Saturday, December 31, 2005
Abraham Lincoln writes to his son's teacher.NYC Educator has a great blog. Go look at this. It used to be one of my favorite poems and I haven't seen it in years, and then there it was on NYC Educator's blog.
I mean it. Go look at this NOW. Some historians claim this was not written by Lincoln. That is immaterial. Whoever wrote it, it's awesome.
Now get moving.
Don't make me pull over.
Friday, December 30, 2005
Another whiny post about other people's public behavior.We went to the movies last night, or rather, yesterday late afternoon-before-the-prices-went-up, and we had a great time. (Narnia.) Ordinarily, the movie theaters in this town are almost empty; we've been to many films where we were the only patrons in the room. Last night was packed, for this town; there must have been fifty people. And, of course, even though the room was full of empty seats, empty rows, empty SECTIONS, a family with small children HAD to sit directly in front of us, and an entire row of old people HAD to sit directly behind us.
The small children had beautiful manners. They had unwrapped all their crinkly crackling candies before they entered the theater, and not once in over two hours did either parent have to remove a child for any reason. They sat spellbound and respectful and never losing track of their 'theater voice' and their public behavior directives. They were wonderful to watch. After the credits were finished rolling, I told the parents that I had noticed their children's lovely theater manners, and both mother and father thanked me.
The old people behind us were a different story. They slurped and smacked and crinkled and chewed and passed tubs of popcorn back and forth loudly, and talked aloud, and screamed like banshees whenever anything startling appeared on the screen, and could NOT shut up about how "in the book, it was different!" for about every third scene, and constantly dropped things on the floor, and took turns leaving their seats at least twice, each. And every few minutes one of them would say, loudly, "I can't see a THING over these people!"
Hello. We were there FIRST. And the theater was almost EMPTY. Morons.
And I bet those adults would be the first to complain about a little child's behavior.
Oh, how I miss the old days, when a theater hired lots of ushers to patrol up and down the aisles and throw the bums out when they so much as whispered or wiggled too much, no matter what their age. I wish theaters would do that today. They might be scared they'd lose business, but once word got out that it was 'safe' to go to the movies there, the intelligent crowd would flock there in droves. And who cares if the rowdy morons boycott your theater? The money they'd make on the returning well-behaved audience would surely more than make up for a few bucks the talkative cell-phone-addicted, screaming wiggly munchers would spend.
That family last night. I might have watched those sweet faces more than I watched the movie. Is there anything sweeter than a nice family? I don't think there is. And the fact that there are families who require excellent public behavior from themselves and from their children, gives me hope, lots of hope. Bless you, nice family. Thank you for sharing your well-behaved children with me yesterday. I'm still seeing them in my mind, and smiling.
Come on over.
Since our expected guests decided to bail on us at the last minute, I've been debating taking down the Christmas trees and decorations sooner than I usually do, because, well, they're not as much fun with nobody to see them. I was able to dispose of all that food, thanks to Belle and her friends, but the trees which take DAYS to properly decorate? They're still up and twinkling.
But as I was sitting on the sofa hypnotizing myself with the beauty of the lights and the ornaments, I realized that sometimes, we need to do things just for ourselves, and not for other people. Not always, or even often, but sometimes.
So I'm leaving them up for a while longer. Why? Well, to misquote Jimmie Dodd, "Because I LIKE them!)
I like them. Yes, me. I like them. So even though our expected guests won't be seeing them, there are still people in this house who are enjoying them. Those people are Hub and I. We aren't used to indulging ourselves in much of anything (we have kids and we're poor, poor unto frightened sleepless nights, and it's not our fault, and all the tree-bounty is from BEFORE) but this we can do.
The tree on the left is in the living room. I have no curtains, because our house is well off the road and the view is better than a painting. The tree on the right is in the dining room, and it's really only half a tree, because I leave off the back branches so I can shove it right up against that wall/window; it gave us more room in the room. Pay no attention to all that sewing stuff that's visible; hey, I made two quilts and thirty-some stockings this year!
The Phantom masks stay up all year. So does the Frog Prince. Yes, I know they are both strange. Consider the source.
The creche is nearly thirty years old and mismatched. The paint has worn off in places, and it's obvious that the figurines have been much handled. I told you I had kids. I like it better this way. A pristine creche is one that hasn't had much attention. And you already know the names of all the angels.
The wall trees hold miniature ornaments. They are mostly Hub's. The clock on the dining room wall was a Christmas present several years ago from someone I used to know. It plays a carol on the hour. Nobody in this house likes it but me. That I keep it up year-round has nothing to do with the satisfaction I get when it chimes and people start to wail.
So. NEXT weekend I will take down the Christmas things. For one more week, I will continue to darken the house and watch the tree lights twinkle and revel in the beauty of it all. I tried to take pictures of the effect when it's dark but I couldn't get what I wanted.
Yes, I was hurt when the expected guests bailed at the last minute. But on the bright side, my daughter and her friends had a feast, the guest room is tidy, and there is still Christmas in my house, for a few more days.
I'm still watching Christmas movies, too, but then, I do that year-round. Last night: "Going My Way," a real oldie but one of my favorites. Tonight I think I'll watch 'Love Actually' again. I know it by heart now but I'm still obsessed. I loaned Belle "The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus" the other night; not that stupid animated one, but the cool claymation one. If you have kids and they haven't seen that, run out and get it now. It's by L. Frank Baum, the "Wizard of Oz" author, and it's wonderful. My kids are grown up now but they still love that movie. So do I, for that matter.
And now I think I will go shower and get dressed, it being three in the afternoon and all. Vacation rocks, except for the not-getting-paid-during-it thing.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Sometimes I feel I've got to (bang bang) run away, I've got to (bang bang) get away. . . . .I wonder why it is that a man with several advanced college degrees in all kinds of sciences and mathematics, doesn't know how to shut a door or drawer?
It's not rocket science, you know. If it opens out, it pushes back. It's a lovely combination of physics and etiquette.
It's not difficult.
And if I bump into one more open drawer or door in the dark, I'm going to dump the contents of the drawer or cabinet on someone's head. It also really bothers me when I go into the kitchen and see every drawer and every cabinet hanging open, and no one in sight. It bothers me even more in the middle of the night when I walk smack into the sharp corner of an open drawer of 'someone's' bureau on my way to the
And don't even get me started on the roll of toilet paper that's balanced on top of the spindle.
Actually, it's balanced on top of the spindle that contains a roll of toilet paper that still has a few yards of tissue on it. But we all know that those last few yards are tainted and must never be used. No, no, we must always get out a new roll and balance it on TOP of the old roll.
And the milk!!!!! I guess those last few inches of milk in the bottle are tainted, too, because 'someone' in this house always opens the new bottle when the old bottle still has a good full glass or three left in it.
We're on a very strict budget, and these things really bother me. Especially the open drawer/cabinet door thing. Because, you know, OUCH.
And while I'm ranting about tainted things, I guess the bottom of mini-blinds must be untouchable, too. Why can't 'someone' open mini-blinds and leave them hanging EVEN? I know 'someone' who doesn't know how to straighten them. Any mini-blind raised by him is crooked. I do not want my house to look like a frat house from the road. I want all the mini-blinds to be even. If you can't raise them and leave them straight, don't raise them. Just open them up so you can see out and/or get some air. No, NO, use the LEVER, not your fingers. Honestly.
If they had hired me to write for Seinfeld, it would still be on the air.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Bottoms. Which remind me of (insert name of large retail store which used to be cool till they did away with their catalog)Someone asked me for my pizza recipe, so here it is.
1/2 package dry yeast
1/2 cup very warm (but not hot) water
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tbs. oil
Put the yeast, sugar, and water in a medium-sized bowl, mix well, let sit for about five minutes.
Throw everything else into the bowl with the yeast mixture, mix well, let sit for about ten minutes.
Remove dough to a hard floured surface and knead heavily for about ten minutes. (three songs, if you're cooking to music, and how could you NOT?) Put the dough back in the bowl and let it rise for about a half hour.
Spread the dough thinly over a large oiled pizza or cookie pan. Make lots of bumps in it with your fingers.
1 can tomato sauce
1 tsp. oregano
1 tiny can of tomato paste
1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese
Pour the tomato sauce over the dough; spread evenly. Sprinkle with oregano. Add whatever toppings you like.
Bake in a 420 degree oven on the bottom rack for about fifteen minutes. When the pizza's bottom (I love saying that) is done, remove pizza from oven and sprinkle the cheese all over it, and dot with tomato paste. Return to oven for about five minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Let pizza sit for a few minutes before you slice it.
Gourmet chefs will no doubt make their own pizza sauce, but I'm usually in a hurry and I use the plain ol' tomato sauce and just jazz it up a little. A VERY little. Pizza isn't a complicated food to make, you know.
Neopolitan women would send their week's worth of unbaked loaves of bread to the big village ovens, and then make pizza with the little bit of leftover dough. It was a simple meal, easy to make, and it offered a little treat for the family and a respite from the kitchen for the baker, after all those hours of kneading a week's worth of bread for a family.
Hub is still playing MorrowWind, but he did take a short break earlier tonight so we could run out, eat some Chinese food, and check out (large retail store that used to be cool till they did away with their catalog) to see if they had any great discounted deals he could spend his Christmas gift card on. They didn't. (Are we surprised? It's (that large retail store that used to be cool till they did away with their catalog!!)
Speaking of (that large retail store that used to be cool till they did away with their catalog), I don't want to diss them but I've had four vaccuum cleaners from that store and none of them was worth a toot. They all died before a year had elapsed, and the store shrugged its massive corporate shoulders and told me I should have purchased the extended warranty, because without it I was basically screwed.
Since I went on to buy three more sweepers from (this large retail store that used to be cool till they did away with their catalog), all of which did the same thing, I should probably have to wear a dunce cap and sit in the consumer-corner forever.
Years ago, we tried to buy a refrigerator from this store. We measured carefully and gave the measurements to the salesman. He assured us that the 'fridge we chose would fit our space.
When it arrived (about two weeks later - it's (that large retail store that used to be cool till they did away with their catalog), remember?) the thing was over an inch too wide for our space. It seems we got the NEW version of the one we'd seen on the store floor, and the new version was an inch wider. The delivery guy had to take it back. We ended up buying a refrigerator from some other store, and we had to do it that same day because I'd removed all the food from the old 'fridge and it had to be put somewhere.
For the next five years, I kid you not, we got about three phone calls a month from (this large retail store that used to be cool till they did away with their catalog), wanting us to buy an extended warranty for our brand-new store-brand refrigerator. I would explain politely, and the caller would apologize profusely and promise to take our name off the call list. And then the next month it would all start up again.
Sorry, (large retail store that used to be cool till they did away with their catalog). It's not that I HATE you, but, well, I kinda hate you.
Whoever made the decision to do away with your catalog really shot you in the foot. Your catalog was awesome. It's your stores that suck.
Up there where I said I didn't want to diss (this large retail store that used to be cool till they did away with their catalog?) I guess I really wanted to.
Many apologies for saying that this store sucks. I come down hard on my students when they say 'suck.' But honestly. This store really does suck.
Their vaccuum cleaners don't, but the stores do.
AddictionHub and I are going out to grab a bite of lunch and do a few errands in a few minutes. Right after he's finished with his MorrowWind session.
Hmm, it's been a while. Let me check the clock.
Yup. It's been a while.
Hub and I are going out to grab a bite of supper and do a few errands in a few minutes. Right after he's finished with his MorrowWind session.
In the meantime, maybe I could read War and Peace from cover to cover.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
We don't always get what we want. (with apologies to the Stones.)Well. My goodness. A person's plans can certainly turn on a dime.
Would any of you care to come over for dinner, or should I just wrap all this food and put it in the freezer? Oh, come on over. You know you want to.
For a few hours I contemplated taking down all the Christmas things and putting them away till next year, but now I think I'll leave them up for a few more days. Belle and her crowd are coming down before the New Year and the house should look festive for them.
We had dinner at the Cafe Pizzaria, and that always cheers me up considerably. It's the oldest pizza place in Bloomington, yes, it was even considered old when I was a student there, golly, yes, it's THAT OLD, and it's also one of the best.
But, HARK. Belle just called and says she and her friends are coming down in a few hours! They request blackberry pie!
I'll return later. I have a big meal to set on the table, and a couple of pies to make.
I feel infinitely better.
Chili powder and cinnamon are the same color. And as I purchased them both from Sam's Club, they are both housed in large identical containers. And since they are both housed in large identical containers, they are stored on the same shelf in the spice door of my pantry. And since I am all about the feng shui,** even inside my pantry, these two identical enormous containers are side-by-side.
Sometimes, it's darkish in there, and it's hard to read the labels. Sometimes, I'm in a hurry, and I open the pantry door, peruse the spice door, and grab things according to color or consistency or container size.
Usually, the aroma from the opened container saves the day. The aroma has prevented me from putting chili powder in banana bread. The aroma has prevented me from putting cinnamon in sloppy joes.
I have a cold.
Shhh, don't tell anybody, but there's an entire unbaked homemade pecan roll stuffed inside an empty milk bottle in the kitchen trash. I'm not telling you why. It's a secret.
**Those of you who have been to my house: stop laughing right this minute!
Monday, December 26, 2005
Aftermath. And beforemath. And duringmath. (not the kind of math that makes my brain hurt.)The day after Christmas is always a bit of a downer for me. I'm all about the preparation and the anticipation, and the actuality can't begin to compare to the fantasy of 'almost.'
But all is not completely lost, because the OTHER side of the family (his) will be arriving in a day or so and it will all begin all over again, and I can't WAIT.
Well, yes I can, because the waiting is the best part for me. But, you know.
In the meantime, I'm baking more bread and making persimmon pudding and opening a new can of Clabber Girl for the quick breads (banana walnut and apple-cheese) and later tonight some date/raisin/pecan/banana/applesauce bread because Hub likes that, especially.
Zappa is still here (YAY, and I've made about a zillion mashed grilled cheese sandwiches and fried eggs) and while Belle had to go to work this morning (welcome to the wonderful world of adulthood, my baby daughter) she will be coming back down afterwards. Yes, my kids are home and I'm not leaving.
Downstairs in the freezer there is a huge pork tenderloin with "family reunion" written all over it. I'm going to thaw it, slice it into medallions, and throw them into the big crockpot with a sliced onion and some BBQ sauce. And when they're done, and so tender you don't even need a knife, I'll arrange them on my Christmas platter and it will look like something I've worked on for HOURS. Try it, it's wonderful. I do love cooking for a big crowd; it's one of my favorite things to do.
As for me and my
I am no sportsman, as most of you know, but I do love a good game of killer air hockey. Zappa is setting it up for me as I type. He has warned me that he himself loves a good killer match but I might have a little surprise for him when we begin our game. Momy shows no air hockey mercy, not even to her little boy. I figure, if your knuckles aren't bleeding half-way through the first game, you're not really taking it seriously.
The only difference between me and a professional killer air hockey player is that I will run downstairs and play a few rounds, then run back upstairs to knead and shape bread loaves. Then I'll run back downstairs, pound a few more pucks into my opponent's knuckles, and then go back upstairs to make cookies. And so on, you get the picture. If you need continuous play, play with someone else. If you want awesome albeit sporadic play, do me. So to speak.
It was a good Christmas. It was a lovely, wonderful Christmas. I love my family so very much. And when the Michigan contingent gets here, it will be a lovely, wonderful Christmas all over again, because I love Hub's family so very much, too.
Now, back to my kitchen, where I can now listen once again to my music, pumped up and shaking the walls, while I bake. It wasn't much fun to cook in silence.
But then, nothing is much fun with total silence. I loves me my CHAOS.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Merry Christmas to all of my precious blogosphere friends.
And peace on earth to men of good will.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Christmas MixMania Playlist, and crawdads.Here is my Christmas MixMania playlist. Sorta. My Windows Media playlists crashed a few days after I burned and sent the cd’s, so I’m playing this by ear.
Playing it by ear. Music. Honestly, I'm so witty. I do not remember where one disk stops and another begins, either, so sweet person who got my cd's: I'm sorry.
Twelve Days of Christmas – Straight No Chaser
Song for a Winter’s Night - Sarah McLachlan
Auld Lange Syne – Lou Rawls
Please Come Home For Christmas – Jon Bon Jovi
Christmas – Blues Traveler
What Child Is This – (hammered dulcimer)
Ave Maria – Chris Cornell and Eleven
Oiche Chiun (Silent Night) – Enya
What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve – The O’Jays
Christmas Is Now Drawing Near At Hand – Steve Winwood
Es Ist Ein Ros’ Entsprungen – The King’s Singers
12 Days of Christmas – Space Ghost and the Villains
Christmastime – Smashing Pumpkins
Green Christmas – Weezer
O Holy Night – Michael Ball
Kerst - ? It's a version of the Quintet in A Major ‘Trout’ D667 – Allegro vivace, but I don't know the artist or the lyricist. It's wonderful, though.
The Coventry Carol – Anthony Newley
A Journey To Bethlehem – Michael Crawford
Riu Riu Chiu – Amor Artis Chamber Choir
River – Michael Ball
The Prayer – Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli
Cantique de Noel – Richie Sambora
Huge on the Luge – Moxy Fruvous
Christmas Is A Time To Say I Love You – Billy Squier
Glow Worm/It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – Rockapella
Medley a la Mozart – The King’s Singers
I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Michael Buble
The Night Before Christmas – Carly Simon
I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas – The Drifters
You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Rockapella
Little Drummer Boy – Bing Crosby & David Bowie
You’re All I Want For Christmas – Jump Little Children
I Saw Three Ships – celtic mix
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen – Vive Voce
Blue Christmas – Leon Redbone
What Child Is This – Charlotte Church
Faith Noel – Trans Siberian Orchestra
The Lost Christmas Eve - Trans Siberian Orchestra
Christmas Dreams - Trans Siberian Orchestra
Wizards in Winter - Trans Siberian Orchestra
Remember – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Anno Domine – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Christmas Concerto – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Queen of the Winter Night – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Christmas Nights in Blue – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Christmas Jazz – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Christmas Jam – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Siberian Sleigh Ride – Trans Siberian Orchestra
\What Is Christmas? – Trans Siberian Orchestra
For The Sake Of Our Brother – Trans Siberian Orchestra
The Wisdom of Snow – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Wish Liszt – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Back to a Reason, Pt. 2 – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Christmas Bells, Carousels, and Time – Trans Siberian Orchestra
What Child Is This? – Trans Siberian Orchestra
O Come All Ye Faithful – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Christmas Canon Rock – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Different Wings – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Midnight Clear – Trans Siberian Orchestra
An Angel Came Down – Trans Siberian Orchestra
A Star to Follow – Trans Siberian Orchestra
The Silent Nutcracker – Trans Siberian Orchestra
A Mad Russian’s Christmas – Trans Siberian Orchestra
The Prince of Peace- Trans Siberian Orchestra
Good King Joy – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Ornament – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Old City Bar – Trans Siberian Orchestra
O Holy Night – Trans Siberian Orchestra
First Snow – Trans Siberian Orchestra
The First Noel – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Christmas Eve Sarajevo – Trans Siberian Orchestra
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Heavy Metal Christmas Guitars – Trans Siberian Orchestra
O come All Ye Faithful & Oh HoHoHo – Trans Siberian Orchestra
The Ghosts of Christmas Eve – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Dream Child – Trans Siberian Orchestra
March of the Kings – Trans Siberian Orchestra
The Lord’s Prayer – Il Divo
O Holy Night – Il Divo
White Christmas – Il Divo
Ave Maria – Il Divo
When A Child Is Born – Il Divo
O Come All Ye Faithful – Il Divo
Over the Rainbow – Il Divo
Panis Angelicus – Il Divo
Rejoice – Il Divo
Silent Night – Il Divo
Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring – Josh Groban
Christmas Morning – Louden Wainwright III
This list is mostly correct, but I know there are mistakes. I’m so sorry. I've left songs out and I've included songs that are perhaps not on the cd's.
I'll do better next go-round. Just say the word, Jim; I'm your obedient shadow.
My son has taken over the kitchen tonight; he's making an appetizer for tomorrow's family reunion. He told me the name of it, but I've forgotten. But it consists of rice, minced garlic and onions, ground beef, yogurt, a dash of most of the spices in my pantry, and some fresh crawdads. That's right, you heard me. Crawdads. All wrapped in grape leaves and steamed. And it will probably be absolutely delicious. This is what happens when you send your son to a college that has a school of culinary arts attached to it.
Oh, HE didn't have any culinary arts classes. He just dated several women who did, and he partook of their education as well as his own. And tomorrow at Mom's house, we will all enjoy his artistic efforts.
I can't wait to see Mom's face when she hears the word 'crawdad.' Zappa hasn't decided whether to tell her up front, or to wait till after she takes a bite.
I voted for 'after' but I think it's only because I still hold a little grudge about that slice of braunschweiger she made me eat before I could leave the table and go out and play when I was eight.
Not that I would remember such a small thing as that.
Oh joy, it's Christmas Eve! Well actually no. Actually, it's Christmas Day! We're still cooking and baking and planning, though; so there's still preparation fun to be had.
And now I'll go help Zappa roll the crawdads in the grape leaves.
Memory. Not from 'Cats.'My father had an 8mm movie camera.
Every Christmas morning, he would sloooowly set up the monster lights that burned so hot and so brightly, they half-blinded us and heated up the whole house.
Then he would slooowly position himself with the camera, so as to get the best shot of his children running into the glittering magical room.
Then he would put the camera down and go get some toast and a bottle of RC.
Then he would come back into the room and sloooowly pick up the camera again, focus it, and finally, finally, he would say,
Okay, kids, come on in!
And four kids, pumped as high on anticipation and magic as kids can be, came running into the room. We stopped short at the sight: that huge sparkling tree, and whatever Santa Claus had brought it, displayed (unwrapped) around the wrapped presents that had been tantalizing us for a week or more.
Everything we got was always a complete and total surprise. We never snooped into closets or under beds, like some kids did, because, well, why would we do that? It all came from Santa Claus, and he brought it all fresh and new on Christmas Eve, straight from his workshop in the North Pole! It had nothing whatsoever to do with my parents; all they did was unlock the front door before they went to bed, so Santa could get into the house.
We didn't have a chimney, and that worried us 'till Mom explained that Santa just came in through the front door of houses that had no chimneys, and that he was glad not to have to balance the sleigh and reindeer on the roof sometimes.
Dad was as much of a little kid as we were, at Christmas. He would lie underneath the tree, shaking and feeling every present, and guessing its contents. He was good at it, too. When we were a little older, we used to put marbles in his present so it would make a noise and possibly throw him off the track. It didn't usually work. He knew the sound of marbles rolling around wrapped socks.
When Dad was a little boy, they were poor, poor unto destitution, but his mother usually managed one present for each of her many children at Christmas. One year, however, there just wasn't anything to be had. On Christmas morning, my dad found a pair of overalls under the tree.
He was just a tiny little boy, and he went out on the back steps and cried. His father, who was a terrible mean violent man, went out there and found him. Dad cringed, expecting the worst, but instead, his father reached into his pocket and pulled out a silver dollar. He gave it to Dad, explaining that Santa had meant it for Dad but had forgotten to put a name on it. Sometimes, the most unexpected things will come from the least likely person.
I think that was why Dad was such a kid at Christmas. When he WAS a kid, there wasn't much of one.
I think that was why Dad wanted to make it last as long as possible. He made us stand back in the hallway on Christmas morning as long as he could, to make it last longer. I think he also knew that the anticipation is the best part.
Dad had his faults. Who among us doesn't? Some of his faults were pretty bad, too. But whatever they were, they disappeared at Christmastime, because at Christmastime, he became a little kid with the rest of us.
This meant Mom had the burden of being the planning adult, but we didn't realize any of the family politics at the time. And that, too, was as it should be.
When Dad died, Hub and I took all the dozens and dozens for reels of 8mm film and had them made into VHS tapes for all of us. The tapes even had a soundtrack. They were wonderful. Eventually, we will have them put on DVD, and after that, I suppose whatever technology rears its awesome head.
When I look at those early tapes, I see my parents, younger than my children, looking for all the world like a couple of teenagers, pretending. Except that they weren't pretending, they really were a couple of early twenty-somethings who were in charge of our house. It's almost incomprehensible.
And now it's Christmas Eve day, my favorite day of the year, more favorite even than Christmas Day or Christmas Eve night. Christmas Eve day is a day of action, of baking and last-minute cleaning, of waiting for my children to arrive home, of delivering homemade bread to my aunts and to my cousins and to friends. On Christmas Eve day, the house smells like baking bread and cinnamon and vanilla, and the aromas do not come from candles.
On Christmas Eve night, the preparations and planning cease and the participation and celebration begins. But for me, the real fun of Christmas is these few days right before, because I love the preparation and the planning and most of all, the anticipation. Maybe this is because, even while standing in my new pajamas behind the door in the little hallways with my sisters and my brother, prancing with excitement, I really relished the 'it's all still before us' thing, without realizing what it was.
Now. Slow motion. Four kids in new pajamas running into a magical room where only a few hours before, Santa Claus had been. Christmas dollies, smelling of new untouched plastic. The new-dolly smell is every bit as good as new-car smell!!! Stockings, always with an orange in the bottom because Santa cared about our health, but really to take up a lot of room. Slow motion, because our memories so often are. That's why movie flashbacks sometimes begin in slow motion.
Real life goes FAST. Let's all try to see it clearly the first time around, so we don't have to see only in memory's slow motion what we should have seen as it happened.
Merry Christmas, dear precious Blog-friends. Merry Christmas, and may your lives be full of wonder and enchantment on this day, and always.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Armadillo porn.If you could see me through your monitor, you would see that I am typing funny. I mean, of course I just typed "funny" but I am typing 'funnily.' If that is a word, which it is now.
You'd type funny (funnily) too if you'd just finished a huge heavy denim quilt. My fingertips are pricked so thoroughly, I could probably pick a lock and open a safe. Which, considering our finances, might not be such a bad idea, said finances being a major reason I am making quilts instead of standing in the register line at the Lenox store, which, my sisters might be interested to know, I also did today, since our Lenox store is going out of business and everything is 70% off.
What a horrible sentence. Oh well, I'm off duty till January.
We took my sweet MIL with us, and she seems to be speaking to me now, so perhaps my peccadillos of Tuesday have been forgiven.
I giggle whenever I hear the word 'peccadillo.' Not that I hear it all that often. But honestly, doesn't that word make you giggle too? It's just so funny. Like armadillo porn. Not that I would know.
I think I just grossed myself out, I mean really grossed myself out, I mean REALLY. . . . .
So, Scotty, want to meet again soon?
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Busted.So. I was having lunch at Grecco's with my friend Scotty, when the door opened and my MIL walked in with some of her co-workers.
I can't think about it without laughing out loud. It was one of the funnest moments of my life.
Scotty's a really nice-looking man, and he was 'specially dolled up that day because he'd been to a business interview.
There we were eating deep-dish pizza, talking about blogging, mutual friends, personal friends we each think the other SHOULD get to know, drinking diet Coke after diet Coke after diet Coke, and laughing, comparing stories and circumstances, recommending blogs to each other, and eating some more and then ordering some more diet Cokes, and laughing some more and, and, and. . . . it looked for all the world like a DATE.
Well, it was. A lunch date between two friends.
My sweet MIL is a newspaper reporter, and so were all her co-workers. THEY all came over to talk to us, but she didn't. I don't think she was being deliberately unfriendly; I think she was in shock. I haven't talked to her since, but Hub and I can't stop laughing about it.
It was the most fun I've had in a long time. We were there about three hours, and would probably still be there if Grecco's had a public restroom. But when you take into account the fact that our waitress might as well have just run a hose from the coke machine to our table. . . . .
Did I say that Scotty was a nice-looking man? Heck, this guy is HOT. But I can't say that on my blog because it might embarass him.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
A little recognition, plural.The latest Carnival of Education is now up; click here and go read it. Not keeping up on all the latest issues is one reason why we as a nation are, well, not keeping up with all the latest issues! That, and a scary trend of wishy-washy adults, but I digress. Go read what some teachers and parents have to say this week.
And don't forget to go HERE and vote for your favorite blogs. We're probably too old to get excited over a sticker on a page we worked hard on, but. . . . on second thought, we're never too old for a sticker! Go vote and give your favorite bloggers a sticker for their hard work! You noticed and liked; now go tell the authors you did!
As for "Mrs. Doubtfire," I really liked it. Except for the ending. I know I'm dangerously naive for my age, but I much prefer a perfect happy ending. I know, I know, real life has few of those, but it does have some, and I like my movies to have happy endings. Oh, it was a "happy" ending, but it wasn't my kind of happy ending. Not that I'm picky or anything. And Sally Field was so anal, she really got on my nerves. That kind of person makes me strive harder to be off-the-wall. That's awful, isn't it. And at my AGE!!! Too bad so many school principals have a corncob up their. . . . but I digress. But in case you were wondering, that's why so many of them walk funny. They have to, lest it fall out.
There is a blueberry pie in my oven as I type. It's for a dear friend, the teacher I taught 'right next door to' for so many years. Blueberries are her favorite, and she's one of my favorite people, so I always make her a blueberry pie for Christmas. I had some pie dough left over so I made two tiny little apple pies using two tiny little pie tins left over from two tiny little Banquet pot pies. Each one used up one tiny little Granny Smith apple. Hub can snack on them later tonight.
And since I finished up "Mrs. Doubtfire," I watched "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" while I worked. And when it was done, I put in "Love Actually." I think I know it by heart, now. I'm still obsessed with it.
'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' is one of my all-time favorite novels. I've never yet seen a movie version that satisfied me, but this one came fairly close. It's the old one, with Peggy Ann Garner as Francie. It left out a lot, as movies ALWAYS do (bah!) but what it had, was cherce, to quote Tracy on Hepburn. I highly recommend this novel to everyone on the planet. It will enrich your life in many ways.
And now, back to the kitchen to wait for the oven timer and watch Professor Snape betray Professor Trelawney. I mean. . . . oh, you know what I mean.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Best of Blogs Awards, 2005. Do it.
See this button? You do? Good. Now, click here.
I don't know how to make a picture link. This post would have been classier if I knew how to do that.
Ahem. Yes, I know I am not very technologically oriented. I have other good qualities. I'll think of one in a minute.
In the meantime, go over there to the Best of Blogs 2005 page and nominate your favorite blogs for some (or all!) of the categories listed there. Go on, do it. It's fun. It's cool. Your blogger friends will appreciate it very much.
You'll sleep better tonight, knowing you did it.
Please. (Is it really a magic word?) (Why, yes, I believe it IS.)
Monday, December 19, 2005
Mrs. Doubtfire and me.I have never seen "Mrs. Doubtfire." In a few minutes, that will change. I found it in a discount bin for a dollar, in VHS format. Fortunately, I do not change over to new technology very quickly, and sitting beside my DVD player is my old VHS player, still hooked to the TV. Many of my favorite movies are apparently the favorites of nobody else, because they are not available on DVD; so, I watch as many old-style VHS movies as I do new-fangled DVD's. I like the DVD's better, of course; but when you're the only person on the planet who likes a certain movie, or when you find one you've always wanted to see but just never had the chance, in a dollar bin, a VCR is a handy little device. Besides, once the movie is rolling, I can't usually tell the difference anyway.
Until I try to control it with one of the three remotes on the table; invariably the one I want is the third of the three.
Is there anything more wonderful that dear friends? I don't think there is.
Dear friends, and you know who you are, I adore you. You make me feel as though I somehow matter, in the vastness of the universe. I never felt very important, before. Bless you all.
This is for Mistress Mary:
Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.
--Laura Ingalls Wilder
Sunday, December 18, 2005
It's not Bartlett's. . . . .Other people say it so well.
Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.
--Hamilton Wright Mabi
It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, "God Bless Us, Every One!
Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.
--Mary Ellen Chase
Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles.
If there is no joyous way to give a festive gift, give love away.
Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world - stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death - and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas.
--Henry Van Dyke
The magi, as you know, were wise men - wonderfuly wise men who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents.
I do come home at Christmas. We all do, or we all should. We all come home, or ought to come home, for a short holiday - the longer, the better - from the great boarding school where we are forever working at our arithmetical slates, to take, and give a rest.
It comes every year and will go on forever. And along with Christmas belong the keepsakes and the customs. Those humble, everyday things a mother clings to, and ponders, like Mary in the secret spaces of her heart.
I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
--Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol
I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the word seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.
The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing other's loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas. --W. C. Jones
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
--Burton Hillis (Better Homes and Gardens)
Whatever else be lost among the years, Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing: Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears, Let us hold close one day, remembering Its poignant meaning for the hearts of men. Let us get back our childlike faith again.
--Grace Noll Crowell
Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given--when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes.
--Joan Winmill Brown
Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart... filled it, too, with a melody that would last forever.
--Bess Streeter Aldrich
Peace on earth will come to stay, When we live Christmas every day.
--Helen Steiner Rice
There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.
--Erma Bombeck (I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression)
I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.
--Harlan Miller (Better Homes and Gardens)
Christmas ... is not an eternal event at all, but a piece of one's home that one carries in one's heart.
--Freya Stark ("The Wise Men" Time and Tide)
And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, Which shall be to all people. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, Lying in a manger.
--St. Luke ii. 10-12
From Home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other.
Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas. All else is outward display--so much tinsel and decorations. For it isn't the holly, it isn't the snow. It isn't the tree not the firelight's glow. It's the warmth that comes to the hearts of men when the Christmas spirit returns again.
Bless us Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind; Teach us to be patient and always to be kind.
--Helen Steiner Rice
From the Editorial Page of The New York Sun, written by Francis P. Church, September 21, 1897:
"Dear Editor--I am 8 years old."Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus."Papa says, 'If you see it in The Sun, it's so.'"Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
--Virginia O'Hanlon115 West Ninety-fifth Street
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
A Christmas candle is a lovely thing; It makes no noise at all, But softly gives itself away; While quite unselfish, it grows small.
--Eva K. Logue
Christmas--that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance--a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.
--Augusta E. Rundel
Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.
The merry family gatherings-- The old, the very young; The strangely lovely way they Harmonize in carols sung. For Christmas is tradition time-- Traditions that recall The precious memories down the years, The sameness of them all.
--Helen Lowrie Marshall
He who has no Christmas in his heart will never find Christmas under a tree.
Christmas is the day that holds all time together.
- - - Alexander Smith
The time draws near the birth of Christ;The moon is hid; the night is still;The Christmas bells from hill to hillAnswer each other in the mist.
- - - Alfred, Lord Tennyson "In Memoriam"
Best of all, Christmas means a spirit of love, a time when the love of God and the love of our fellow men should prevail over all hatred and bitterness, a time when our thoughts and deeds and the spirit of our lives manifest the presence of God.
--George F. McDougall
Christmas, my child, is love in action. ... Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas.
--Dale Evans Rogers
Christmas--that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance--a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.
--Augusta E. Rundel
...God's visit to earth took place in an animal shelter with no attendants present and nowhere to lay the newborn king but a feed trough. ... For just an instant the sky grew luminous with angels, yet who saw the spectacle? Illiterate hirelings who watched the flocks of others, "nobodies" who failed to leave their names...
--Philip Yancy ("The Glory of Humility" in Christmas Stories for the Heart)
Late on a sleepy, star-spangled night, those angels peeled back the sky just like you would tear open a sparkling Christmas present. Then, with light and joy pouring out of Heaven like water through a broken dam, they began to shout and sing the message that baby Jesus had been born. The world had a Savior! The angels called it "Good News, " and it was.
--Larry Libby ("The Angels Called it Good News" in Christmas Stories for the Heart
Off to one side sits a group of shepherds. They sit silently on the floor, perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels. God goes to those who have time to hear him--and so on this cloudless night he went to simple shepherds.
--Max Lucado ("The Arrival" in Christmas Stories for the Heart)
Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don't quite know how to put our love into words.
--Harlan Miller (Better Homes and Gardens)
So here comes Gabriel again, and what he says is "Good tidings of great joy ... for all people." ... That's why the shepherds are first: they represent all the nameless, all the working stiffs, the great wheeling population of the whole world.
--Walter Wangerin Jr. (Preparing for Jesus)
Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it "white".--Bing Crosby
The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!
--Charles N. Barnard, American author, travel writer.
My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?
--Bob Hope, American film actor and comedian.
Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves.
--Eric Sevareid (1912-1992), American newscaster
Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.
--Hamilton Wright Mabie
Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.
Keeping Christmas is good, but sharing it is better.
-- Arnold Glasow
The only blind person at Christmastime is he who has not Christmas in his heart.
Christmas is the day that holds all time together.
It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a Child himself.
-- Charles Dickens
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Clash of the Holiday Icons, starring Jack Pumpkin-Head and the Watchtower.This year, for Christmas, we bought a garage door opener. Ever since we got it (about a month ago) we enter the house through the garage, duh. We haven't used the front door since that time, except to open it for guests.
I wish one of them had told me that I still had two big pumpkins on either side of the door. I didn't even notice them when I put up the wreath. Two huge pumpkins, still on the porch. And boy, were they rotten.
How rotten were they? When I tried to pick them up, my hands went right through the shell and into the gooey core. I'm still picking that stuff out of my fingernails. I finally had to just open the trash bag, hold it behind each pumpkin, and sort of PUSH it with both open palms and my wrists, to get it into the bag. I'm going to let the next rainstorm wash away the two round orange spots on the porch. I mean, I'M not touching them.
I want to thank the Jehovah's Witness crew for pointing out the pumpkins to me today. I don't want your literature, and I'm not interested in your memorized spiel, but I do appreciate your telling me I still had pumpkins on my porch.
That sensation of sticking my hands into that thick gooey wet ick is going to stay with me for quite a while. I don't know how obstetricians stand it. I hope they get regular manicures.
Charcoal with every oven meal.When I first turn on my oven, the ghosts of spilled-over pies, sauces, and other drippy little accidents send their charred aromas wafting through the house. I occasionally brush out the blackened dust, but that's about as far as I go, these days, with 'cleaning the oven.'
Yes, I do have a self-cleaning oven, but it's as lazy as I am.
Seriously though, I'm afraid of the 'self-cleaning' dial. Have you SEEN how high the temperature of that thing gets?
And if the goal of it is to turn all the spilled turkey grease, cheese sauce, and pie juice to charcoal, well, I do that anyway. Over time.
The scents of blackened miscellanities don't last very long; just until they're replaced by fresher spills or stronger aromas.
Right this minute, for example, the whole house smells like fresh-baked bread. I like to give all my aunts a loaf of bread for Christmas every year. It's the only time I see most of them.
Tomorrow, whatever I put in there will have to compete with the scent of burnt crumbs and butter.
I will say, that when I fix Polish sausage and sauerkraut for Hub, I make bloody sure it's in a huge pan with a tight lid, with no chance of a spillover. That stuff reeks, fresh in the pan, and I'm taking no chances of a toxic spill in my oven. Blackened apple pie juice is one thing, but blackened sauerkraut? Men in white suits and gas masks would have to clean my oven. And if that happened, I'd have to clean all the hardened food off the top, around the burners, before "people" saw it, because that stuff appears in the night and takes me by surprise. I looked closely at my stovetop just today and thought, 'Where did all THAT come from? I know I cleaned this thing. . . . what's today's date?"
Hub eating over the stove when nobody's home might have something to do with that. Yeah, he thinks nobody knows. He could give Hansel and Gretel lessons in trail-leaving.
Not that there's anything WRONG with that. . . . except when there is.You know, I really think that a teacher who devotes half of every period to free reading*, assigns a textbook chapter to be read as homework but won't go into explanations or examples or drill or anthing about it, glosses over it for a few minutes, (maybe) "if there's time after the free reading," and then tests the students over it, isn't doing a very good job.
*I'm not putting down the free reading; I love to read and I would have enjoyed having free reading every day in English class; the grammar and actual lesson part came easily to me and I did that all on my own anyway. This method would not have worked in any of my math classes. This method does not work for most students in any class.
But don't you think that if a student is going to be tested on a particular subject, and if an adult has been hired to make sure the student knows and understands this subject, that this adult really ought to put forth a little effort to do just that? I do.
Whutever. I've got a student coming over for some tutoring today, and I'm really looking forward to it. He's one of my favorite people!!!
He's brilliant and creative and hilarious, and he catches on fast and learns quickly. Who could ask for a better combination? One of my favorite students of all time. And when HE is struggling with something, then I know something's rotten in Denmark.
Besides which, a student who is a hard worker and who doesn't have a ton of absences with makeup work he refuses to do and with an intelligent kind understanding mother and not one missing assignment, who asks for help? That is, or should be, a teacher's
When that isn't happening, then somebody's job shouldn't be happening.
I suppose some teachers do a lot of reading themselves, during class. I've had teachers who knit or did needlepoint while we were reading. It never bothered me, but I thought it was odd. I still do.
But who am I to talk. I used to do beadwork while my students were reading or testing, so I'd have cool bracelets to give as prizes. I just didn't do that every day.
I was one of those 'roaming' teachers. I walked around the room and stuck my nose in their bidness while teaching. I've been known to put toothpaste on the back of a sleeping student's neck. Once, a class and I got so annoyed with a chronically sleeping student that we tiptoed over to the clock, moved the hands to 3:45, went out into the hallway, and one of his friends nudged him and said, "Hey man, you going to stay here all night? The bus is gone, man!"
I'd never seen a human being jump that high before. It was fantastic. Oh, and he never slept in my class again. He told me he was afraid to. Astute.
Besides, when they fall asleep, it hurts my feelings. It happens more now, with adult students, than it did with the young students, because my students, for the most part, work full time and have families and are working school in, among, and around all their responsibilities. They're exhausted, and I feel their pain. I wouldn't do the toothpaste thing now. Don't tell them, though, because I use that as a threat sometimes and I don't want them to know how soft I really am.
Oh, and the party last night? We had a GREAT time. Thanks for asking.
Friday, December 16, 2005
The clock will tick away the hours one by one. . . .One student is still working on her final exam. Everybody else has finished and gone home. This student has been struggling all semester, and I hate to hurry her, and I won't hurry her. She can have all the time she needs.
But golly gee whiz, Hub and I are going to a party tonight and I'd really like to get there on time. . . .
Sigh. Struggle on, student. I will wait for you. Even if it takes forever.
We haven't been to a party for a long time. I've really been looking forward to this one. It got postponed once, because of the snowstorm, but it's definitely on for tonight. I can't wait to get there!
And, she's not going to finish by the official end of the class. It's supposed to be over in fifteen minutes but she won't be done by then. It's not really that difficult a test; it's just the kind that requires tedious research. If she would turn around and use the computer that's directly behind her, she might be able to research faster, but she's one of the many students I have who is not familiar with computers, and is too fearful to use one. She's got a little dictionary, and her notes, and her textbook, and is faithfully doing the job that way. I'm not going to hurry her.
I made my party-food contribution early this morning, just in case this happened. I had a premonition.
On the bright side, I've graded, recorded, and averaged everyone else's grade in this class while she's working, so that's a few things I won't have to do this weekend.
In fact, I've averaged all my classes' grades. All I have to do now is record them on the college website, and I can't do that on this computer because once I'm in that site, I have to completely finish, including a printout, because it won't let me back in again after a grade's been entered. And the printer in this classroom isn't working today. I'll do it Saturday.
There will be killer euchre tournaments at the party tonight. Oh, we are a wild bunch! I'm a terrible euchre player but I love to play. Nobody ever wants to be my partner after watching a round or two, though. Imagine. You trump your partner's ace a few times and everybody's a critic.
This poor student keeps watching the clock. I know she feels bad about keeping me here so late, but really, it's okay. That is what I'm here for. It's my job. She's a little slow, well, I will wait for her. She is genuinely trying, and that means a lot to me. I hope she does well, because she really needs a good grade. This exam will determine if she passes this class or not; students must earn a C in order to qualify for the next class up. Lower than a C and they must take this class again. She's borderline, and I know she's a nervous wreck thinking about that while she's writing out her answers. Just a few wrong answers on this one test, and she has to take the entire class over again. That's pressure, my friends.
I'm glad I wore my red sweater to school today, it's Christmassy; I won't have a chance to take a shower again or change my clothes, but I took a shower this morning so I shouldn't be TOO foul. Maybe I'll just go straight to the party and have Hub meet me there. Oh, but then we'd have two vehicles in town. Oh, I'll just go home and get the food and we'll drive in together. There's not much parking space there anyway.
Oh man, she's on the last page. . . . .
My sweet elderly people who do genealogy research in our computer lab on Tuesday afternoons will be there. One of the gentlemen was telling us a few weeks ago about an Elvis Presley record his wife used to have that she absolutely loved, and that he could not find anywhere on cd. I couldn't find it either, and then, when I finally did, it turned out to be one of those rarities that costs megabucks on Ebay and Amazon.
So I did what any evil pirate would do: I downloaded all the tracks one by one and burned a cd for him. He's going to be at the party tonight and I can't wait to give it to him.
She's closing her books. She's gathering up her things. SHE'S FINISHED! YAY!
I'll be home in a half hour. It's party time tonight!
I hope all of you have enjoyable weekends too.
Oh wait. She wants me to grade it and average her scores. Okay, I will. I'm already late anyway so what the hey.
She did it. Barely, but she did it.
You should have seen her face as she hugged that test and left the room. Those of you who teach have seen it before, but it's always brand new every time.
It's why we love our jobs.
I love my job."To me, education is something that up until a couple of years ago didn't mean that much. I finally realized that education is something that shapes and defines our lives and our future. Without a decent education, it is almost impossible to get a good job; you might as well just look forward to flipping burgers or work in a factory for the rest of your life. Without a college degree, you can only make it so far in life.
When I was in high school, I never even considered going to college. I couldn't wait to quit high school and have fun. The years passed by and all I had to show for my life was a long line of dead-end jobs and no money. I wanted more education. I wanted to be able to get a better job. I wanted more money. I wanted to understand what they were talking about on the daily news. I wanted to be able to answer my kids' questions about things. I wanted to be able to help my kids with their homework.
I began to wonder what I might be interested in studying. I thought about what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted a career, something I could do that I might really like and be able to make a living from. It had finally occurred to me that getting an education was important; that hadn't occurred to me before.
I recently enrolled at xxx xxxx Community College. I decided to go for an associates degree in Office Administration. I now find education to be important and personally rewarding. I learn new things every day, and I want to learn more. I never want to stop learning. And I want my kids to learn new things every day, too. Maybe with their mom in school, they'll start earlier than I did, and that would be great."
This is why I love my job so much. This is why I do it. This more than makes up for the few slackers I have to deal with. This makes it all worthwhile.
I really do love my job.
Honestly, I think there are more of this kind of people than the other kind. We're just so busy trying to accommodate and deal with the other kind to pay much attention to this kind. That's a shame.
One voice, but whose?I do not believe there is a 'War against Christmas.' But I do think there are battles being fought about it.
Working in the schools, I saw, time and time again, programs about Christmas eliminated because one parent objected, symbols of Christmas removed because one parent complained, stories, poems, etc, deleted from curriculum because one parent objected. I saw children of "those" families forced by their parents to attend on the party days, but to sit out in the hall or go to the library lest they be exposed to something that particular family did not embrace. How sad that a family's belief system be so fragile that a question from a child would destroy it, but what other explanation could there be?
And, of course, there were those very, very few families who just kept their kids home when the schools did anything the parents disapproved of. I believe these families are most responsible for the elimination of holidays within the schools, because when kids are absent, the schools don't get federal money for their warm body, and it's money that makes the scholastic mare go. Therefore, to keep all the kids in school, administrations and lawmakers are eliminating anything that might offend, keeping more bodies in the building and more pennies in the coffers.
It's odd, isn't it, that the literature textbooks are now full to the brim of ethnic and alternate lifestyle stories, holidays, celebrations, and beliefs, but strangely devoid of anything resembling a Christian lifestyle. I've seen classrooms with Kwanzaa or Hannukah decor and those were okay, but a Christmas tree, or wreath? Verboten. The explanation we were given was that the "other" celebration symbols were part of 'culture education,' whereas a Christian symbol would be interpreted as proselytizing.
I once used a textbook that had in it a story about an old man who had been ashamed all his life of the year he'd had to go on welfare, and wanted, before he died, to somehow repay the system. He planted a huge garden, and went around the city giving gifts of large lots of food to poor people, believing they would be grateful and understand what he was doing. He was shattered when not one person thanked him, and almost all of them complained to the county welfare office because their neighbor got something they didn't get and they demanded more and whined that they weren't getting exactly what they requested and finally tried to sue because of 'discrimination.' That story was eliminated from the curriculum; it was deemed politically incorrect and might make people ashamed.
Well, shouldn't they be? We had to accept gov'ment cheese a time or two in the past, and we're dangerously close to that right now, and we were plenty ashamed. We did it, for the sake of the children, but we were ashamed that we had to. I think we are supposed to feel shame when we can't do these things ourselves. I think that kind of shame makes us more determined to rise up out of it and make it, no matter what the odds. I think true shame would be considering charity a lifestyle rather than a temporary fix. (Slacker lifestyle.) But then, what do I know. I read the story to over a hundred students that year, and the school got flak from one family that was "humiliated," and we had to actually physically tear the pages out of all the textbooks, even though that story inspired some of my students to volunteer, donate, and try to help others in the county.
I know that in America, "one voice" is heard and is important, but when did it happen that "one voice" is dictating what all the other voices are allowed to have, see, hear, be, or go?
I know that majority rule isn't always appropriate, but when did it happen that the majority has no rights at all?
When did it happen that one person's beliefs overrule the beliefs of everyone else?
When did it happen that prayer can be removed from a sport, graduation, celebration, holiday, etc, because one person heard about it and travelled a thousand miles to protest about it, even though that person did not live in that community and was protesting merely to make a point and get some publicity?
I think it's wonderful that this country has a diverse population. I think different points of view make for a very tasty melting-pot-stew. But while it's still wonderful that one voice can change things, it's not right that one voice can change things no one else wants to change, things that aren't hurting anyone or beating anyone down, or leaving anyone out if they wish to participate, etc.
When I first started teaching, December turned the schools into a magic place, a place where every single child, no matter what sort of bleakness he might be facing at home, was assured of a wrapped gift, and a party, and lots of great food and candy, and a stocking, and a chance to make all kinds of glittery cool stuff in art class, and a month where he could sit in class and stare at a twinkling glowing tree with presents under it, one of which he KNEW was for him, and the opportunity to sing beautiful songs that were not sung at any other time of the year, and a total immersion in American holiday culture, because they all lived in America, duh. Each child had that in December, even those children who went home to nothing. But now, those families who believe in nothing insist that all the other children have nothing at school, either. And for whatever reason, their insisting has taken precedence over the belief system of the majority of the other families, who have no choice, it seems, but to abide by it.
I think sometimes that the only 'voices' that are heard these days are those 'voices' that insist that their particular rights and beliefs, few though they are comparatively speaking, absolutely must take precedence over everyone else's, even in a culture that traditionally and happily celebrates.
How sad for their children. I'm sorry for their children. As for the adults who do this to them? No pity for you; you're adults who have chosen to remove the sparkle and happy suspense from the lives of millions of children in this country. I might even despise you for that.
So, "War Against Christmas?" Probably not. But in the schools, I'm afraid there is, and has been for several years now, and it's worse every year, as long as we continue to put up with that one voice that insists we eliminate all references to something that one voice, individually, doesn't happen to like, even when all the other voices love it.
In a choir, that one dissonant voice wouldn't be tolerated. It would ruin everything for everyone.
Yep. It sure would.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Narnia and Polly and Glen WaddellI just read Polly Toynbee's review of the new Narnia movie. It was somewhat similar to other reviews I've recently read.
Apparently, reviewers who are not familiar with the books are being taken by surprise. Shouldn't there be some kind of IQ requirement? Shouldn't there be some kind of rule that before a critic is allowed to review a movie based on a book, that critic must first read the book?
On second thought, why should that be a rule? Isn't it just common sense? Wouldn't it be a sign of, oh, say, asininity, to set oneself up as some kind of expert about a movie based on a book, if one has not yet read the book?
This woman states that the movie is very faithful to the book, even though she never mentions that she has read it, and then proceeds to tear it to pieces because of her fear that it might give children cause to think about and recognize Christianity later in their lives. She advises non-believers to take a sickbag to the theater.
Oh Polly, Polly, Polly. . . . regardless of what you think, or what anyone thinks, your review falls into the same category as any other review: opinion.
In other words, your review, like any review, contains very little fact; it contains only your slant on your personal interpretation of a studio's slant on their personal interpretation of a very good book. (MY slant and personal interpretation.)
Is mine any better than yours? No. I know many people who found fault with the film. But I run with a crowd that loves finding fault with book-based movies, because we are first and foremost book lovers, and we hate it when a movie leaves things out.
I'm not complaining about you having an opinion that's different than mine. Heck, that's what this country is all about! It would be pretty boring if we all thought alike.
Perhaps, however, if we all stopped putting each other and things down because of those differences, we might all get along somewhat better than we do now. I need to take this advice as much as you do.
Why can't a reviewer acknowledge the Biblical allegory, accept it without whining, praise the wit and cleverness and subtlety or non-subtlety of it, and move on? Why is it that anything 'religious' is an open invitation to harsher criticism than, say, something "trashy" or "immoral" or "violent?" Why is a movie about child molesters 'artistic' and 'touching,' while a movie with religious implications is 'propaganda?' Why do we refer to an abuser as 'handsome yet monstrous' and say things like 'I couldn't help liking him a lot anyway,' but to mention anything religious as being 'good for us' is out of line? Why would a movie like this be called "a fine piece of filmmaking, and something any true film lover should see," while a movie like Narnia is ". . .heavily laden with guilt, blame, sacrifice and a suffering that is dark with emotional sadism"?
Whether you like it or not, this country uses a lot of Biblical references and allegories in everyday life. You've acknowledged that in your article. This country also uses a lot of mythological references and allegories in everyday life. You don't seem to mind that. This country uses all KINDS of references and allegories, in every possible category and genre, in everyday life. People who understand them are considered educated and probably more intelligent than people who don't understand them. What's up with that little difference in your personal slant?
What, you didn't understand all the allegories? I rest my case.
I'm starting to shop today. Right after this rant.Okay, so, today's what, the 15th?
I am a Christmas fanatic. I live for this season. I LOVE this time of year, the anticipatory days, the buildup, the whole atmosphere of the world. Well, of the fun world, anyway; the grinches and grumps of the world don't count. I believe in the TRUE meaning of Christmas, but if you don't, that's your business. I do think even non-believers could get into the SEASON, if not the REASON, and have a lot of fun with it, and most of them do and are glad of it. But every party needs a pooper, that's why we invited you. . . . . so sit in the corner and complain and try to ruin it for the majority of the nation, go ahead, whine away, oh boo hoo your rights are being trampled because other people (who constitute a majority, by the way) are all happy and singing. . . oh, grow up and look around, you loser!!! Most of us are happier than usual, and thinking of others and trying to make our personal spaces a little prettier, and thinking generous thoughts for a change, and trying to help others in the coldest time of the year, and you're picketing stores and writing editorials demanding your scroogeish rights and doing your best to put a damper on it all.
Shame on you.
And, shame again. Lighten up. Embrace the emotional impact, if you don't have it in you to embrace any other aspect of it. It's a religious thing, yes. But it's also a cultural thing, and a seasonal thing, and an emotional thing, and a love thing, and a caring thing, and a sharing thing, and it makes people happy when they participate, and if you choose not to participate in any part of it, at least shut up about it so you don't drag others down with you. You have your rights? Yes, you do. And so do the rest of us, and that's something you don't seem to wish to acknowledge in any way because you're too busy trying to get an entire culture to shut down and do things your way. It's not going to happen, Scrooge. If you don't like it, move away.
Yes. Move away. You know, to some OTHER country where you're allowed to worship, behave, believe, eat, drink, etc, exactly as you please. . . . . oops. Um, wait a second. IS there another country where you're allowed to do those things? Besides this one that you spend all your time putting down?
I don't THINK so.
Therefore, if you intend to stay here, please understand something: you have your rights, and so does everyone else. You choose to be joyless at this time of year, others choose to be joyful. Neither of us is going to change. There are more of us than of you. Stay in your dark cheerless house if you don't want to see happy sharing singing people.
Sit there in your dark hole and practice saying things like "Bah, humbug," and "My RIGHTS are being obstructed!!!! Oh WAHHHHH" Stuff like that. Be sure your windows are open so the neighbors can hear you. Put a sign on your door, too, to warn people away lest a neighbor bring you a cake or a box of cookies - more signs that your rights are being disrespected.
What's the matter, you can't enjoy someone else's holiday? Okay, then you should be the one who volunteers to work the Christmas shifts for people. It doesn't mean anything to you, right? You'll get more money, and that's important to you, right? Then why aren't you first in line for that? It would be a wonderful gift for a father or mother who would love to be home with their kids for Christmas. . . .but then, you don't give gifts, do you, so that's out. And asking you to work when others don't would be yet another manisfestation of your rights being trampled.
Honestly. I hope you are in therapy.
But I digress. It's the 15th of December, and I haven't done any shopping yet. So I'm leaving for school early, and stopping by a few stores. My kids are going to have some kind of Christmas this year, and I don't care if Hub and I don't eat for a month afterwards. We don't need to be eating, anyway, gad.
So, to the majority of the world, a very Merry Christmas. To the rest of you, carry on, and be careful lest you accidently eat a cookie or hear a song or see some twinkling lights; it might scar you for life.
You know, I really believe that a person who chooses to live in a certain place, should bend over backwards to learn the language, the customs, and adapt to the culture. Otherwise, go back. Plus, it is not the responsibility, nor should it be, of the nation to accommodate the language, customs, and culture from whence you came. If you wanted to keep that wholly unto itself, why did you come to another place and expect to be catered to? If I moved to another country, I would certainly not expect, let alone demand or require, anyone or anything to cater to me; it would be my responsibility to adapt myself. I would adhere to my old ways at home, and do my best to fit in with the new culture's ways everywhere else. Why should they change for me? I'm the outsider! What's up with people believing they can move to a country and not change their ways at all?
Thanks for the meme, Robin!Wow, another good friend has tagged me! For another meme! So, here it is!
The rules for this meme are as follows: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot.
Then you get to select five people to pass the love on to. This is the best part. Check the following blogs in the next day or two to see what they have to say about Robin and her meme.
That’s it. It’s an easy one. I am not familiar with Robin's list so I will dash over to them before I leave for school. I'm always up for a friend's recommendation!
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Thanks for the tag, Scotty.My friend Scotty tagged me, so here it is.
1. What were you doing 10 years ago?
I had two kids in high school and was busy every weekend hosting slumber parties and sleepovers and band hootnannies, and cooking suppers for the marching band, and chaperoning field trips for the band, and selling concessions for the band, and sitting parked in the school parking lot for hours and hours waiting for the band to return from something, and teaching middle school and loving it, and taking students to dinner theatres and live plays, and chairing committees and writing speeches for administrators and thinking up mottoes for various and sundry school things, and transporting a van full of teens to Broadway musicals all over the southern part of the state and the northern part of Kentucky, and being a Band Booster officer, and taking students to Academic Competitions, and setting up spelling bees, and tons of other activities, some of which my mind has deleted for reasons of self-preservation.
2. What were you doing 1 year ago?
I had just finished up the first semester of my new job, I was missing my two kids who had grown up and moved out a few years previous, I was getting ready to host a big family Christmas party, I was making some wonderful new friends, and I was just beginning to be happy again.
3. Five snacks you enjoy:
A. Hostess cupcakes
B. pecan-studded brownie batter
D. Green seedless grapes, blueberries, Granny Smith apples, and red plums.
4. Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
I know the lyrics to a million zillion songs.
5. Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
A. I'd give half the money away to various charities, as long as they did not come begging to my door.
B. I would establish four-year full scholarships, including books, pizza, and spending money, to 50 average, extremely well-behaved, musical students of my choice, every year. No preps, snobs, already-rich, or mean students need apply. Scholarship instantly revoked if parent ever complains about any of it.
C. I would put some in an account for each of my kids, and allow them to live on the interest AS LONG AS they were gainfully employed.
D. I would see that my mother and MIL (no strings) and all my relatives and friends lived in comfort for the rest of their lives, AS LONG AS they were gainfully employed.
E. I would surprise people with anonymous cash gifts all the time.
Five bad habits:
A. Blogging at work.
B. Not enough exercise.
C. Eating junk food.
D. Being too naive and probably too trusting for my age.
E. Letting the clutter build up here and there and everywhere
6. Five Things You Like Doing:
A. Baking and Cooking.
B. Listening to and sharing music.
C. Hanging out with friends.
D. Eating (unfortunately)
E. Blogging (and all kinds of writing, chatting, and computer activity)
7. Five things you would never wear again:
A. Denim string bikini
B. Platform thongs (the shoes, not the underwear.) (Not the underwear, either. )
C. Short shorts
D. Fishnet stockings (shut up.)
8. Five favorite toys:
D. Oven (Hey, I play with it and have fun! That's what a toy is!)
Jane's Diner: Open 24 hours.I absolutely love Steak and Shake. I'd eat there every other day if I could afford it.
I absolutely love Grecco's Pizza. I'd eat there every other day if I could afford it.
If I could afford it, you would know where to find me every day.
Now, for dinner:
I absolutely love the Texas Road House. I'd eat there every other day if I could afford it.
And all the other places I absolutely love? I'd fit them in there somewhere. I would take turns with them so none would feel left out.
I love to eat out.
Heck, those of you who know me personally know that I love to eat, period. Sigh.
Oh my gosh, Christmas is coming! I love these anticipatory days.
Does anybody else think "prebuttal" is a really stupid word?
And in case anybody was wondering. . . . when a human resources person calls a teacher concerning a reference for a possible employee, they don't ask about grades first. They ask about attendance first. They ask about citizenship second. And if those two are satisfactory, they ask about grades. Just so you know, slacker-boy.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
I am a licensed curmudgeon.1. Even if you DO take your children to McDonald's for supper, it is still considered gauche to allow them to jump up and down in the booths so hard the drinks vibrate on the table in the next booth over. McDonald's has a play area for your child, if he can't sit still. Please utilize it.
2. Remember that airplane scene in "Kindergarten Cop?" Remember how Ahnold endured the obnoxious little boys in the seats behind him until he snapped, and showed the worst of the two what would happen to him if he didn't calm down and behave? Remember how it WORKED? That scene was going through my mind at McDonald's tonight. I'm not brave enough to do it, though.
3. Thinking of "Kindergarten Cop" made me want to see it again, so when I got home I put it in the player and sat back. When the airplane scene came on, I leaned forward and smiled. And when Ahnold grabbed the abusive "father" and slammed him into the car, I smiled even wider. I honestly think that scene is one of the many fantasies every teacher has. Just once, we would all like to tell a scumbag child-beater what we really think of him, and slam the worthless abusive bum into a car and break something. (Not on the car. People need cars. What people do NOT need is a child-beater. If you know one, turn him in. If you ARE one, go to hell.)
Oh, what the heck. I'm tired of holding back. Some day I'll tell you how I really feel about them.
4. I went for ten years thinking Chicken McNuggets were something to be avoided at all costs, that they were made of beaks and claws and nether regions and ground feathers and offal. I still think they are. So, why do I want them now? Is it a kind of pica? Are they really better than gnawing wood or eating the corners off paper or devouring dirt or sneaking downstairs in the night and eating the face out of a jack o'lantern? Probably not. But for some reason, at this point in time, I want some. With bbq sauce.
5. The Post Office is really busy at this time of the year. What is up with all the old women * in there this afternoon, with bags full of unwrapped gifts, holding up the line while they ask for a box, ask for tape, ask for styrofoam, ask for labels, and then stand there still holding up a long, long line while they pack the box, tape the box, label the box, and mail the box? On behalf of myself and all the nine million others in that line who did all of those things at home before we drove to the Post Office: That's NOT how it's done! Do all of that before you go there! Everybody in line hates you! And stop trying to have lengthy conversations with the busy clerks who are trying to wait on people! Are you that lonely? Go volunteer somewhere. **
6. I am in a bad mood.
*Yes, older even than I am.
**They were all seemingly able-bodied and obviously bored and apparently lonely. Those things are no excuse for public rudeness. If they did something useful on a regular basis, maybe it would perk them up and open their eyes.
7. Did I mention that I'm in a bad mood? I'm not even sure why. Old curmudgeons like me don't need a reason.
P.S. Why do people who don't work outside the home, and have all the time in the world to run around and get things done, still do their errands during the busiest times of the day for working people who DON'T have much time? I mean, jeepers! When I was home with my two babies, I carved my whole day into segments where I could do my business during the times when I would least inconvenience working people with limited time resources. I would NEVER place myself and my kids where someone who worked might be held up by us. I timed their naps (such as they were) to accommodate rush hours and lunch hours for other people. When working people were trying to fit lunch and errands into their one lone free hour, we stayed home and out of their way. I still think this is only courteous. Am I the only one?
P.P.S. I'm in a bad mood. I think it's all those footprints on the moon.
I may have mentioned a time or two before that I loathe political correctness.Monday:
First class: 9 F's
Second class: 5 F's
None of the F's in the first class showed up today.
Two of the F's in the second class showed up today.
Today was the day the students got their final exam back, to check over. Today was the day they found out their semester average and their semester letter grade.
Why are the F's always so surprised? The A's and B's and C's aren't surprised; they pretty much keep track all semester and can guess it really well.
But the F's? They are always absolutely blown away in shock. What is up with that?
Why does a student who skips constantly, comes in late when he DOES come in, fails tests, doesn't do homework, throws paper wads, borrows paper and pencils because he seldom brings his own, spends class time on his cell phone, has to be told constantly to put the iPod away, and tries to play computer games during class, almost pass out from shock when he finds out he has an average of 16%?
Now. If you are heavily into the self-esteem, PC thing, stop reading right now, because I am going to say something you won't approve of at all, at all.
Fair warning. Last warning.
Okay, you've been warned.
Dear F Student: You are a consummate dumbass and frankly, I don't feel sorry for you one bit. You got exactly the grade you earned, and you don't deserve any further consideration. I am sorry the other students had to put up with you all semester, on those few days you condescended to attend class. You dragged them all down, and made us go slowly. Fortunately, when you weren't there, everyone else was able to catch up. I am sorry you took up roster space in a class that had a waiting list, when another student could have taken that seat and done better than you did. Heck, D.A, I would venture to say that any one-celled amoebic organism would have done better than you did. It would have had a better personality than you, too. And a better attitude.
You were correct, however, when you repeatedly stated that something was seriously fucked up in this class. Something certainly was, and that something was you. We took a poll.
Now, go away.
P.S. We waited till you were gone to bring out the doughnuts.
Monday, December 12, 2005
This year, I bought a lot of Scotch tape. I wonder where I put it. . . .My sisters and I have an annual gift-wrapping 'thing' going, for Christmas Day. It started when one sister brought her gifts in, to put under Mom's tree, and we noticed that she had gone all-out with ribbons, glitter, etc. The next year, another sister joined in. The third year, the third sister finally woke up, realized what was going on, and decided to blow the other two out of the water.
Nobody has ever mentioned the word 'contest' or 'competition' when speaking of all the outstandingly beautiful gifts under Mom's tree each year, but we know what we're doing. We know who wins every year, too. (Sometimes one sister, sometimes another; it's never said out loud but it's like keeping score at a biddy ball game: nobody keeps score, but everybody keeps score.)
Having fun with the wrapping is one way to dress up a very low-budget gift exchange. Personally, I love wrapping gifts for people. It's the artistic part that comes a little harder for me.
This year, I've improved my chances slightly by making sure we had plenty of Scotch tape in the house. Last year we ran out, and all that silver duct tape is, I'm sure, the only reason I came in dead last, last year.
Are you laughing? It was SILVER, at least. Silver is a Christmas color. I mean, it wasn't like I used BANDAIDS again, was it?
That was only a rumor. A person would have to be hard up indeed to use Bandaids to seal the Christmas presents.
Well scheisse, they were Smurf bandaids! Things don't get much more artistic than Smurfette on the bottom of your Christmas present.
Oh all right, I was the last of the sisters to catch on.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
I come unglued myself, sometimes.
So. When I unpacked the tree-topper angel, her right arm had come unglued. I know that in this house, somewhere, sitting unopened and dusty, are at least a million bottles of every kind of glue known to mankind. Since I couldn't find any of them, or remember where I'd put them, Hub went out and bought some more. He didn't buy MY kind of glue, though; he bought HIS kind of glue. My kind of glue is Elmer's glue, peaceful, white, fast-drying, clear-drying glue that peels off your fingertips in long curls and impresses the kid in the next desk over. . . . Oh wait, that was a while ago. Ahem. I would never do that now. No.
He brought home super glue. The kind that says, "Be careful or you will never be able to let go of this angel arm again and will have to live out your life with this heavenly appendage forever dangling from your fingers." The kind that says, "If accidentally swallowed, we hope your funeral plans are pre-made and your casket is already chosen."
I am not good with glue. My track record with glue is not good. When I can even find some, that is.
Today, the broken angel sitting on the coffee table seemed to reproach me for my procrastininity, so I opened the package of super glue, activated it with a sharp object, and put a tiny drop on the angel arm. It came out like water, and the arm fell right back off when I pressed it to the watery dot.
I had to sit there and hold the angel's arm and wait for the glue to dry. Hah. Super glue indeed. Ten minutes later, she was on the mend. Elmer could have done it in five. That's no bull.
So then while I had the tube pricked and dripping (I love to mess with Google) I looked around for other things to mend. I found a few, and voila, fixed.
Have I mastered the tao of super glue? I'll let you know as soon as I can figure out how to get this dried pore-closing stuff off my fingers. I didn't even know I'd dripped it on myself till I started typing and noticed the vague numbness.
Every year I vow to count our Hallmark ornaments and I always forget. I forgot this year, too. I've been collecting them since 1973 (yes, I know, it's before most of you were BORN) and they've really accumulated. I love each and every one. I can't afford to buy them any more; I manage two or three now, but my tree is classy and different and I love it. I've got a picture of last year's tree on my Flickr, and as soon as I get Fifi back on the top, I'll snap this year's tree.
All the Christmas angels in this house have names. Belle named them when she was two years old. She gave them "the most beautiful names I ever heard in the WORLD!" So, our tree-topper angel is Fifi. The angels in the big creche are Mimi and Zsa Zsa.
Don't look at me. We hardly ever watched television even back in those days.
She must have picked that up from Hollywood Squares over at Mom's house. That, and her propensity for calling every bottle in the bathroom cabinet "Porcelana" and searching strangers' arms for signs of age spots.