Autobiography of Murray the Fart. Welcome to my world.

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's all about priorities.

These are the things I need to do:

grade the papers I've been avoiding for a week
wash/dry/put away the dishes
finish the laundry
bake (a.k.a. go buy) some kind of treat for Teammate's birthday tomorrow
pick up the clutter that's taking over the house

These are the things I want to do:

read more of Peter and the Sword of Mercy
watch Purple Rain

Guess which list is going to get accomplished.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

You Capture - Photographer's Choice

Hubby and I went for one of our after dinner walks the other night. We left about the same time we always do. We headed for the woods. Just for something different.

The weather was lovely; crisp and cool. Leaves were crunching under out feet. A brisk breeze was blowing our hair.

And utter darkness descended upon us because we totally forgot about that whole daylight savings time thing.

It sure was pretty, though. As in pretty scary trying to find our way out of the woods in, you know, pitch blackness.

See how everyone else's week went at Beth's.

PS - How Scooby Doo / Blair Witch is this?

I think (hope) they're deer.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Musings on Hubby's birthday

Today was Hubby's birthday.

This was his present to himself.

Only he got it yesterday, because that's when the game was. He also got to eat a veggie burger and garlic fries at Solider Field. How much better can life get? Apparently not much. Oh, wait, yes it can. They played Cleveland, so I got to see me some Brady Quinn. (But I don't think he was very excited about that. Hubby or Brady Quinn.) (It was also kind of fun to take pictures there.) (Especially the pictures of Brady Quinn. Even though he's wearing a helmet and all and you couldn't really see him. But you know it's him because, you know, it says "Quinn" on his back.) (It was also kind of cool because I can say I saw Brady Quinn play in college and the NFL. ) (Also, about those garlic fries.... They were still making their presence known this morning. There was some SERIOUS garlic in there. And I didn't even have any.) (Anyway......)

I'm glad that my family is my family, because now they're Hubby's family, too.
And they treat his birthday just like the rest of us kids.
And that's really cool.
Because Hubby's not very close with much of his family.
So it's nice for him to have a little bit of that family stuff now.

I like that he's still wearing the hat that I got him. And that he was excited to receive the vegetarian soup cookbook. Because that's a lot of Sundays that I don't have to cook dinner.

For the next month (almost two months), he's TWO years older than me instead of just one. I'm just saying.

Every year, Hubby wants a Dairy Queen cake. And every year, I try to find the most stupid Dairy Queen cake I can find. This year, I presented him with.....

Yup. Dolphins. Because the monster truck would not have fed ten people.

I'm glad he had a good birthday day. He deserved it.

I love him a lot. Like, a lot a lot.

PS - For my birthday, I want a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse in the middle and buttercream frosting on the outside that a bakery baked special for me. With Bono on it. Again, I'm just saying.