Saturday, November 30, 2013

Say What to What?

I've confessed that I get a certain amount of sick pleasure out of watching some of the TLC shows like Say Yes to the Dress or Toddlers and Tiaras.  I don't watch them all the time, but sometimes, when there's nothing else on and I need background noise, I get a kick out of them.

I used to love Say Yes to the Dress before the added the Atlanta version.  Then they made the Atlanta version watchable, so when I came upon a marathon of the Atlanta version the other day, I decided I would watch it while doing grades.

Side note.  We have this fabulous grading program that allows you to perform absolute magic with grades and it can even post online for those overbearing parents who like to know every.single.facet of their child's grade.  I was a huge champion of this program for years and when they threatened to save money and take away the online version, I fought to keep it.

Here in the lower grades, they use this program, but since we don't give ABCDF grades, it's completely useless.  Thankfully, I discovered this before I started to put in grade for 510 students.  However, now that I have to use it to actually send grades to the office, I'm spending my Thanksgiving break doing just that.  I don't have to put grades for everything in there, I just have to put the final grade and comments.

But it's not that easy.  First, I have to compute them in my gradebook.  I decided that doing it by hand will actually be faster than entering every grade now and then having to convert them to grades that actually go on the report card.

But faster doesn't mean lickety split fast.  It's still taking 450 years to do these.

Anyway, I was watching the marathon of Say Yes to the Dress when I came  upon an episode that had me in stitches.

Do you watch this show?  If not, you need to know that usually, a bride brings with  her a party of somewhere near 8 people to witness the saying of yes to the dress.  I don't even know 8 people whose opinions I would even listen to, let alone all of their opinions on the same dress.

What really makes me roll on the floor is when they bring their fathers.  And some of these fathers actually have opinions.  Like they know what they are talking about.  There was a really awful episode that I saw once where it was just the bride and her father and he ended up insisting she get a dress what was all sheer lace, so it looked like she had a bikini or lingerie under her dress.  That episode made me sick.

Most fathers are not so skeevy.  Most sit there looking like they would rather be somewhere else.  A lot will say things like how pretty they look or how there is way too much cleavage.

If you don't know my father, you  need to know that you'd have to knock him out and drag him through the door and no amount of questions would get him to add his opinion about a dress.  He wouldn't say things like "no alleys, no valleys and none of that tight mermaid stuff."

My favorite father episode was the father who is a pastor who insisted she would not have so much cleavage showing.  The daughter was very sassy and was like "if I like the dress, I WILL say yes to the dress!" and the father said "that's fine but I will say no to the dough!"

The idea of bringing my father to help me choose a wedding gown entertains me to no end.

Grandmothers are another great source of fodder, especially the old fashioned, southern kind.  They want long sleeves and turtlenecks made of lace.  Nothing pleases those ladies and they are adamant about telling what would be proper.  For 1943, not 2013.

On this episode, there was no father or super southern grandmother, just a very rude mother.  I missed part of it, so I'm not sure what happened with the mother of the bride dress, but when I came in, the bride had on a dress that made her very happy.  Right in the middle of telling everyone how much she loved it, her mother jumped off the couch and raved about how she had found her mother of bride dress.

Show stealer.

So, back to the bride.  She had a short dress that had a removable skirt of tulle so it looked like a ball gown.  Here are the comments that cracked me  up:

Bride: I love the peekaboo two for one!  (the tulle comes off so she gets two dresses in one)

Mother: It's kind of plain.  That bottom part looks like mosquito netting.

Sales rep:  That's tulle

Mother:  It's so plain.  I think it needs some embezzlement.  (no one corrected her- ugh!)

Sales rep:  How is it now with some sparkles?

Everyone loved it.  It was THE dress.

Except it was over budget by $200.  So, they asked the mother if maybe she could find a different mother of the bride dress so they could afford the bride's dress.

And the big answer was no.

So they both left without a dress.  Because they were $200 over budget and the mother wouldn't find a different dress for herself.


If the mother had changed her dress, they would have been able to keep everything on budget.  Instead, if she couldn't have her dress, ain't nobody gettin' any dresses.

She didn't say those words, but that was the attitude.

My chin hit the floor.

Linking here: 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Danger: Do Not Try This Yourself

Since my Thanksgiving amazement Cranberry Salsa is such a hit, I had to bring it to Thanksgiving this year.  I brought it to Christmas Part 2 last year, but it wasn't as much of a hit as I thought it should be.  I thought I'd try again, when there was likely to be less of a variety of food on the table because there were fewer guests.

It's really so simple:

12oz cranberries

1 bunch cilantro

1 bunch green onions chopped to 3 inch lengths

1 jalapeƱo minced

Juice of two limes

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch salt

Put everything in food processor until desired consistency.  Then dip whatever you want into it and enjoy.

It's also really good on the turkey instead of regular cranberry sauce.

So, where's the danger, you ask?

I made this the night before Thanksgiving.  I was so glad that I remembered all of the quantities of everything and I tossed it all in and pureed it.  I even threw in some of the jalapeno seeds  because some like it hot.

I noticed the limes were kind of big, so after I put in the first one, I tasted it to see if it needed the other one.

Cue the most shocking, tongue-numbing, dreadful taste!


Imagine the tartness of raw cranberries, the sharpness of a lot of lime juice, the heat of a jalapeno and the flavor of the green onions- without the sugar.

I was speechless.

3/4 of a cup a sugar and no more lime juice, and voila, a "different" kind of flavor for Thanksgiving.  It's really a neat taste because it's such a wild mix of flavors.  You just keep going back for me.

Unless you're me and you've been scarred by the non-sugar version and you have to stay away.  Far away.

The lesson we can take from this?  NEVER.  EVER.  Serve something without tasting it.

Linking here:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

So Here's the Scoop

I've been posting a lot about food lately.  I must be hungry.  Or, like I said the other day, tired of the same foods that I make.

So, today's post isn't about food.

It's not about Thanksgiving, (click the link and get the best cranberry recipe you could ever imagine) either, but I suppose it should be, since it's Thanksgiving night.

Instead, it's about this.

That's right.  It's a kitty litter scoop.

After 17 years, my old one broke and I had to buy a new one!

And this seems to be the status of affairs around here these days.  Everything is breaking or completely falling apart.

Recently, I've bought new silverware (didn't fall apart but I'd had enough), bowls, bedding, clothes.

We even had to buy a new Keurig.  I'm not complaining about that one because we had it for exactly 3 years and I think it lived up to its duty.  K-ster uses it at least once a day.  Every day.  I occasionally use it on weekends and in the summer (I don't drink much coffee during the schoolweek) And we thought it was dying a few months ago but he performed some magic and we got a few more months out of it.

My Christmas list is full of "domestics" that I want, but actually, really need.

My sisters and I have had a lot of kitchen items on our wish lists in recent years, and my father has joked that it looks like we are opening a restaurant every Christmas because there are pans, utensils, breadmakers, etc.

This year, it's going to look like I am opening my own department store if people get me the items on my list.

These things are expensive!  Hundreds of dollars for duvets?  And hundreds for their covers?  $50 for pillow cases?  What is going on????

Is it just that I haven't bought much of that stuff recently and the prices have crept up?  I used to luck out at places like Marshall's or TJMaxx and get high thread count sheets for less than Macy's but that's not the case anymore. 

I used to enjoy buying these things.  It was fun to bargain hunt.  Nowadays even the bargains are too much for me to stomach.

Wait 'til you see how I cheaped out on curtains!!

Linking with:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Storing Up For the Winter?

I have no idea what's gotten into me, but I guess I'm sick of the same old food I always make, so I've been venturing into the land of fattening foods.  I say fattening because they all involve using more fat than most of my meals do, and with no grill to drip through, or saute pan to control the amount of oil I add, I can see my arteries clogging by the moment.

But this stuff is goooooood and winter is a-coming, so I have to get the layer of blubber for this harsh winter they are predicting, right?

First, there was this dish that some evil power in my brain demanded I make.  The very night I thought about it.  And it was pretty good.

Then there was this dessert that blew our socks off and inspired even my sister to splurge and make the night she read about it.  My mother, without even tasting it, has told me I have to make it for Christmas.  She better not think this will be in place of apple pie!  It couldn't be more different, plus it's loaded with butter, so lactose intolerant people have to steer clear!

And then, I found this.  Grandmother's Chicken from bucknrunranch.

My grandmother sure never made anything like this,  but it sounded really good.  My first dilemma is that really, you should use a dutch oven like LeCreuset or something that can be used on the stovetop and in the oven.  You start on the stovetop and then put it all in the oven.

I don't have one and I was afraid my glass pans lids might break in the oven, so I used a saute pan and then poured everything in my Deep Covered Baker.  I figured it would all cook nicely in there.

And OMG did it ever.

I did not use the bacon that was recommended because I had to draw the line somewhere.  I don't know what it would have done to influence the flavor but it might have added more salt than I'd like.  Many a restaurant meal is ruined for me with salt, so I try to avoid it at home.

I must not have cut the potatoes small enough, so they were a little firm, but the rest was amazing.

We ate it one night and then I put it away, with an idea floating in my mind about the potatoes.

It seemed to me I could take out the potatoes and do something to them to make them better cooked and better tasting.  I might be Irish, but I am not the biggest fan of potatoes.  Especially when they are slightly firm.

Also, k-ster doesn't love leftovers, so I thought I'd change it all up for round 2.

I took out all of the potatoes and then removed the rest of the food from the Deep Covered Baker, trying to remove as much liquid as possible.  I simply reheated this part.

The potatoes went into the food processor, along with a lot of onions and mushrooms that hitched a ride.  And then the fun began.

After it all pureed, I added one container of 2% fat plain Greek yogurt.  I am a firm believer that you can use plain yogurt, especially the Greek kind, in place of sour cream.  I mixed it all up and put it in a casserole dish.  I put it in the oven with the dish above and let it all cook for maybe 20 minutes at 350.

As the potatoes got a little crust going, I brought them out and added a little bit of mozzarella on top.  Then I put them back in for 5-10 minutes.

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR.   This is the best way I have EVER eaten potatoes.  I don't know if I read a recipe like this once or if it was divine intervention, but it was amazing.  K-ster was pretty  happy.

The potatoes were a little greyish because of the mushrooms and onions, so they were not the most appealing but the cheese sort of helped with that.

If you have stew or roasted something or other and you need a creative way to serve leftovers, this is your man.  Pull those potatoes out and do this little puree number with some yogurt and everyone will die and go right to heaven. 

And the Grandmother's Chicken wasn't too shabby either!

Linking here: 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Death By Apple Cobbler

I am a big fan of peach cobbler when it's done right.  And by right I mean there is dough on top and on the bottom and the bottom has just enough of the gooieness of dough saturated with fruit and syrup.

Any other peach cobbler doesn't cut it.

I've tried making it and I'm not usually very happy with it.  It doesn't get to just that right consistency that I like.

I had some apples that needed to be used and I was looking for apple recipes on  Everything seemed to be a variation of apple crisp, which I am not always excited about, or apple pie, and I wasn't interested in  making or buying pie crust.  I wanted something easy and delicious.

I found this recipe for Apple Cobbler Crumble which is along the lines of apple crisp, but without the oats and no cinnamon.  I'm pretty much done with cinnamon.

When I saw that I just had to make a crumble out of the flour, sugar and butter and then layer it alternately with apples, I was convinced that I needed to make it and that maybe it would be a good cobbler.

I usually use my trusty Pampered Chef pasty blender to make any kind of crumble because it's really sharp and most of all, the handle doesn't turn as you're using it.  The kind I have bought at the grocery store always gets loose and then I'm fighting to hang onto it while I make the crumble.

If I didn't have to get through this mess to get to my mini food processor:

I might have used that to make the crumble.  I've done it before and it's super easy and less work.  But the amount of time it would have taken to put these dishes away would have equaled the time it took to do it by hand.  And there is more to clean up with the food processor.

It didn't seem to make as many layers as I was expecting but OMG it was divine.  It's probably all the butter.  It mixes with the flour and sugar to make JUST the very gooiness I was looking for.

I didn't peel the apples because I rarely do.  Plus, I had to believe there was some kind of health benefit from eating it.

We put a pretty good dent in it.  It's one of those dishes that is so rich, you think you want to eat like 3 bowls of it, but then you realize it's really filling and you probably should stop.

K-ster said vanilla ice cream would be a great addition.  I don't think so.  I think it would actually kill me on the spot with too much deliciousness.

I might never bother with a dough again.

And the recipe said Granny Smith apples.  I didn't have them, so I used the Gala apples that I did have.  I think the Granny Smith would have added an awesome tartness to it so I will try that next time.

I bet I could do the same thing with peaches and be knocked right out.

Linking here: 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Need A Job? Apply Within

When I get my maid, she will have but 2 tasks.

One, she will have to wash my sheets and dry them on the line.  I already do this, but she will have to do it several times a week.  Why?  Because the biggest part of her job will be to put fresh sheets on the bed every other day.  And they will dried by the air and sun, or they won't be allowed on the bed.

Because I never sleep as well as the night when the sheets are fresh and clean.  And drier dried sheets just don't cut it.

Her second job will be to walk into my room exactly 5 minutes before I have to be out of bed on weekdays.  She will open my curtains so my eyes and brain can adapt to the idea of getting up.

And that's it.

No cleaning, no dishes, no slaving away.

Just washing sheets and changing the bed often and opening curtains.

Know anyone qualified?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy

While some would agree that I have an ear for music, I do not have an ear for lyrics.  I am forever sure that a lyric is one thing and then it turns out to be another.   I remember reading a silly book once called He's Got the Whole World in His Pants and I can't tell you how many of the wrong lyrics I too thought were correct.  Ok, I did know that it's the whole world in his hands, come on, people.

Here are some of my greatest hits:

Excuse me, while I kiss this guy (kiss the sky)

I coulda missed the pain, but Ida had to miss the dance. (but I'd a had to miss the dance)

I'm gonna lean my headlights into your bedroom window (aim my headlights)

I had some dreams, they were grounds in my coffee, grounds in my coffee (clouds in my coffee)

In that same song, I know the words are underworld spy, but I like to pretend it's underwear spy.

And I also just learned that one of the first lines goes:

You had one eye on the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte

I had to look that one up.  Gavotte is a dance in peasant France.  I always thought the lyric was:

You had one eye on the mirror as you watched yourself go by

Which made no sense because go by doesn't rhyme with apricot (his scarf) so I was always confused.

I wanna cool sh$t that'll cook for me (I wanna a cool chic) and in that same song, I wanna sing a little Jew song (chill song).

That last one is Keith Urban, it must be Australian accent that's pushing me over the edge in that song. 

Most of the others are also country.  I enjoy country music A LOT but there's something about the lyrics that I never quite get. 

That's why I was soooooo tickled recently, when I figure out on my own these words from Sweet Annie by Zac Brown Band (don't like the band but their songs are pretty catchy- oh and does anyone else think this is way too similar to Sweet Melissa to be considered original?): 

But one day Lightning will strike And my bark will lose it’s bite

It only took me about 400 listens by myself to realize it's lightning will strike.

And time and again, I will learn what the correct words are and then I won't hear the song for a while.  The next time I hear it, I dig up those wrong lyrics all over a gain.

But recently, there's a song on the radio that I hear all.the.effing.time and while I understand all of  the lyrics, I totally don't get what they mean.  It's Night Train, by Jason Aldean.

"Night Train"

I've been thinkin' bout you all day baby
waitin' on that sun to go down
whatcha say I pick you up after work
slide over, well slip out to the outskirts of town
got a blanket and a fifth of comfort
a little something to knock off the edge
it's supposed to get a little cool tonight
looks like I'm gonna have to hold you tight... yeah

Bout a mile off old mill road
in that spot nobody knows
park the truck and we take off running
hurry up, girl I hear it coming
got a moon and a billion stars
sound of steel and old box cars
the thought of you is driving me insane
come on baby lets go listen to the night train

yeah I hope its gonna be a long one
if were lucky its moving slow
wouldn't mind if it lasted all night
lying next to you on that hillside lets go

Bout a mile off old mill road
in that spot nobody knows
park the truck and we take off running
hurry up girl, I hear it coming
got a moon and a billion stars
sound of steel and old box cars
the thought of you is driving me insane
come on baby lets go listen to the night train

Let's go listen to the night train [x2]


Let's go listen to the night train 

Can someone explain to me why?  Why are they running to catch the sound of the train?   Yes, I understand what they are doing (the blanket, it's cool, they're drinking Southern Comfort, but what's the deal with the train?  And hurrying to get there to listen to it?

And I LOVE to pretend that the line that says "Bout a mile off Old Mill Rd." is really "Bout a mile off Oatmeal Rd."  It's the only way I can stand to listen to the song.  I just don't like because it's really dumb to me.

Unless you know something about trains I don't know.

And all I can really think of is that when this was really big this summer, my niece had just been here and she loves trains.  At the time, she called them FRAINS.  Frains and Oatmeal Rd.  The only way to listen.

Linking here:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Making Lunches Ain't No Picnic

When I was in 5th grade, my mother declared I could make my own lunch from then on.  I never understood why she didn't want to make my lunches anymore.

And then I became an adult and started bringing lunch to school again and realized why it sucks.

This may come as a wild surprise, but I am not much of a morning person.  While some of my family members love morning, I don't come bounding out of bed with a smile, excited to greet the day and ready to tackle anything. 

I'm not exactly the grim reaper, hunched over and growling until I've had my coffee, but I'm never excited to wake up (even when something great is going to happen that day) and it takes me a good face washing and something to drink before I start to feel like facing the day.

And thinking about making my lunch and k-ster's is fairly nauseating in the morning.  I think it might be the deli meat and mustard or mayo that gets me. 

My lunches are not usually sandwiches because I don't love sandwiches.  I am happy to eat a leftover from the night before, or some soup or some pieces of chicken.  K-ster doesn't have a microwave on the landscape truck, so he has to have things that don't need heating.  And that's mostly sandwiches.

I tried making at least the sandwich part of the lunch the night before, but k-ster deemed the sandwiches soggy and he threw them at passing cars to see if they would stick.  Of course he didn't do that.  But he did say that he didn't like them soggy.

Then I started making my own bread and solved that problem.   Because after the first day of the bread in the breadbox, it starts to get a little hard.  So it can take an overnight in the refrigerator and not be soggy the next morning.

I also found that these pyrex dishes with covers are great for sandwiches and manage to keep them pretty fresh tasting.

If I get the sandwich made and portion out any chips or anything sticky the night before, I manage to be happier to make lunch the next morning.  When it's a matter of assembling things that are ready to go, I don't have to touch or smell it and it doesn't make me feel gross before I've had my oatmeal.

And buying school lunch is not an option.  I used to get their salads for teachers on Fridays, but they started using zucchini as thought it was cucumber and I fell for it every.single.time.  You don't just go around using zucchini like that.  I can't even look at raw zucchini without throwing up a little.

And don't get me started on a regular school lunch.  Ew.  Just.  Ew.

Linking here:

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Casserole Time Of Year

My mother used to make this chicken casserole dish and I had a hankering for it the other day.   I am not a big maker of casseroles but I like this one.

I also hadn't had a cream of mushroom soup in a while and figured I was due for a dose of the most outrageous ingredients you can imagine.  Have you ever read the ingredients on a cream of anything soup?


I also wanted a reason to use my Deep Covered Baker from Pampered Chef and I figured this was a good reason.  Especially since this called for a cover while cooking.

It occurred to me as I made this that most of the meals I make require me to stand at the stove and saute something or stand at the grill and check on something.  I very rarely make something that goes into the oven for a half hour or more and then is magically ready and all I have to do is steam some green beans.

It was kind of nice to "fix it and forget it" for a while.

It also surprised me how salty this tasted and I definitely didn't add salt.  Low salt cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup would be my plan next time around.

The recipe says to cook for a half hour but it ended up being 55 minutes.  I don't know if the chicken breasts I used were thicker than recommended or what.  I made sure the oven was at 400 and I had the cover on, so it's a mystery.

K-ster liked it too.

And the green beans have some cheese on them because k-ster gets tired of plain, steamed green beans.

The beans are from my garden.  I blanched 5 of those gallon zip lock bags and froze them.  Normally, I don't get around to blanching more than 2 and they don't last long.  This might get us through January.

Linking here: 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cleaning Up My Act

In January, I made a non-resolution to keep the kitchen sink clean and sparkling.

And I failed.

Which is why it wasn't a resolution.

When the dryer croaked last month, I had to get a new one and made a new vow  to keep everything off of it. 

I have a tendency to pile up clothes on top of the drier for all sorts of reasons and then a) they get "lost" or b) I forget about them or c) they never get a real home and live on the drier forever.

So last week, everything found its home and it now looks like this.

What surprised me the most when I bought this drier is that it's pretty much the same model I had.  The old one was from 1986.  I expected that in 20+ years, they had somehow changed driers dramatically and I would get some newfangled contraption.

I guess, if I were willing to spend $1000, I could have bought a newfangled contraption, but all of those extra options seemed like a lot of hoopla over nothing. 

Since I prefer to put clothes on the line as much as possible, all I really need in a drier is the ability to dry clothes and not set the house on fire.  I don't even bother with the different heat settings.  It's all or nothing for me.

So, I bought just about the cheapest model I could find and when we got it home, it was so much like the old one, I couldn't get over it.  Except this one has a functioning lightbulb.  Who would think you'd want a lightbulb in the drier, but I love it! 

And the lint filter has an actual handle, not a duct tape one that I had to fashion after the handle fell off.

And hopefully, this one is more energy efficient for when I do have to dry clothes inside.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Back In My Day, Sonny

As I've been teaching French numbers to these 4th and 5th grade students, they've asked about how to say the year.  The 2000s are much easier to say than any of the centuries from 1100s-1900s because you simply say two thousand whatever.  For the others, you have to say one thousand, then the hundred, then the rest.  So it would be like one thousand, nine hundred seventy four.

After we did 2013 well, I started asking when they were born.  2002-2005 seems to be the range.  So, I tell them how lucky they are that they can just say 2000 and then the number because it's so simple.

Because, since I was born in the 1900s, my  birth year is much harder.

And then I cry a little because when I say "I was born in the 1900s"  I feel like I rode in Conestoga wagons.

Or it sounds like I might have been around the year that Ford debuted the Model T.

Or maybe the day that Lindbergh did his flight.

Or maybe I saw the end of WW2.

Or possibly met JFK.

Or saw someone walk on the moon.

Or knew Elvis.

Ok, I guess I could have known Elvis.  But none of the others could have happened for me.

This point was hammered home even further when I had 2 assistants in my room and I said "WE were all born in the 1900s, but YOU ALL were born in the 2000s" and then I realized that one of them is my age and the other is a former student and STILL we were all born in the same century.

A completely different century than these kids.

So, to really blow their minds, I say "and now, I'm going to give you MY birth year.  Are you ready to do some math and have your minds blown?"

Never do kids figure something out as quickly as when they think they are doing something daring like figure out your age.

First, they say crazy things like "1914!" and "1934" because they are sort of getting the idea of the numbers.  "Do I look like I'm 99 years old???"

This makes them laugh.  That's why I like them.  MIddle schoolers don't laugh at that.  They say things like "well, kind of".

Then they think about it and someone yells out "1964!" and I yell out "HELL NO, GO SIT IN THE CORNER YOU EVIL CHILD!"

Then someone gets it and then they have to pipe up with "hey, my MOM was born in 1974 too!!"

And I brace myself for "and she doesn't look anywhere near as old as you" or some kind of gem, but so far, they're behaving.

As long as they're not saying "hey my GRANDMOTHER was born in 1974 too!"

Linking here:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Technology Is Great- Until It Isn't

My parents got one of those combination locks on their front door a few years ago and I love it.  Even though I don't live there, I love being able to go in without having a key.  It's great for when I'm watching the office in the summer and I'm in the garden and someone needs to register or something.  I can just punch in the numbers and enter, instead of carrying my key at all times or running to get mine.

It's also very handy when they are away and I bring in the mail, water the plants and get the newspaper.  And eat any leftovers I can identify.

We loved the idea so much, k-ster and I put combination locks on two of our doors.  They are different brands and look very different from each other, but they are very convenient.  Again, I love being able to go for a run or be in the campground mowing and know the house is locked but I can just type in a code and get in.

It also put an end to me locking k-ster in the house which I did on a few occasions because our old lock was one of those that you needed to have a key on the inside of the lock to unlock it.  It happened on several mornings and he wasn't amused when he had to use his key to get OUT of the house.

K-ster also put one of these in the shop that is used by a few different people, where having a key is just impossible.  It's really convenient.

Interestingly, not one of these 4 afore mentioned locks are the same style!  It's like we are demoing a bunch of them until we find just the right one!

This is one of the two that k-ster and I have.  I'm not thrilled with how far out the knob goes and you punch in the code and then turn that knob to open the lock.  But, it's better than the other one that we have which is very big and makes an awful noise as it opens the lock for you.

Recently, my parents were out of town and I was bringing in mail, watering plants, eating food and ran into a little snafu.  One morning, as I punched in their code- wait, let me digress.  You get to choose your own codes for these locks.  My father was super tricky with his code and it's one my family won't forget but most people would.  K-ster and I were also super sleuthy with our locks, and in fact, I just recently learned that he made it so he uses one code and I use another and never the twain shall meet.  As long as the door opens, I don't really care.  And there is yet another number for the one at the shop.

If you can keep all of these numbers straight, then you pass a senility test.

Back to my story.  I punched in my parents' code and it flashed a red light and there was little beeping alarm noise.  I figured I had bumped another number and I did it again.  Same thing.  I did it again.  Same thing.  Now I was afraid I was actually senile and was jumbling all of these codes together.

I was also afraid if I kept doing it, there might be a lock out option that wouldn't let me get back in for 24 hours or something.

So, I did it one more time, had the same red lights and beeping but realized I was hearing a little unlocking noise and the door was able to open.

I called my father that night and we assumed that the battery was dying.  Since they were going to be away for a few weeks, I thought that rather than fuss with the battery, I should just get the key.

And that was where the road took a very winding path.

Because when you have the joy of keyless entry, well, you don't have your key handy.

So, my evening went like this:

My father said he thought my key to my house would open his because it was a master.  That is WAS, like past tense. He forgot that I no longer have the same lock on my door and therefore,  no master.

No big deal, isn't there still a key hidden somewhere?  Oh, maybe, but not for the current front door lock on their house.  Not to worry, it probably works on the back door.  But no one knew where the hidden key might be.


Wait, the woman who works for us should have one, right?

Nope, she just uses the code.

Foiled again!

K-ster suggested I go over and get the garage door opener and bring it home.


Except my mother's car was with them!

Oh, by the truck was there!  Excellent plan, k-ster.

My father called back to tell me where he thought the key to the new lock might be and I could hear my mother in the background saying she was pretty sure it wasn't there.  Not to worry, I'll just get the garage door remote from your truck, dad!

No deal, his truck is newer and has the garage door programmed into the visor so he doesn't have a garage door opener in his truck.  Modern technology, you know.

Foiled again and again!

Not to worry, my mother knew where to tell me to look in the house for the door opener.

Before I traipsed to their house to look for keys and remotes, I thought maybe I should think about where my own key to my own new lock might be.  Thankfully, it was just where I thought it should be but then k-ster realized he couldn't find his.  And did either of us have a key to the other combo lock that we added a year later?  Did it matter as long as we had one key to one lock?

On my key chain, I have 3 keys:  my classroom door, the Cultural Center door and a mystery key that doesn't go to anything I tried that night.  I think it's to my sister's house but then there's one on my special "get locked out of the house" keyring that I thought was to her house.

Whose houses do we visit that we have these mystery keys?

In the end, we discovered a weird assortment of keys that we have and most of them don't go to anything either of us can figure out.  Some don't look like house keys and there's a very serious set of 4 that look like they belong to a bank.

So, modern technology is a wonderful thing until you need it to work like old fashioned technology.  Then you need a degree in engineering to figure out how to make that happen!

Linking here:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I See Your Letters and Raise You One More

Last week, I went to the eye doctor for the first time in 5 years.  Five years???   I don't know how that happened.

I don't wear contacts and I have a vague prescription that I really only use in sunglasses, and my eyes didn't feel bad, so I just kept forgetting to call for an appointment.   I would get up, say "oh yeah, I have to call the eye doctor today" and then it would be evening and I wouldn't have remembered.

Even when I'd look out my classroom window and do this, I still would forget to call.

My sister told me about something weird with her eye, and when I got home, I saw the same thing in mine, and suddenly, I didn't forget to call.  I was sure they were going to need to remove my eyeball before it spread, so I needed to get in there right away and have it looked at.

I'm not a huge fan of the eye doctor that I see because he's kind of aloof and basically makes me feel like I don't really need to have glasses, so I am not as important as those who do need glasses.  This should make me do handsprings out the door because I don't need to shell out lots of cash for contacts and glasses.  Somehow, it doesn't.

I know, I can just go find another eye doctor, so I have no need to complain.

Between my lying dentist and my aloof eye doctor, you might think I live in some godforsaken place where we don't have choices in healthcare.  It's more like I'm too lazy to find someone else.

So, I sat in the chair and began telling him the letters and patterns I saw.  And then I got to that point where I'm never sure what I'm supposed to say.  When he asks me what the smallest row of letters is that I can see, am I supposed to work really hard to see those letters, or just glance and say "nope, too blurry, I'll go with the row that say D X Q Y S O".


It's like the time I had a hearing test and kept hearing an irritating ringing sound that was veeeeeerrrrry far away and after like the 6th time, I realized that was the sound I was supposed to be listening for and I hadn't been raising my  hand!  I'm surprised I didn't get fitted with hearing aids right then!

People have to explain these things to me so I know what to do!

Being slightly competitive, I want to read the absolute bottom line on every chart.  It's just who I am.  So, it's like Name That Tune.  I work hard to read the fairly blurry one and guess at one or two and say things to myself like "I can read that line in 1 note".

And he mumbles, good good.  Then he adjusts the lenses and I see that the B was really an E and I want to smack him.  Not good good, you ass!  It's either right or wrong!  Tell me if I'm wrong so I know which line I'm supposed to read!  If you keep telling me my incorrect Bs are good, how will I ever know I'm only supposed to read the lines that I can actually read without working hard at it!

Then came the question about the weirdness in my eye.  Well, two weirdnesses, actually.  I have "fatty tissue" near my iris which he called cholesterol and then jumped right into "I don't mean you have high cholesterol, it's not really related to that at all" and that it's very normal.

Gross, is what it is.  It just makes my eyes look unclear, instead of bright.

And then, when I was examining them to determine if I have other eye diseases that might require removing the eyeball, I realized that there is a circle around each iris that looks like I'm wearing a contact but I don't wear contacts.  OMG, I thought.  This is that UV etching I've heard about.  Which is insane because I NEVER EVER go into the sun without my UV rated sunglasses, I don't spend a lot of time on the ocean and I have never looked into the sun.

But I was sure that's what it is.  He was going to offer me a prescription for the dread BlueBlockers and I'd only be allowed outside at night.

Nope, he claims everyone has it and it's where the white of the cornea starts to make the color of the iris.

I'm still skeptical.

So, basically, my eyes are fine, my prescription is a joke, and I have cholesterol sitting in the whites of my eyes.

None of this has anything to do with turning 39, right?

Linking here:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I Refuse to Believe This

I got up this morning and it was 50 degrees.

When I left school today, this is what I saw.

Seriously.  I hope the "sheep" is feeling cozy in the snow.

And it's supposed to go back into the 50s for the next week or so.

Hello, November?  I'd like you to change your attitude, please.  Let's hold off on the snow for another month or so, OK?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Best Suggestion I Heard That Day

As I've mentioned a  few times, I'm trying to adjust to life in the upper elementary school but it's tough.  Just when I think I have it figured out, a kid will say something from so far out in left field, I don't even know how to react.

I haven't ever vlogged before on this blog, but this story cannot be written.  You must see the visual to get the full experience.

Have you recovered?

Imagine having the audacity at 9 years old to come tell a whole class to "take it down a notch" and expect that the teacher would say "Why THANK YOU. Here I was, wondering how on earth I'd get these kids under control and you've given me the most helpful advice. We'll do just that."

Instead, I told him he better start running.


Linking here: 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Falling Down

Thanks to my aunt s-ster's post way back in August, I've had the fall blues for 3 months.  I am not a fan of fall for many reasons.  It's time to go back to school, everything that was so in bloom stops blooming and dies, it gets cold and worst of all, the dreaded afternoon darkness arrives in full force once the calendar turns to November.

In New England, we suffer darkness before 5pm once we turn the clocks back.  Often in December, on a really bleak day, it starts to darken around 3:30 and you just want to go to bed by 6pm.  I don't know that I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder) because I can get out of bed and I'm not crying all day, I just don't like the early darkness.

My soul does little flips of joy come January when it's lighter a little longer each day.

This week, s-ster posted another fall post but this one is MUCH more entertaining.  And nothing about fall, actually.

But, back to my own post about fall.

I learned a few years ago that I can still grow some things through the fall and winter, so I have beets growing in my greenhouse right now and possibly more starting soon.  As long as I get them started before the first real frost (we haven't had one yet :)), they will grow through the winter.  Broccoli too.  I have some very small broccoli plants in the greenhouse that probably won't produce broccoli until the spring, but what I have in the ground should produce some before Christmas.  Depending on how frigid it gets.

But, nothing with any serious color or flowers grows from now on.  I brought my flowering plants into school, so I can see some color there.  But it's not the same.

Anyway, to me, this is what fall is.
Stark trees, ugly brown leaves, brown grass.  Just plain ugliness.

I try to find pretty trees to look at and I will say there are a few that are the most startling shade of red/orange that I drive by on the way to school every day.

There is also this tree in my yard.

This picture doesn't really do it justice but it is very lovely.  The colors are amazing every year and it's a nice and full tree.  We've had serious wind this week, so there aren't as many leaves as there should be.  Do you know what kind of tree it is?  I can't figure it out.  It's not really maple or oak.

I also get a real kick out of pretty leaves on the ground.

In college, I enjoyed fall.  Nashville has a very nice fall and Vanderbilt's campus had a kajillion leafy trees, so when the leaves fell, they were everywhere.   I loved the cruchiness of them and kicking them around.

Fall also means things like this.

Such a cute cupcake, made by a student, and carried all the way to my classroom.  He didn't get it when I asked him where the rest of the witch was.  These 5th graders don't get half of what I say and forget about 4th graders.  I basically just talk to hear myself talk all day and entertain the assistants who come with certain classes.

Halloween has never been a favorite pastime of mine.  We always froze to death on Halloween and we'd have to wear our coats over our costumes and then have someone hold them while we went to the door.   I always thought it was dumb that we put work into a costume that no one could see because it was dark except for a small bulb at their door.  "In my day" we didn't go to Main St. or the mall to do our trick or treating and we never did it during daylight.  We also didn't have a neighborhood with cul-de-sacs that are fun for trick or treating. 

Basically, I'm ready for spring.

Linking here: 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Liar, Liar

No idea where this came from but it's very, very true!

After last year's fabulous birthday trip to the dentist, I was slightly apprehensive about another visit.  I brushed my teeth vigilantly and  made sure that very few nights passed without flossing.  I was so sure that my "cavity" hadn't progressed, I couldn't even remember which side it was supposed to be on.

I did notice that I had a weird little black dot on one of my front teeth that wouldn't go away.  I flossed it to death, brushed, tried to get it off with my fingernail.  Nothing.  K-ster couldn't see it.  I didn't dare show my new found flaw to anyone else lest my future modeling contracts disappear.

I imagined it must be another cavity coming through on the front of my tooth.  Which, of course, is like a death sentence to me.

In case you are too lazy to click on my birthday trip to the dentist link, the short version is that I love my teeth.  I have been complimented countless times on my teeth.  They have always been pretty healthy looking and I've never had a real cavity (I've been told twice that I had a "little" cavity starting and to be sure to keep brushing and flossing and then they mysteriously go away).  I had braces, so they are pretty straight, and they aren't too bad colorwise since I won't bleach them.  My teeth are one of the few things I will not say "pshaw" about if you tell me they are nice.  But don't do it here, in the comments.  I'm not fishing.

See?  Not the clearest picture, but they are pretty decent.  I always wanted to do toothpaste ads.  When I was little, those super large two front teeth were SUPER LARGE but I guess I grew into them.

I used to want to be a dentist or hygienist, I love teeth so much.  BEcause I thought everyone had decent teeth like my sisters and I do.  Then my mother brought me up to speed on that with one comment "do you really want to stick your hands in some old person's mouth whose breath smells and their teeth are rotten???"  No, I want to stick my hands into the mouths of beautiful people whose breath smells like lavender and whose teeth look like beautiful dominoes all in a row.

No dental school for me!

So, when I went this week to get a regular cleaning, I pointed out my black spot to the hygienist.  It took a lot of looking and she just about had to climb into my lap to see it, but she finally found the miniscule speck and promptly scraped it off.  It was a stain, she said.  Happens all the time.  If it happens again, she told me to just drop in and she'll scrape it right off so I don't have to worry.

Are you picturing me running into the office, car still running, while I stand in the middle of the waiting room and she scrapes my tooth?  Because that's all I can picture!

We talked about what the stain might be.  Coffee?  Tea?  Well, yes, I said, I drink tea.  See, for YEARS, I wouldn't drink tea because I didn't want it to stain my teeth.  All I could picture was my British nanny with those nasty yellow, tea stained teeth.

Right, I didn't have  a British nanny, but I always feared yellow teeth.

But when I mentioned it to my now retired dentist, he said that I would have to drink a crazy amount of tea to have stains and it would take years.  A cup a day wouldn't do much.  Have at it, was his recommendation.

And when I said this, the hygienist wet her pants right on the spot.  She said he must have been kidding.

If you knew Dr. A, he wasn't a kidder.  I doubt he is now that he's retired, either. 

Of course tea will stain your teeth, she said.  He must have been doing an April Fool's joke.

WHAT????  I KNEW it! 

Was he doing it just so I'd come back for bleaching?  Surely he wasn't that kind of dentist.  The new guy hasn't suggested it, so I don't think they were in cahoots.  And my teeth aren't all stained yellow.  I have no intentions of bleaching because I think it weakens the teeth.

But to be told that the little dot, the one that looks like I might have tapped my tooth with a pencil that won't rub off, is likely from my one cup of tea per day?  UGH.   I smell pants burning every time I think about it!

Linking here:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Free Turkey, Get Your Free Turkey

I don't usually promote my Pampered Chef business here on my blog, but this month, you can get a free turkey if you host a show by November 15th.  I have mastered the Facebook Pampered Chef show, where we do it all online and you get all of the benefits as though you hosted in your home!

The benefits:
-friends and family that live anywhere in the world can play along during our 5 day show on facebook
-everyone gets to shop at their leisure and order any time of day or night
-you don't have to cook, clean your house, or stash your kids and husband for the evening
-you get the hostess bonuses as though we had it in your home

And this month:
With $150-$649.99 in guest sales, hosts may choose 1 piece from open stock cookware at 60% off—24 pieces to choose from!

With $650 or more in guest sales, selections include the New Rockcrok™ pans! Hosts may choose 2 pieces of cookware at 60% off from our selection of open stock, cookware sets, or Rockcrok™ ceramic cookware pieces. A total of 30 products to choose from!


I play a game during the week we have your show and guests are encouraged to participate to earn points.  At the end of the show, I will award the highest points earners some extra prizes!

Visit my facebook page to see how past events went and contact me if you want to host one of your own.  It doesn't cost you anything to host and if you get some free stuff, it's even better!