Monday, January 31, 2011

Now There's A Mouse in the Trash

With the recent appearance of a darling little mouse yesterday, I thought I should show you my fabulous traps.
 The white one is too small for the kind of mice we grow here, so I don't know why I even bother.  When I reloaded it with peanut butter  yesterday, the mouse did quickly leave my gym bag and came sniffing.  But then I scared it and we started the game all over again.

I went in search of a better mouse trap and came home with the black one.  These are even more ridiculous.  They act like the old fashioned traps, but I set it on myself by accident and it's like getting a hair clip stuck on your finger.  Nothing, really.  I set them anyway and put peanut butter right where it said to.  And about 3 hours later, I was quietly reading and lo and behold, out it came.  And proceeded to eat all of the peanut butter right in front of me without stepping on it so it never smacked down on it!  I was dying to slam it closed or take a picture but I couldn't move.  Once it retreated to it's spot under the heater, I reloaded, this time further back so it would have to climb in and get stuck.  Nothing.

It occurred to me that with the new trap, I'll be in the same place I'll be if they get in the white one.  I'll still have a live mouse to deal with.  We know throwing it outside will just make it come right back in.  And I really can't kill it.  So, I have no idea why I bother buying these things.

Alas, mice do not live long in our house, if they dare to show their whiskers to Gwenstopher in the light of day.  When I got up today, Gwenstopher had left me a very nice present.  I chose not to take a picture, so as not to make anyone barf.  And for the first time ever, she ate part of it.  She never does that with mice inside the house.  She must have been so mad that it made her work all day for it, that she had to get the last laugh.  And then she laughed some more when I had to clean it up.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

There's A Mouse In My Gym Bag

Yes, I realize that's a cat, not a mouse.  When I got up this morning, Gwenstopher was extremely fascinated with the heater.  Given the fact that there was a mouse in the house a few weeks ago that was never caught, and we occasionally find them dead on the floor after she kills them, and the fact that there was once a mouse in the heater, curled around a pipe, I wasn't surprised.  But, I couldn't hear anything.  She kept whipping her head back and forth, studying very carefully.  Completely ignoring the noises I was making and my presence. Which means something is really there.  Eventually she just gave up.

Just about the time k-ster was getting ready to go out, we were standing in the middle of the kitchen and he said, very calmly "there's a mouse right there".  And I screamed.  I get so mad when I do that.  I think mice are cute, really.  Somehow the mice here are well fed without ever eating any of my food.  I think they steal Gwenstopher's food when she isn't looking.  What I don't think is cute is their speed and randomness and if they eat things. The fact that they can climb up you at the speed of light and you don't even know.  It ran back under the heater, so k-ster banged the chair into it, which just made it run, top speed, into the living room.  I was furious because once it's in the living room, it has way too many options.  We have 7 doors in the living.  I KNOW.  7 DOORS.  7 means of escape.  Not to mention how it interferes with any decorating.

But, Gwenstopher was right on it.  And k-ster left.  I can't believe he left me with a mouse running around.  He's so good like that, giving me a chance to be all brave and strong.  She had it, I could hear it squealing, but it's pretty big and eluded her.  And ran into my gym bag.  We have these ridiculous traps that are kind of like have-a-heart traps for mice.  But they are too small, I think.  I grabbed one and put in fresh peanut butter and after like 2 seconds, here came the mouse, ready to sniff.  But, Gwenstopher was on it again.

I know, you're asking why  I was busy taking pictures when I was supposed to be catching a mouse, but have you ever tried?  Impossible.  I did once catch one with a large wicker basket but there wasn't one nearby and I wasn't  about to slam it with a pan, like in the old Tom and Jerry cartoons.  K-ster wants me to get the Dyson and suck it up.  I've tried to explain just what disaster that would be in the Dyson but he doesn't believe me.  It's not like the old Electrolux canister vacs that had a straight shot from the hose into the bag. If that were the case, I'd suck it right up.  But,, the Dyson has all kinds of twists and turns and I think it would basically explode in the clear bagless thing and destroy my pricey vacuum cleaner that I don't love.  But I'm not ready to destroy it over a rodent.

I don't  know if you've ever had the pleasure of a mouse running around in your house, but it is very surreal.  All of a sudden, it will just BE there and you both stare at each other going "OH SHIT" and then either you try to catch it or it tries to run.  And all you really want to do is scream a lot.  And maybe you do.  And it zigzags its way all over creation and disappears behind things you didn't even know have a "behind it" space.  So you wait.  And you try to coerce the cat to find it, but she's all confused because you're screaming and telling her to get it and she doesn't even know what IT is.  And then you give up.  And then it pops out again and you start all over again.

I tried to remain VERY CALM this time.

Back it went, under the heater, running around in it.  She was out of her mind trying to catch it.  And it ran out once, again for the peanut butter, but she scared it back under.  And then she sat here for a while and waited.
Look at that look of utter disgust.  Not sure if it's because she can't catch this slippery devil or because she is forced to sit and look at linoleum circa 1970 something.  She gave up after a while and then came back and walked to certain places that I am now thinking must be the places she usually sees a mouse in the middle of the night when she does all that hunting.  It's amazing to me how cats don't forget.

I suppose I should get on with my day and leave the chair that is next to the heater where the mouse is hiding.  I know Gwenstopher will scare it out and it will run up my leg and I will freak right out.  And then the phone will ring while I'm freaking out.  And I'll drop it in my haste to get the rodent off me.  I hate freaking out, I really do.  I just can't deal with the element of surprise.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Feel Good Friday

Even though the girl isn't doing her own Feel Good Friday, I can't break a habit, so I'm doing mine.  And next week, I get to guest post over there on Friday, so I am VERY excited!!  That's my first feel good moment of the week.

2.  We had another snow day this week, and I do love snow days.  Not because I love snow, just because I love not having to go to school. I can't explain why it gives me such a magical thrill, but it does.

3. Some friends and I met for tea, and I love to go to tea lunch, but the place we went to was closed!  So rude.  Instead, we ended up at a coffee place that I had never heard of we spent almost the whole afternoon there.  It was nice!  Not a tea room, no plougman's lunch, but fun.  They had couches and chairs and we were the only people that actually sat there the whole time.  Except this weird guy who spent the entire time we were there, plus he had already been there when we arrived, sitting in a chair facing us, playing with his computer.  Not a single word we said could have been missed by this man.  I can't imagine why he sat there for the whole day like that.  Alone.  Not drinking tea or coffee.  Just listening to our conversation.  Creepy, actually. 

4.  I finished Janet Evanovich's Sizzlin' Sixteen and it was great fun.  I love the madcap way that Stephanie and Lula go through life in her books.  They are such comic relief.  Very easy reading, very quick.  Kind of like watching a soap opera.  I had read some reviews that this one wasn't so good, but I rate it with all of her others.  Mindless and entertaining.  If you've never read the series, you must start with One for the Money and go from there.  All the way up to 16.  I started reading them one summer, when there were only about 4-5 written, and I was able to read one right after the other.  I always look forward to her new books in that series.  But I've never read any of her other stuff.  I'm partial to her Stephanie Plum series, only.

5.  I made an ice cream soda last night, just like my grandmother made them, and it was awesome.  Gingerale.  Some kind of vanilla ice cream that's probably got a lot of crap in it.  Not Breyers.  And a straw.  Whatever this vanilla is that Kenny's grandmother brought to his birthday and left with us was just the right badass ice cream to make the ice cream soda something else. And unlike ice cream sodas that I've seen made in places, where they blend it all and stuff, I like the home made kind that ends up with lots of little ice cream bits that get up the straw, that you have to chew.  That was one of the few things that I loved that my grandmother made.  She wasn't one of those grannies with an apron always making great cookies.  She would wear an apron, but she fretted about everything she made.  She made good jello, good pudding, and a kick ice cream soda.  We won't talk about the time she made turkey soup with just water.  No broth.

So that's it. Now, it appears that 29andholding  is over there, hosting Feel Good Friday for thegirl, so I think we are supposed to go over to 29andholding's  place and link up our Feel Good Fridays. That's what I'm doing, anyway.  Tune in next Friday as I guest post over at thegirl's site.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Own Hodge Podge

Sometimes I do those standard question posts, where you have no creativity that day and you just answer questions for the whole world to see.  I don't love them, but when I feel like it's been too long since I've posted, I sometimes grab one and do it.

Today though, I decided I have some pictures I've taken for posts but didnt' get around to posting them, so I'll create my own Hodge Podge, Mix Up, Random or Whathaveyou.

First up:  my heritage completely represents the UK.  English, Irish, Scottish to the core.  Oh, I'm probably not Welsh, so I guess not the whole UK is represented.  I love the accents, think the countries are pretty in pictures, and have visited only England.  My sister has visited all of them AND Wales and really likes them.  It seems I recall a story about sleeping in a sheep barn in Wales....  You'll have to ask her.   I'm not such a fan of the damp and dank and sometimes blah  nature surrounding the UK.  I would never want to live there.  I like my country better.  Sorry.

When it comes to cultural things in the various countries imbedded in my genes, I'm not such a fan of those either.  Bagpipes do nothing but irritate me.  Do NOT play them at my funeral or my weddings.  Plaids are OK but only certain plaids.  I think I'm not a fan of the tartans in my family, if I recall.  And the food.  I have never been worried about not having a potato.  Finn n Haddie just makes me want to run away.  Guinness, while smelling nicely and having fantastic glassware isn't my beverage of choice.  And I'd never wear a tam for any amount of money.   I know, this is all very blasphemous.  Close your eyes.

However, I recently discovered steel milled oats for my morning palate pleasure.  Apparently this is oatmeal the way the Irish and the Scottish intended it.  It is very grainy and looks like chicken feed.  And it takes 100 years to make it.  But it's really good, with a little brown sugar.  It's crunchy, sort of, even after it's cooked.   I enjoy the crunch in the morning.  Sometimes oatmeal is like glue or it slithers down my throat and that's not so pleasing at 6:45am.   I make what it says in the directions and it feeds me for 3 mornings.  So, I make it on the weekend, but by mid week, I have run out, so I have to go back to regular oatmeal because I do not have 20 minutes to cook oats in the morning.  And this makes one hell of a mess.  Like rice, it manages to get its starchy ooziness all over the outside of the pan.  But it's good and worth it, I think.  I am a big fan.

Which leads me to this.  I had run out of premade good oats, see above, and was going to have to settle for regular quick oats when I woke at 5:15am to find that we had no school.  It's a snow day.  Again.  I like them, as I might have mentioned before.  And this time she got it a little more right.  Last time, there was no snow at all but she caved and canceled when all of the other superintendents did too.  This time, she waited until it was at its worst, which was 5am and when she had to really make a decision, and rather than a delay, she canceled completely.  If she was sitting here at my kitchen window, I could see how she might have thought there was enough snow to make transporting students very difficult.  See how pretty?  It does look like there is a powerful amount of the slippery stuff, if you sit here.  But really, it's not much.  It's snow that's on top of a lot of slop.  I walked out to get the paper this morning and it's messy.  And maybe it's slippery driving.  But it does seem like I've had to drive to school on days when I was certain we should not have had school, and this doesn't look like one of them.  Again, it sounds like I am lamenting my day off.  Nope.  It's just forever a mystery to me what goes on in the head of a superintendent when it comes to making this decision.   Like, does she put on her robe and boots under her nightgown at 4:45am and go whipping up and down her road to see how safe it is?  Just what all goes on?

And this is the scene from  my kitchen window over the sink.  I laugh when I look out because I don't know what k-ster was doing when he lined the chairs up like this.  From where I stand at the sink, I feel like I have the Olympic judges sitting there and I look up to see how they rated my performance.  Not sure why that judge on the left won't look at me though.....

In other news, there's a funny mail situation that goes on here at the compound.  I can't remember if I've ever told you about our living situation here.  My family owns a campground which is open only in months when the water won't freeze.  My house is right on the grounds of the campground and my parents live across a driveway and an "island" which is really just grass.  It's like 100 yards from my door to theirs.  Up a pretty walk to their office door.  (I took a pretty picture with my phone yesterday but t-mobile's site isn't cooperating, so you don't get to see it)  We also own a car wash which is at the other side of the property.  So it's kind of like a big triangle.  And sometimes I refer to it as the compound.  We are bordered by 2 streets.  That's important to know for the following.

The mail for the campground and my parents goes to their house.  In the summer, we have people who get mail like birthday cards and medication by mail.  Back in the days before email, we'd get a lot of mail and I could deliver it in the park and get like 10 cents as tips for delivering.  And if I delivered to the Belmore's , they gave me gumdrops AND a dime.  I digress.  Oh, and so does the mail for the carwash even though that address is on the road behind us, so it's not even close to their actual house address.  My mail and k-ster's mail, and sometimes mail for Gwenstopher (because I used to put in fake names when I had to fill out forms for silly things) ((she gets a lot of offers for the Boston Globe)) all comes to our house.   Lately, we keep getting mail for the neighbor, I assume because it sticks to our mail.   And mail for people in the campground in the summer, people who have phone hookups and cable, has our address for the billing address because technically, the ground that their trailer is on is considered our address.  Even though the office is next door.  Are you following me?  If you are feeling a tad bit confused, then you will not be surprised to see this.
This is what happens when my parents go away.  I bring in the mail and put it on their counter. I set it out by the day it arrived, with the newspaper for that day.   My father came home before my mother, and this is what he created.  There are at least 5 distinct piles.  My mother's mail, the business part of the campground, my sister e-ster who hasnt' lived at home for over a year, me and k-ster(because the mailman was apparently blind- this mail did have our proper address), people in the campground who get junk mail over the winter.  And my favorite, an envelope with an address for a woman who lives 2 miles from here.  The street name isn't even CLOSE to the to streets for which we get mail.  Her name isn't anything like any of our names.  And the house number, not even in the right number set.  Isnt' it a federal problem when you touch someone's mail that isn't yours?  When we have a mailman that's regular, he quickly learns names and knows that even if the address is wrong (like sometimes my mail still has my parents' address on it) which one to give it to.  And just wait until the registrations for the road race I chair start coming in.  That's always fun.

Years ago, when we got something delivered to us that was a for a company in the next town, my father was exclaiming about the incompetency of the mail service.

"Dad, don't you know that there's a sign at the post office that says if you don't know where the mail should go, just send it to xyz Campground?"

"Jesus Christ!  Well, that explains it.  I can't believe it...."  Cue lots of hysterical laughter from my mother and me.  Of course there's no sign.  Not out front where we can see it, anyway.  But I bet there is one in the mail sorting room.  Instead of that "lost" bin or whatever they call it, here in my town, they call it that "campground bin".  Can't figure out where it goes?  Just drop it off over there at the campground.  They'll take anything. 

K-ster remarked recently that I might have some diarrhea of the fingers.  Perhaps my last post was a tad long?  Should have been offered in installments?  Well, sometimes I'm a little off balance.  I mean, I could go back to this kind of inspiring post.

Oh, and one more thing.  See the request at the very top of my side bar?  My students are competing to win that podcast contest and the winner is chose by the popular vote.  It's a pain to vote but totally worth it.  Can you go do it for us?  Doesn't matter what country you're from!  Merci mille fois!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

And So, I Blog

Do you remember the first time you ever heard about a blog?  I do.  I remember thinking it was the DUMBEST thing ever.  This was in the early days of the user friendly internet.  There were some times in the 90s when I didn't think the internet was so easy to use.  About mid 90s, browsers became easier to use and then there were these things called WEBLOGS.  When my friend m-ster, who was such a techy hipster, first told us of his weblog, I was like "Why?  Who wants to know your every move?  Are you so important that we need to read this online journal of yours?"  I thought it was just a me-fest and purely useless.

Fast forward about a decade, and my mother has created a blog.  She uses it to post pictures of quilts, though 50% of the pictures are actually not quilt related at all.  And she puts a few words on it, but not much.  But she started doing this like 5 years ago, or so.  And I still thought blogs were not for me.  Just one more thing to get sucked into, I thought.  Just one more thing to distract me on a computer.  Nope.  Not for me.

I would search for things on google and often get directed to people's blogs and I just didn't like it.  I didn't have the patience to read through posts and comments.  And I still believed blogs were just a colossal waste of time.   A great place for my mother to put her pictures, but still, not for me.

About 2 years ago, I took a tech class for teachers about web 2.0 tools (all the free stuff we can use on the internet and didn't even know we could use!) and we had to create a blog.  I immediately began to see the usefulness of a blog for my classroom because it would become my new website.  I had had a website for a while, but it was cumbersome and I could only access it at home to make changes.  When I learned what a blog could do and how versatile it is, I was hooked.  For school.  Still not for home.

I decided it might be a smart business move to create a website for my lia sophia business.  And thus, this website was born.  But, I'm sad to say, my early days of posting S-U-C-K-E-D.  Or at least, compared to what I have now, it wasn't great.  But, how great can a blog about jewelry be?  I thought I'd create this blog, tell everyone what the monthly special was and then people would just magically find it and comment and I'd be a millionaire.  I had no idea how it all worked.  And I got no action.  With stimulating posts like this, I can't imagine why not!

And then it happened.  My very first blog that I enjoyed reading was Mi Vida Azar.  It was my sister a-ster's fault.  She sent me an email saying I had to go visit this blog.  This post was the one that had me laughing so hard, I might have wretched a little.  I'm laughing even now, and that was a whole year ago.  I kept thinking "wow, I can read all this hysterical writing, for free???"  And I'd go back every day, waiting for more knee slappers.   Go read it, I'll wait. 

Didn't I tell you???  When marybt gets on a roll, she really nails it.  And I loved her header.  And it got me thinking.  I wondered if other funny bloggers were out there.  Just writing about their take on life.  Sharing with us their humor and wit.  So, I looked in her blogroll to see who she liked and that's how I got started reading blogs.  Wow, I just went and looked at her blogroll to see if I could remember who I liked from her list, and found my own.  That's exciting!

So, for a couple of months, I poked around other people's blogrolls to find out who they liked and this led me to some really fantastic blogs.  You can see them all over there, on my blogroll.  I learned that I really like people who are funny on a regular basis.  Not I'm a comedian funny, but here's what I did today, can you believe it funny.

I like funny.   I like to think I am funny sometimes.  People often say "you are so funny" but I never think they mean that I should do stand up.  I think it's more that they don't know what I am, so funny seems to fit because it could be  ha ha funny or hey, does this smell funny to you?  I've always been better writing my thoughts than saying them.  I tend to speak too fast, forget major parts of the story, laugh too hard myself to continue the telling, etc.

So, I started writing to see what would happen.   I left comments on blogs that I liked, and learned that when you do that, people go and check you out too.   Thus the blogging community develops.  I've have some real winners, posts that still make me laugh to read even though I wrote them.  I've had some real duds.  And some posts that I thought sounded fantastic in my mind, but they just didn't come out right.

And I've learned that all of my favorite bloggers have off days.  Or they fall off the map for a while.  I've also learned that a few that I thought were awesome just weren't, so I deleted them from my blogroll to make room for others.  Because a major part of this for me is reading other blogs.  I feel that I must read them whenever they are updated.  Because I want to feel like people are that curious about mine too.

It's amazing to me how many bloggers I read are authors or aspiring to be authors. And this is where it all comes together for me.  I'm one of those many people that always thought I'd be a writer, in addition to my "real" job.  And some days, I still think that someday I will be a writer.  But, for the time being, this is my "book" and these posts are my chapters.

In no particular order, here are some of my favorite favorites and why they inspire me to keep blogging:

Some days I can't wait to see if the  laundress has an update because she writes like I wish I would.   And it might be a little bit that I'm influenced by all the pink on her site...

And then there's the narcissist who says things I'd never dare and cracks me up every time.  Which brings me to another reason I blog.  I say things in ways that out loud, I'd probably never say because they are either words I don't use out loud (boobs, pee, etc) or I can never get the words our fast enough.

Who doesn't love the girl?  She keeps having writing contests and I love that and her Feel Good Friday thing has really made me put things in perspective some weeks.  This brings another point to my blogging.  Sometimes, when I'm ready to kill someone because of their idiocy, I remember that I can go blog about this and it might be funny, and then, I don't kill someone.  Another very big plus.

29andholding has entertained me A LOT since I found her.  She, and all of the women I've mentioned so far, does a great job of mixing her role as a mother/wife/caretaker/employed woman and keeping it all light and entertaining.  I get so tired of those mothers who stop living so they can devote everything to their kids and I find that so unhealthy.  This inspires me to remember that there are normal people out there who still swear, still go on dates with their husbands and still want to leave their children with total strangers some days because they are so embarrassed by their children's behavior.  Not that 29andholding has ever said she would do that, that is my wording, but it's what I think.

Frogs has me cracking up every time I read too.  I spent a long time trying to decide if the frogs in her formula meant baby formula or the formula she had for her life.  She just had a 2nd baby and I enjoyed her commentary throughout her pregnancy.  And that she came back within days of giving birth, instead of locking herself in her bedroom like so many new mothers do.

There are so many more, but those are the people I go look for first.  When they get back to the top of my blogroll, it means they have updated and I just love that.  It's like I'm reading 20 books at once and I get to read a new chapter every time they post.  And, because I'm so thrifty, I also love that these "books" are all free!!  And I can comment and the authors actually respond to me.  Well, most of them, anyway.  Frogs, you never do, but I still read you.

When k-ster gets on my case and says it is so stupid that I am so stalwart in my refusal to use facebook, yet I will spend all this time blogging.  I try to explain that they are not at all the same.

First of all, these people don't know me from Eve.  And I like that.  Isn't it kind of fun to read someone's blog for a while and create the characters in your head?  Some post pictures of everyone in their families, but I also like those who don't because I have a very active imagination.  And if I get sick of them or offended, or just don't like their work anymore, I can just delete them and that's the end.  They don't get that very sad defriending message that you get on facebook.

Second, anyone who comes and reads my blog is there for a reason.  Either they were misdirected by some other site, or they found me somehow and actually like to see what I have to say.  They leave comments if they want, but if they dont' I'll never know if they came or not and what they thought.  I don't have to read on someone else's page that someone came to my site and thinks such and such.

Third, as I mentioned before, many of my fellow blogesses are aspiring writers, all in different places, and I like that.  If someone's blog is full of grammar and spelling errors, I don't bother.  I have no patience for bad writing.  If this were facebook, I'd be forced to read all the crap and then if I defriended, there's that sad message they have to get.  But, I can't ignore things if they are in front of me, therefore, if you bug me, I delete you.

Some bloggers have said that their husbands refer to the rest of us as imaginary friends.  Well, we kind of are.  Like I said, I like to imagine what they  like, what their family and house looks like, I picture where they work etc because of the quality of their writing.  I surround myself with people who I feel are like minded and from whom I can learn.

I've learned what I can do with this blog.  I've learned how to do things within the blog.  I've learned that shampoo is freakishly fantastic at getting out stains and grease.

And I like to think that people who visit my blog have learned from me.  That they look forward to my updates.  That they think I'm entertaining enough to forward me on to someone else. That they say to a friend "hey, I was just reading about that on someone's blog".

And I sure do get a kick out of myself.  I go back and reread sometimes and wonder who really said those words.  Me???  And other times, I groan and can't believe I thought that was so important or so funny at the time.  So, it's like an online journal that anyone and their brother can read.  But it's still kind of anonymous.  And if I don't like your comment, I can delete it.  So there.

So m-ster, I think back to 199-whatever, when I thought you were so self important that you thought people would read your weblog and I laugh because I'm doing the very same thing.  And I actually think you stopped your blogging a long time ago!!

So, that's why I blog.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Feel Good Friday- Really Stretching on This One


 Here we are and this is has been anything but a stellar week.  I've really had to search high and low for this one.  Really had to search.

1.  Let's go all the way back to last Sunday.  I went to tea with my friend j-ster and it was great.  I have become a tea whore.  I'll go have tea with anyone.  It's not the crumpets, scones or tiny sandwiches.  Or the tasty treats they try to give afterward.  It might have something to do with the pots of tea.  I like tea in pots.  I had Scottish tea, maybe a morning tea, and it was really nice. I like my tea naked.  The tea, not myself.  No lemon, sugar, milk.  And I had the ploughman's lunch.  I've had this in 2 places and it seems that the theme is several cheeses, some rolls and salad.  I enjoyed that but there was a cheese I did not love.  Bleu cheese.  Yuck.  But there was a good one with cranberries in it, so that made up for it.  They did not persuade us with their post lunch treats, so we left after the tea and lunch were gone.  So, that was fun.

2.  I had Monday off for Martin Luther King day and who doesn't love a day off?  Nothing earth shattering happened but it was nice to have a day off.

3.  I posted about Geek Girl Camp on Wednesday and things got very busy on my blog.  That was kind of exciting.  I didn't think about the idea of traffic picking up on my blog when I posted it, but it was nice to see action.  If you missed that post, go check it out.

Notice my language is that things were "nice"?  Not an inspiring week, this week.  Seriously.  This is all I can come up with.  I'll try to be more inspired this week.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Geek Girl Camp-You Can't Miss This

Yep, that's me!  And probably 99% of those of you who are reading this~!

So, what is this GEEK GIRL hoopla?  4 years ago, some very technologically savvy women decided that they'd heard enough women whine and moan about computers and their phones and all of the many things that now make up our high tech world.  Instead of continuing to pull these women back from the edge one at a time, they decided that maybe a boot camp would get these women into tech-shape:

They'd show them the ropes.
Get them tweeting.
Introduce them to blogging.
Show them what to do with pictures.

So, they had their first boot camp in a little restaurant and had it packed to the gills with women, like my mother, who are afraid that when they touch that magic button ALL of their hard work will just POOF disappear.  And when the heat from all those menopausal women freaking out learning about cool stuff, got up to about 200 degrees in that tiny room, they new they had something.  They had maybe 100 people the first year.  It was one evening, maybe 3 hours or so.

The next year, they had it in a satellite location of a community college.  This time, they decided to do a whole Saturday.  And create workshops where people could choose what to do.  And bring in a few more experts.  There were lots of rooms, with much more room, and they added things like a store and raffle.

And it exploded.  Hundreds or women.  THRILLED that they could choose what workshops to go to.  TICKLED that they left with new information and skills that they could use on their way home when they had safely parked their cars in their garages.

So, the next year, they had it in the same place, brought in even more amazing women to lead the workshops, and had even more women participate.  Like 300!!  And many were scholarshipped in.  Now we're talking.  Empowering women, letting them have fun AND giving them things covered in PINK???

This year, Geek Girl Boot Camp '11 is ready to roll on Cape Cod March 19th.  Where's Cape Cod?  77 miles east of Boston.   They are expecting 700+ people this year.

Are you ready???  Think you know everything there is to know?  Oh, you are so wrong.  These women could teach Mr. Jobs himself a trick or two.    It's affordable, you'll come away with so much, and they give you FANTASTIC swag bags!!  You'll proudly let everyone know you're a geek and you know how to use it. 

It's true,  I might enjoy the whole concept of Geek Girl because it's all about the pink.  Just look at their merchandise!!  And that logo.  It makes me just die laughing at how cute it is.  Each year, they come out with even more cool stuff for the swag bags and the store and I can't wait to see what's in store this year.

So come on, let your inner Geek Girl come out and join us!

Psst, if you want Geek Girl Boot Camp to come to your city, I might have secret access to the powers that be...  I accept large donations of dark chocolate, things that are pink and novels.

Disclaimer:  I did not, in any way, receive compensation for promoting Geek Girl Camp '11 on my blog.  I do, however, strongly support these women in their mission to educate and empower women in the field of technology so they have a fighting chance at succeeding in printing excel spreadsheets (with lines!!), posting to flickr, creating their blogs, tweeting and anything else you can imagine.  Plus, they give a significant contribution to scholarships for women.  And they are all about the pink.  And we have to do something to keep these mothers one step ahead of their techno savvy kids!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I'm Going to Install A Toll Booth

I know where I live is rural and we have lots of animals around.  Lots of birds, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, skunks and coyotes.  Thankfully, we don't have bears.  They would have to cross a canal to get here.  Or hitch a ride.  They haven't figured out how to do that yet.

In the summer, the rabbit population is mind blowing.  With the number of coyotes around, the population should be kept in check but it appears that rabbits aren't the plat du jour that the coyotes have in mind when they go hunting.  Maybe they are too easy?  No thrill in the hunt.  Maybe too bony?  They are wild rabbits but they look plump enough to me.  Maybe they taste gamey?  Household pets are much preferred by our local coyotes.

And the rabbits are way too big for any cats to chase, though the cats get all excited and try to go chasing after them.  Cats do succeed at catching baby rabbits, as evidenced by the day my cats brought in a baby bunny that ran behind the radiator.  I came downstairs to find two cats  fascinated by the radiator.  Poor bunny.

Since we've had the snow, the wildlife has become extremely visible lately.  The same insane squirrels that throw acorns at my mother all summer are now running amok looking for their hidden treasures.  And apparently the rabbits haven't been hibernating.  Can you see those tracks?  They have doubled since yesterday.  I don't see the rabbits, so I don't know when they're running around. But I'm putting in a toll booth.  I shoveled a path for humans the other day and the next morning, it was covered with little animal prints.

I am not a fan of squirrels because I think there are some living in my house, or at least climbing up the side of it at all hours.  And they usually ruin the pumpkin I put out in October. One year, I had grown some cute miniature pumpkins and put them out and the little shits picked them and ran off with them.  I watched one do it!  They usually gnaw into the big ones.   And they throw acorns at my mother on her deck all summer and make a mess.  She really hates that.  And in their Florida house, squirrels were in the attic doing some damage.  So, we aren't the biggest fans.  But, this one was cute this morning.  I threw out a banana peel the other day and it was hanging in a tree and then fell.  The squirrel found it and dragged it up onto the outdoor shower fence and was just tickled to be eating it.  I wonder why squirrels around here would eat a banana peel.  We are nowhere near tropical in these parts, so how would its discerning palette have any idea?  Look how fat he is!!!  He saw me take a picture of his profile and turned this way so I could get a better look.

Wildlife is way too crafty for its own good.  Sometimes that makes them cute.  Like the time that we had raccoons on the roof.  For as long as I can remember, we've had mice in the walls.  The house is 200+ years old, give it a break.  We rarely see them, and Gwenstopher usually catches them if we do, and there are no signs of droppings anywhere and they don't eat our food.  Occasionally, I'll get a guy in here to put poison cubes around and they eat them and then die in the walls and stink up the joint.  Anyone who lives in an old house knows this drill, I am sure.  So, scritching and scratching in the ceiling was nothing new.

One night, I heard what I was pretty sure was someone bowling on the roof.  I laid there for a few minutes, listening to the regular sound of what could only be something pushed down the roof and little feet scampering back up.  This was like 2am.  I finally woke up k-ster and he heard it too, so the investigation began.

First, we went upstairs to see if it was just the cat.  Yes, from 2 floors away, I could hear this roof nonsense!  The cats were nowhere to be found, but k-ster noticed that the noise seemed to be coming from a closet.  So we prepared.  He whipped open the closet- NOTHING.  But we kept hearing it.  So, I decided to go outside with a flashlight.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear?  A cute raccoon, frozen in space as I shined the light on it.  And shingles all over the ground!  As I stood there, he thought he could just sort of sneak away and slowly snuck to the other side of the house.  At this point, k-ster was outside too, so now we were each on a side of the house, him with the hose.  We were gonna get this little bugger!  It was 2:30am and we were determined.  Spraying the hose, trying not to make too much noise to wake the neighbors...

Somehow, he completely vanished.  Until we shined the flashlight at the chimney and saw his beady little eyes peeking out over the top.  Eventually, he ran off, or something, and we lost him.  But now there were shingles just ripped off the roof, laying all over the front lawn.  And he'd created a hole and pulled out insulation.  Can't you just picture it?  Sticking his little hand in there, rooting around, pulling out some good nesting material?

For reasons I still can't explain, k-ster went up on the roof and stuck a baseball bat in the hole.  I know, how bizarre!  In the morning, we were able to survey the damage in daylight and it was something!  It, or they, had peeled the flashing back from the chimney, peeling it like a banana.  And ripped off many shingles and parts of shingles and just cast them onto the ground.  The noise I heard that sounded like bowling must have been the shingled sliding down the roof.  And I think there must have been several raccoons.

It was raining by morning, and I was worried that rain would come in, so I called my father to come look at it.  He didn't believe me when I told him it was raccoons.  Then he came and looked, and stood there, speechless, with water streaming off his baseball hat.  Incredulous that raccoons did this damage.  Did he think k-ster and I had done this????  I think the baseball bat sticking out of the roof made it that much more bizarre.

We eventually had to reroof the house and took down any trees that were right beside the house and the problem stopped.  And they moved across the street to a house that was being sold and was unoccupied.  They systematically ripped off shingles on that house and made many holes in the roof.  When the new owners came I told them what had happened to us and they said someone told them that's what happened there.  And a neighbor behind them had scratches down the side of the corner posts where it looked like they had scratched it as they slid down his.

The maniac raccoons either gave up when the new shingles were too tough to rip off, or they kept moving on down the road.  I love wildlife but I am not a fan of wildlife that interferes with my life!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Feel Good Friday- Best So Far

It's Feel Good Friday and I have some great moments to share.  Go visit thegirl and link up your own Feel Good Friday when you're done reading mine!!

1.  So, 2 weeks ago, I had to go to the Boobologist for a baseline mammogram.  Ugh.  The 30s are not a fun decade.  Blood pressure worries.  Now a mammogram.  Not because anything felt wrong but because they like a baseline.  So I made the appointment ages ago and then it snuck up on me.  At 6pm one night.  It took like 20 minutes and was a breeze.  It's digital, so apparently not as painful as the other kind.  And much more modern.  My doctor told me I could go to several places that but the Breast Care Center would have digital mammography.  Well, who WOULDN'T choose the most modern???

So, it was relatively painfree and kind of surreal.  She was excited to only take 6 pictures instead of 8.  She reeked of peppers and onions.  And wanted to know all about Gwenstopher.  They don't fool me when they take such an interest in you or your pet.  It's all about distraction.  I'm no dummie.  She ended with the fact that 90% of people have to come back in for more screening because they need that for the baseline, so DO NOT BE ALARMED.  I only need to hear those 4 words to become VERY ALARMED.  She ended with "I mean, if it was something HORREDOUS, they'd call you right away, but otherwise, just wait for the results in the mail."  A direct quote, I swear.  Great bedside manner.  OH GREAT.  I spent each day for a few days worried when the phone rang.  After about a week, I decided it was nothing "HORRENDOUS", so I forgot about it.

Until the snow day.  Thankfully, I went to the mail later in the day, or I would never have accomplished anything that day.  The pink paper (that is a little trite, isn't it?) said to come back for more images and that it was PROBABLY NORMAL, so DO NOT BE ALARMED.  Cue VERY ALARMED FACE AND BODILY REACTIONS- racing heart, shaking, worry, stomach ache.

I didn't like the appointment time, so I called to reschedule.  The girl was so nice, accommodating my every need, and we determined that today was perfect because it's a professional day of workshops, not kids, so I could miss the afternoon.  And otherwise, my choice was in February and though she said I could wait, it was with caution that she said "I mean, it doesn't matter to me, you can wait if you want.  It's all what you're comfortable with."  Oh, umm I'm comfortable with a world that doesn't have disease, thanks.  

Many scenarios played in my head over the last 48 hours.  Knowing I feel nothing bizarre, my doctor wasn't worried when she saw me in September and there were no calls of the HORRENDOUS nature did nothing to alleviate the imaginings I was able to produce.

At last it was time.  So, I arrived a little early and was taken right in.  This time, a different woman did the images and she was ultra serious and didn't care about me or my cat.  She started with something about why I needed to come back in, didnt' say it was normal, and that we'll see what the radiologist says after that.  She was quick, didn't smell like food and quiet.  This time, it wasn't the 6, it was just 4, but of particular areas.  Dun dun dun.

Then I had to sit and wait for 15 minutes, so I crocheted my brains out.  Another woman came in and said the radiologist would like me to have an ultrasound, so could I go with her.  Yes, this had been mentioned as a possible part of the "normal" routine, but I wasn't buying it.  In I went to this room that they tried to make very cheerful.  And cozy.  Though with lots of birdhouses painted on the wall and that didn't make me too happy.  And she began to do the ultrasound, going over the same places over and over.  And making my heart rate just fly right up.  Then she did the other side, so I at least felt like maybe nothing was weird.  Maybe just some dense fibers.  I am a pretty solid person, so dense tissue wouldn't surprise me at all.  And I dont' have big bazoongas, so I can't imagine there's much room in there, so everything must be dense.  BUt this side required her to dim the lights and do a lot of squinting at the screen.  Not a feel good moment.

And it got worse when she said she'd go show them to him to see if he wants more but she hurried out of the room and banged the door.  I really hate birdhouses on the wall and that's what I had to look at for a few minutes.  Imagining all sorts of things in my head.  

I guess she's just a door banger because she banged back in and gave me a paper that says everything is dandy and I'm all set to go.  Phew.  What a sigh of relief.  What a pain in the ass.

So, Breast Care Center?  Let me make a suggestion.  Since you claim 90% of your patients have to come back for more images when getting a baseline, how 'bout you schedule them for 2 visits to begin with.  And you don't tell them that the 2nd one is a normal follow up.  You just make it standard that you have 2 visits.  And then if they see everything clearly the first time, you call that lucky 10% back and say "hey, you've got nice boobs, dont' come back for a year.  And go play the lottery!"  This way, people like me wont' get all worked up about receiving the notice to come back.  And you'll save a lot of paper, time, postage and ink because you won't have to send out those follow up letters.

And you can still tell people in between the visits that if anything HORRENDOUS is on the images, they'll call right away.  Oh, maybe that would make it scary to be the 10% who has great first time images and gets the call not to come in for round 2 because they look great.  But, scaring 10% seems a lot nicer to me than scaring 90% of your patients, doesn't it?  You could send those 10% a singing tellegram like this":
da da da da da da:
about your recent test
you have no cancer in the breast
so jump and cheer
see you next year!

You're welcome.

2.  On a much lighter and more fun note, my 8th graders My Impression of Impressionism project made the paper and there's a picture of some kids and me and a great article.  Except she was a little dramatic with this quote "If you don’t understand French, you don’t have a prayer of passing"  Not really.  So, which one is me?

3.  We had a fun supper of pizza last night with j-ster, j-ster and c-ster.  J-ster is very funny now that he's 1.5 and he loves my braided rug that I made.  Something about the colors, I think.  When he was crawling, he would sit on it.  And one time, I pulled it toward me with him on it and gave him a ride.  He remembered.  And now I have to do it over and over.  That's not going to last much longer as he gets bigger.  But he was having a blast last night.  They went sledding the other day and he loved it, so I am sure he thought this was like sledding.  Only without the bulky clothes and runny nose!

4.  I've booked 2 lia sophia shows this week and February is looking great.  It always happens that when it seems like I'm out of shows, someone books out of the blue and saves my ass.  This is not how they recommend that you do business and they would croak if they knew what a back seat I take.  But this is not my full time job, it's just for fun money.  So, I let it do its thing.  I don't recruit.  FOR SHAME.  And I don't bug people.  NO WAY.  And I don't always remember to wear jewelry.  SAY IT'S NOT TRUE.  But I like it and it's great extra income.  Go see my All That Glitters page if you want to know more and get a deal!

5.  I had a snow day this week and it was so productive!  I recommend having at least one per month.  Something about an unscheduled day off leads to great things.  Like solving a mystery on my serger that I've never been able to solve.  And making pillows I've been meaning to make since I made the new curtains last February!  And cleaning and cleaning.

That's it folks.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Admit It, I Stole This Story

Because I haven't had anything funny to say lately and this had me rolling on the floor when I heard it.  Because if you have the lack of patience that I have, and treasure sleep as much as I do, you too will imagine yourself in the very same scenario.

This is my mother's story, but she doesn't tell stories on her blog(though she did blog long before I did, so she gets the techy award for that), so I'm telling it for her.  I've created my own quotes because I wasn't there and it adds to the story. Otherwise it would be like 2 sentences and far less amusing.  I think my father might really have said nothing, but I imagine this is what he would have said.

One night recently, my mother noticed that the bathroom light was on while she was in bed.  And she assumed my father was in there.  It was bedtime and she imagined that she'd never get to sleep until he got back into bed, so she lay there waiting, wondering when he'd be done and getting annoyed because she wanted to sleep. 

At some point, she must have dozed off, and when she woke up, she realized the light was still on in the bathroom.  So, she yelled "G, are you going to be in there much longer????"

To which my father, laying right beside her in bed yelled "I'm right here, what the hell do you want????"

So now, my father's heart was racing because he'd been woken from a dead sleep by the megaphone right beside him and my mother's heart was racing because she had no idea he was actually in bed and she'd been sleeping all along.   She said it took a long time for them to calm down and go back to sleep.

I can so completely picture myself doing this very same thing, even with the dozing off in the middle, and being out of my mind furious when k-ster yells right beside me.  And all  because I saw the light, thought he'd wake me up when he got back into bed, fell asleep annoyed that he might be keeping me awake. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Crying Wolf and Feeling Holy

Do you see this?????  This is why I've called you here. Do you see that very thin layer of slush?  Do you know how dangerous slush can be?  So dangerous that they have to cancel school!  That's right.  All of the superintendents in the area drank the Kool Aid  and hopped on the school cancellation bus which made a stop in my town.

All because last night, the weathermen said BIG STORM, BLIZZARD, WATCH OUT, DANGER, WILL ROBINSON. I taught a Will Robinson many moons ago.

I remember as a child that the ONLY TIME we had school canceled the night before would be if there was such bad storm, we couldn't shovel out for days.  And even that was a very rare occurrence.  Instead, we woke up and stood around the radio (it was rare to put it on TV in my younger years, not implying I'm so old we didn't have a TV) waiting for the big announcement.  And really, my mother always knew before we did because my father plowed.    Those were exciting times.

But now, we have such sophisticated equipment, everyone believes that the weathermen can't be wrong.  Right?  I mean, they have Doppler.  They have Pinpoint something or other.  THey know their shit, right?  How can they be wrong?  And, we always have to think about being sued, thanks to the great, sue happy country where we live.

SO, superintendents are put in yet another non enviable position.  They have to decide what to do.  And they call each other.  I envision lots of scenarios among supers.  In my high school and early teaching years, I didn't know that they all talked to each other to make the decisions.  So, I envisioned Dr. M out there with ihs ruler on his deck measuring to see if there was 5 inches (the fictitious minimum amount to cancel school) at 5am.  Because, the buses have to get out early, so the decision must come at 5 or 5:30.  Dr. M had 5 kids around my age, so I always pictured them huddled around the slider as dad went out to measure and then all the cheering and excitement when he'd say "well kids, let's cancel school.  Who wants to call the radio stations to tell them????"  And all the very sad faces when he said "sorry kids, looks like 4.75 inches.  School's on, now go get dressed" and then they had to face all of their friends who called their father an asshole all day.

Because really, what other pleasure is there in life than to be told you  have a snow day?   I don't really think there can be another unexpected delight.  Even though we all know we have to make up that day.  We know, thank you, we know.  I will never forget June of 2005 when we went to school until, sit down for this, JUNE 30th.  I kid you not.  In all of my years in school, that's since 1979, I have never been in school until that obscene date.  We had a hellacious year of snow and used up those 5 days they build into the calendar and there we were.  The contract says you can't go into July, or I think we might have been one day into it!

So, for the confessor over at untenuredteacher, I know you just recently posted about your mean school district that made you have school on a snow day and you think they were thinking only of money, I'm confused.  We have to make up our snow days, so money isn't an issue here.  I don't quite understand your post.  Will you all not make up that time?  Tell us, please!

Anysnowday, back to what I imagine goes on in the world of today's supers.  I now picture that the email starts several days before:

What do you think?  Is this storm coming?
I dunno.  Will we have to cancel?
Is this going to be like 2005? 
We can't make anyone happy, no matter what we do.

And it all goes round and round.  Then the day before:

Well, the guy on channel 5 says...
Wait, let me see what channel 7 says...
That idiot over on fox news says...
Wait, didn't that idiot graduate from your fine institution a while back?
Oh yeah, well, he can't be trusted.  Remember last week's storm he said we wouldn't get?
Well, I'm not canceling, I don't care if we have 23 feet.  What about you guys? 
I'm not canceling.
I'm not the one who's going to make that call.
Let's all agree not to close school so no one looks like the bad guy!
Yeah, yeah! 

After supper the night before, lots of texts abound:

Think we better cancel.
Yeah, it sounds like it might be big.
We can't have another accident.
Yeah, I'm in.

And so they call and they do the Alert Now and we all do our happy dance.  Well, not all.  The cynics complain that we will just have to make it up in June.  The mothers complain that now they have to actually spend the day with the children and all those kids want to do is drink hot chocolate because they see snow and someone told them snow and hot chocolate are a pair never to be severed.  And then we wait.

And no snow comes.  And people accuse the weathermen of being big liars.  And they say things like "huh, must be nice to have a job where you can just LIE and still get a paycheck"  or "wow, you'd think with all this technology they'd get it right JUST ONCE.  IDIOTS"  And I have indeed said those things.  But I dont' know why.  Because I always find that in June, I can get out of bed MUCH EASIER than I can in January.  And June wardrobes are fun more fun to wear than January wardrobes.  Not that I want to go to school for all of June every year.  But I savor the snow day.

And then I wonder what the supers do on these snow days.  Do they go to their offices?  Do they sit and home and remember the joy of being a teacher and having to stay home and do all the stuff we never do during the week because we're at school?  Do they sleep in?  Does a superintendent ever sleep in?

We have a professional day this Friday, so this week was a lost cause as far as I'm concerned.  Because I see my students 3 days a week, and there are 5 days in a school week, having one day off is a royal pain.  I like to keep everyone in the grade on the same page.  This is very difficult with a week that has less than 5 days.  So, adding a snow day into this week doesn't make me upset at all.

In other news, is it inappropriate to wear a dress to school that you know has holes in it?  Like you see them before you leave the house and you wear it anyway?  BEcause you just bought the dress and you LOVE IT?  And you're pretty sure it looks so great on you that no one will notice?  And because you bought it at Marshall's for 39.99 but the tag you cut off says it was 128.00 so you are sure it's the best quality you've ever seen?  They were kind of near my underarm.  In the back.  No one said a word.

And it turns out, they aren't really holes.  They are, but they are meant to be there.  There should be a thread holding the fabric together in those spots to make that figure 8 pattern you see on the others and somehow they popped out.  But I can fix that. So I am pleased.  HOwever, the dress hugged a little more than I wanted so i wasn't as thrilled as I wanted to be.  It's a knit but it's a loose knit and the bottom is an awesome swingy flair thing.  But I wore them with knit leggings and there was sort of a static thing going on.  If I stood, it was fine, but walking made things kind of bunch at the knees.  But I love the color.  And sometimes that color is smashing on me.

I wore with it a retired lia sophia piece that a woman fell in love with.  I told her if she booked a show, I'd give it to her as a booking piece.  She did.  And I will.  I don't like the piece anyway, so we all win!  Maybe my joy of knowing I had a snow day to look forward to was catchy and that's why she booked.

And sadly, this is my end of technology use for the day.  I wanted to declare today a total tech free day, just to see what would happen.  I have this habit of not using my days off very well and I spend a lot of time in the blogosphere.  This means laundry doesn't get put away and things do not get cleaned up.  And I don't sew or read as I plan.  So, in 25 minutes, I have to shut off the computer.  I am allowed to turn it on once to let my crocheters know (all 13 of them!!) if we are having crocheting this afternoon.  But I have to see what the weather does because I don't want to cancel if I dont' have to.  And then it's going right back off.  I'm strong.  I am sure I can do this.  And it might be because we are having j-ster, c-ster and j-ster over tomorrow for supper and this place looks like a bomb went off in the laundry basket (clean of course) and things must get cleaned up.  Or they might report me.  To the same people that my mother always worried would people would report her to if her house was not straightened out.  I don't live in too much fear of those people, but when my house looks like this, I do.  Oh, you thought I was going to post a picture there?  uh-uh.  A picture couldn't do justice to this clutter.

And in case you were wondering, canceled has just one l but cancellation has 2 ls.  No wonder people in this country cannot spell.

And finally, for those who were worried about the state of my neck, it is better.  Yesterday it was much better and I went to Dr. Chiro for my monthly dance with paralysis and he manipulated my neck and back and it felt really good.  But I woke up today with it tight again.  K-ster should stop dancing on my head while I'm sleeping and maybe this would stop happening.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Take 2 Cups of Coffee and Bend Over Slightly; Then Why Doncha Shovel Some Snow?

I do not drink very often.  I have been slightly hungover once.  I remember that it felt very bad to pick up my head.  This morning I woke up at 5am with the worst stiff neck I've ever felt.  I have not had a drop to drink in a long time, so I am not  hungover.  I am not sick, either.  This is not a swollen glands kind of stiff neck.  Or one that I think means I have some horrendous disease.  This is a stiff neck that came from doing something vile with my body. 

Like carry small children on my shoulders.  I did not.

Like walk for hours with a heavy bag slung over one shoulder only.  I did not.

Like work out at the gym and do an excessive amount of things related to shoulder/back muscles.  I did not.

Like sleep with your head pushed down VERY HARD on one side while keeping your shoulder glued to your ear all night.  I must have. 

So, it's either that last one, or maybe it's related to some cleaning I did yesterday.  Like taking down the Christmas tree ornaments.  Very heavy work.  Or paying some bills.  Excruciating.  Or fighting with Citizens bank on the phone and then in person(I won, for this month at least).  Or driving to do some shopping.  Or trying on some pants.  That's probably what did it.

As you can see, I did nothing yesterday that would warrant such a bizarre pain that hanging the phone back up made me wince.  And so did bending over to feed the cat.  As did carrying something that might have weighed 10 pounds in the other hand, not the hand of the side that is so tight.  And simply holding up my very heavy head on top of my neck.

Some would race for the medicine cabinet and pop some ibuprofen or something like that.  I don't love to race for the pain relievers.  Instead, I prefer to mumble to myself about how it hurts and marvel and how something so seemingly unconnected to my neck (my opposite obliques for example) can move and cause such excruciating pain.  And then I like to test it out and see just what moves make it hurt.  So I will know not to  do that move again, of course.  I am not a doctor but I love to play one with myself.  Because I know my body so well, right?  And because I am not totally in love with over the counter medicine.  Or any medicine really.  Not such a fan of herbs, either.  I just want the body to fix itself.

So, I invest in monthly chiropractic adjustments.  I know, for those of you that think chiropractics is the anti-christ, I am totally with you.  I have friends who stand shocked that I think Claritin and Benadryl will destroy your immune system and that taking anything daily must not be normal (including vitamins), but I will allow someone to manhandle me because he has a certificate that says he can.  I confess that each time he adjusts me I say a little prayer that this will not be the day that he paralyzes me and that I will still walk and act like a fully functioning person.  But, I will testify that without these monthly adjustments, I would limp because my hips bother me.  And I have had a foot issue or two.  And I sprained my ankle and a different chiropractor made it better (I went to a different guy for a while and liked him equally well but he said lewd things about women so I stopped going to him)  And a few stiff necks, though nothing like this.  And there was the lower back issue I had for a while.  But they fixed it all.  And it's just one more quirk in the contradictions that make me me. 

And I drink the Kool Aid and believe that yes, Virginia, chiropractics does keep me healthy.  I firmly believe that part of is is purely psychological:  I go for monthly adjustments, thereby keeping my body properly aligned, and therefore stress and other things that cause illness stay away.   And 99% of the time, he makes my pain or what feels like it's weird and will soon become pain go away.  All for $6.56 per visit because my insurance also believes that chiropractics is ok.

I have no doubt that it is mostly psycological.  If we think we are healthy, aren't we most likely to act like we are healthy and take measures to maintain that health?  When we were little, my mother would go to this same guy and he would adjust us.  And we're still kicking, walking around upright, no major crises yet.  The psych aspect first came in when my sister was still wetting the bed and he encouraged my mother to have her put just a drop of mineral ice, which used to be a chiropractor's secret weapon but now is everywhere, just below her belly button every night and this would keep her from wetting the bed.  And it did.  Now really, was a topical menthol ointment responsible for dry sheets?  Did regular adjustments made her bladder and brain connect and keep her from wetting the bed?  Of course not.  He could have achieved the same thing by asking her to put a dab of peanut butter on her left toe.   But the conscious act of applying it every night and the bribery of getting a present from the chiro if she went a certain time without wetting the bed  and the regular visits certainly did.  So, I am willing to let me trick myself if it means less medicines in my body and more illusion of good health.  

That being said, it's Sunday. And though I am on  a first name basis with Dr. Chiro and I babysat his kids for a few years and know where he lives and he said I can call him anytime, I just can't do it on a Sunday.  And I know that it's so tight, he can't really adjust it right now.  All he can do is used that weird trigger thing they have and for that, I can wait.  So, instead of reaching for the Advil, I reach for the caffeine.  With certain types of pain in my body, caffeine is all I need.  I know, it's a drug.  It's available in some herbs (guarana, I know).  How is it different from popping an Advil?  Or Excedrin which actually has caffeine in it?  I don't know.  It's not different, but to my brain, it is.  So I had a cup of tea and a cup of coffee (can you tell?) and I now have far more movement in my neck and when I turn, it's not like someone just whacked me with a 2x4.  I think blogging helped.

But I still don't know how I will put on my boots or shovel the snow.  Because we had snow last night.  Isn't it pretty?  How many pictures do we have to see of snow before we get sick of it?  See my hammock sitting there in the third picture, taunting me?  I usually take it down in October, but somehow I forgot and then when I go to get it, it's wet and I just forget.  And now it's been out in 3 snowstorms.  I love my hammock so much, I wish I could go lay in it and read right now.  I know I could put on my snowpants and coat, but how much fun is that?  If it was directly in the sun, I might think about it.  But it's in the shade.  An excellent place in the summer, but not so warm in the winter.

So, I will tackle some tasks inside and if I'm not screaming in pain, I'll give grocery shopping a whirl. I'll have to put on my boots so I can tromp through the snow.  Don't know how I will do that.  Reaching is a bit of an issue.  I had big cleaning up plans for today.  Maybe not so much cleaning now.  I just never catch up, no matter what I do.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ta-DAH Feel Good Friday and the Last Day of Christmas

So, it's Feel Good Friday again.  Thank God thegirl returned to Feel Good Fridays.  It was weird being all alone for 2 weeks, not having anyone to link to.  Go read her post- it's great.  It's something I am thinking of using a post of my own soon.  I am using a computer that won't let me put in the pretty FGF picture, so you'll have to bear it without the prettiness.

First though, I have to do my last day of Christmas. The thing that will make you say HMMM.  Here it is.  Oh, it is making you say EWWW?  Or WTF?  Good, you can chew on that for a while as I post my feel goods and then I'll clue you in.

1.  So, it's Friday and I've had some good laughs this week.  I think I will start with the one that took place just today.  We got an email from the dean yesterday saying that he would be out today and so would the principal.  This would leave some people in charge who are never in charge, so it spelled out C-H-A-O-S just waiting to happen.  So, some of us joked that the only thing that would make the day even better would be to have a fire alarm.  We have had some issues with fire alarms.  2 years ago, we all stood in the rain for 20 minutes when an alarm went off.  When the firefighters finally came, it was still another 5-10 minutes before were let back in.   It was a faulty sensor but the rain didn't know that.  It was outrageous.  Then there was an actual small fire in a trash can one time.  Then there were a variety of faulty sensor things.  So, we are all a little shell shocked about the fire alarm around here.

This morning's email from the principal said she would actually be here, should we need her.  So, lo and behold, the fire alarm went off at 9:44.  And out we all trudged, many of us shocked that we had joked that maybe the alarm would go off, and then it did.  Faulty sensor again.  Oh, did I tell you it's 26 degrees?  And no one lets kids go to their lockers to get jackets.  But smart teachers like me learned a lesson and now I bring everything I own, including my phone so I can text k-ster and tell him you won't believe where I'm standing.  It's all very funny when it's not a real fire and I get to wear my nice warm coat and gloves.

2.  I offered a crocheting class at the Cultural Center a few months ago and I had 5 people.  We had a nice time, I made some money, the Cultural Center made some money and some ladies learned to make granny squares.  So, I thought I'd offer it again.  Wednesday, I had 13 people in my class!!!!  Do you know anything about trying to teach 13 women how to start a craft project- AT THE SAME TIME????  I need my head examined.  And everyone was at different levels.  At least I didn't have what I can any anklebiters.  Anklebiters are students who just keep nipping at your ankles, making it really annoying and you constantly trip over them.  I had one in my last session.  I needed to hold her hand.  She was quite proficient and didn't need hand holding.  She didn't return.  And so far, I don't have anyone biting me in this one.  It's nice to have such a big class, but it's overwhelming!  At least people were patient.  It was listed in our local paper as a Best Bet, which is why they all signed up.  OH THE PRESSURE. I'm no master crocheter (crochetresse?), I just know how to do some stuff and that's more than most people know, so I can do that.  4 more weeks.  We'll see if it was a Best Bet for real.

3.  I got my new crop of 6th grade French students and they seem to be a good group so far.  I've heard good things about them.  One class makes me laugh because it's like my own private high school reunion.  I know many of their parents because I went to school with them.  Over the years, I have had students of my former classmates, but it's been kind of scattered.  Now, we are at an age where it would make sense to start seeing more and more of them, but this 6th grade seemed to be lacking many kids of parents who I know.  Ahh but they are all in one class.  And they don't know I know.  So I have my own little laugh here and there when I look at the names.  2 of them are daughters of girls I was a cheerleader with.   That one really makes me laugh.

4.  We started the painting phase of the My Impression of Impressionism project in 8th grade and they seem to really like it.  This is the "dessert" the fun part of the project.  What wasn't so fun was contributing to the wiki and creating the photostories.  You can see what that's all about here.   One student actually asked if we can listen to a French radio station online while they paint.  Absoluement!  I'm thrilled that I had enough supplies from last year's grant so I didn't have to go spending money.

5.  K-ster's family had Christmas part 2 on Saturday and that's always fun.  This family is large and the grandparents are still kicking, in their 80s and there are a mess of great grandchildren now.  I don't think they all realize how cool it is that 5 generations of them come together every year for c-family Christmas.  It's pretty remarkable.  We basically sit around and shoot the breeze, eat lots of food that people bring and then do a mini Christmas with people who didn't come to real Christmas.  And with the little kids, they get the presents now and we big kids get a couple here and there.

I always enjoyed going to c-family Christmas, but I would get bored and eventually leave.  These days, I'm one of the last to leave because it's fun and sometimes we play games.  No games this year though, but it was good.  K-ster's aunt and uncle added an office to their house a few years ago and there's a huge room and then another one upstairs that's like a man cave.  The office is perfect to set out the food and for everyone to stand around and talk.  And this year, the little kids were sent to the man cave with a cousin to supervise.

It's fun to see all of the family traits that flow through k-ster's family.  They share a name and so much more.  There are mostly boys that are our age and they all look so much alike.  Strapping young men with strong beards.  Well, 30 something young men.  Funny though, the little cousins are mostly girls.  I guess they've all married women's whose genes know what they are doing.

Wow, my feel goods are mostly teaching related.  That's bizarre.  Oh, maybe because teaching (school, at the gym, at the Cultural Center) consumes most of my life....

So, what the heck is that picture for my last day of Christmas?  It's called a String of Pearls plant.  I saw it in an organic magazine and thought it was really cool.  I never thought my sister would actually be able to find it, but the nursery she went to had 2 of them!  Doesn't it look like peas?   It smells like peas too.  It's supposed to be a fast grower and it's ornamental.  It's already going crazy where I've hung it.  If you touch it, it has that slight sticky feeling that makes you think if you stand there for a minute, it will actually wrap around you.  Like kudzu.  It comes from Africa.  It probably is a weed there.  The picture I saw had "pearls" that were kind of marbled looking.  The pearls on mine are pure green but maybe they will marble and get bigger.  It says it can be outside down to 36 degrees, so it might be a candidate for my greenhouse next winter.  Because it will be complete by next winter.  I am sure of it.

Now go link up with the girl and post your own FGF!

p.s. here's a funny email I received.  It's pure spam, though the person claimed they are someone I know.  They get sneakier and sneakier.  They totally stole my own words and wrapped them into their very warped sentences.  I can't wait until she buys the compilite jewerly and I'm so glad she respects my decission.

hi my name is fereidoun. i`m happy you get you  great job with no
pressure. I set my own hours and decide how much I want to work. i
like jewerly, I decided when we getting married i  will buying the
compilite jewerly for you, . Selling jewelry is a fun part time job,
but I'm respect to your decission a tomboy or another kind of
hairstyle . I live in the house I grew up in, in a big city. I study
in the district where I to live there. I have a boyfriend of too many
years to mention. His name is k-ster and he grew up two towns over
from me. I recently began to ride a horse which was a lifelong wish. I
finally decided to giving offering to the sweet relationship with you
are you ready.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2 days of Christmas

I know, only two more!  I'm so tired, I almost forgot to do today's post.  You know when you set yourself up for a day that is just so busy you aren't sure how you're going to get out of bed?  One of those days where it's 8:30am and you feel like you've already lived the whole day?  That's how today was.  But the saving grace was the canceled faculty meeting so I have an extra hour of freedom I didn't expect.  But, I digress.  On to gift #2, IT'S A SLICE OF WONDERFUL. I  know it's time to wrap up my 12 days of Christmas because my names are getting cheesier and cheesier.

I have no doubt that some of these gifts I have listed have made you seriously consider your time spent reading my blog and whether or not you should call some kind of authorities or at least an asylum on my behalf.  Do you know what these are?  I thought the one on the right was a tea strainer or a lemon reamer.  Wrong on both accounts.  Do you know what the left one is?  That one, I asked for.  

They are tomato/egg/mushroom slicers.  The one on the left could also slice your fist into 8 equal slices.  It's marvelous.  I needed a new slicer and, as I am always on a quest to question whether or not my food utensils and serviceware are "safe" I have now decided I don't want a plastic slicer.  I only want stainless steel.  Not so easy to find.  The tines are always listed as stainless, but the rest is always plastic.  I bought one that was pretty cheap and claimed to be stainless but it felt funny and one run through the dishwasher and it turned black and left black all over me.  Probably not too safe.  Screams of lead.  

So, I found this one on the left, completely by accident, and told k-ster's mother she could get me that because she was bugging him about why I didn't have a list.  This was a pricey one, so I figured she'd never buy it and would stick to random books.  Surprise.  It has a stainless top that has these insane serrated blades that they say will cut tomatoes, mozzarella balls, etc.  I tried it on a tomato and it was dandy.  The tray below is plastic and I don't HAVE to use it, so I'm OK with that.

As for exhibit #2.  This was from e-ster.  I have never seen a slicer like this.  I believe it will nicely slice eggs, but tomatoes and mozzarella might not slice so well.  I told her it felt a little funny, kind of like the other one I tried, but she said to try it and let her know.  E-ster, I am sorry to announce, it's blacker than blacker after putting it through the dishwasher.  I hope you kept the receipt.  

My father looks at the amount of cook ware, utensils and cookbooks we give each other for Christmas and swears we are secretly opening a restaurant.  This year was no different, though I do remember thinking there was some other theme this year that I was surprised he didn't comment on.  But I forget what it was.  Because he didn't comment.  Which is weird.  It might be the books.  We got lots of books.  He got lots of shirts, so he might be opening a shirts store.  And this made us question:  every year we give him at least 2 chamois shirts.  And we know he really beats on shirts and they live a very full life before being tossed.  But, we don't think they ever get tossed.  He wears some with rips in the them.  But they don't all rip.  So, are there some that have been segregated to the back of his closet that he forgets about?  It seems to us that many go in, but few come out.  My mother even mentioned there are some up there that are ancient.  There are 7 days in a week and winter only lasts so long, so just what does he do with all of those shirts????

Ok, tune in tomorrow for the very last one.  It's a goodie.  It will make you say HMMMM.