Monday, November 30, 2009

Book is Done!

Got my New York trip book done. Would have it uploaded and ordered, but the Picaboo folks don’t seem to have their computer-operating-end of their business working right now. I’ve used them several times now—this is my second picture book with them and I also did Laura’s birth announcements through them—and, while working on the item is usually not a problem (and in fact is pretty fun and easy, usually), the ordering end is always fraught with trouble and frustration.

I guess because I’m married to a computer guy who takes care of business when servers are down and such, I just assume that other computer-based businesses do the same. Maybe they just don’t know how. I don’t know. I do know that it’s very frustrating.

The problem (this time) is that they are running a big sale—buy one, get one free—and so lots of people are taking advantage of it. I mean, I am. Why wouldn’t everyone else? Today was the last day of the sale and so they have had people pounding their servers, uploading books and cards for purchase.

It just seems to me that they would take into account that this kind of thing happens. You have a sale, you have the end of it and people are going to rush in to it. You’d think that they would make sure that, technologically, they were ready for what they had to know was going to be a major influx of purchases.

On the plus side, the did extend the sale price to me through tomorrow, so I’ll be trying it again after the cyber-dust settles a bit.

I really do like their product. The books are beautiful, the cards were probably the best I’ve ever seen, birth-announcement-wise, and they have more layout choices for their products than anyone else on the market. Semi-buggy software and unprepared servers are a small price to pay for something as nice as what they offer.

But if they’re looking, I know an awesome internet company that could get them up and running in ways that they never would have imagined. ;)

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I’m working against a different deadline tonight, so it will be short here. I’m trying desperately to get the final draft of our scrapbook finished and posted at so that I can cash in on their buy-one-get-one-free sale that is running through midnight tomorrow. I’ve had about a month to get this done, but with school and kids, I’ve only had time to sit down to it in earnest in the past week. It’s coming together really nicely and when it gets done I think it’s going to be something about which I can be really proud.

On that note, I’m heading back to copy writing. Will tell more about the kids tomorrow—Laura is teething and Harrison’s got a loose tooth, so the cycle is always going—but for now I’m out.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

With Teeth (Almost)

Oh, but teething sucks.

I remember this stage with Harrison. He would be so sad and miserable and there was nothing I could do for him except hold him and love him. I half jokingly said at the time that I was going to get out an X-Acto knife and cut the skin open so the teeth could go ahead and come through. I never actually did it, but I was sorely tempted.

And so now we’re back in the same place with Laura. She’s fine about half the time, but once the pain starts spiking up in her little gums, she gets fussy, miserable and downright unpleasant. She doesn’t want food, she doesn’t want milk and she darn well doesn’t want you to put that nasty Orajel crap in her mouth. Of course, as soon as you do and it takes effect, she calms down and the world goes back to near-normal.

I’m clinging to the remembrance that once Harrison had about four or five teeth actually in, he stopped fussing so much. I don’t know if at that point it just started to not hurt anymore, or if he was just used to the pain and didn’t notice it anymore. Either way, I’m just ready for my little girl to not be in so much pain all the time. I want her happy smile to return because, really and truly, she is such a joyful baby to be around when her gums aren’t being pierced.

This, too, shall pass.

Some day, it will be that the braces are hurting her gums. But I’d rather not think of that, just yet.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Land With No Internet

My son and I were talking tonight about when I was a kid. He asked me about video games when I was a kid and so I told him about the Commodore Vic-20 that I had. Everyone else I knew had a Sega or an Atari, but my dad, a budding computer enthusiast, bought into William Shatner’s line of reasoning: “Why just buy a video game?” In retrospect, I’m pretty happy about what we had, but at the time I would have given anything to be able to play PacMan or Donkey Kong or even Burger Time. As it was, I had games like Raid on Fort Knox, Radar Rat Race and Dig Dug.

Harrison asked how many games I had and, while I couldn’t remember an exact number, I estimated that my brother Mike and I had probably had, at any given time, probably ten games. Harrison countered this by saying, “I have four video games. I have, I have, I have The Magic Tree House [ed. the website for the books], and I have Kido’z.” We had to explain to him that at this time, there really was no internet (at least, not that was available to John Q. Public, but why confuse the kid?), and that you had to load the games with a cartridge.

He tried to wrap his mind around this concept—a world without the internet. I could seem him trying, but I don’t think he really grasped it. I moved on, though, with my personal history lesson and next told him about my Commodore 64, a veritable beast of computing power. It, like the Vic-20, took cartridges, but we also had a tape deck for programs that were on cassette tapes (!!!), as well as a very early floppy disk drive (5-1/4 inch, y’all!).

When asked about my favorite games on this system, I told him about Space Taxi, a game I spent so much time on that I can, to this day, still hear the little guy screaming across the screen, “Hey! Taxi!”

I told him about how, in the game, your objective was to take customers from one little island to another, trying very hard not to crash into anything. You could accidentally crash by not having your landing gear out when you were approaching the pad, or you could just be going too fast. One of the things that I used to do, just because it made me laugh so hard, was to run over the little block customer. Fortunately, I’ve outgrown such sadism, but I see it in my son when he pushes the Lego R2-D2 off a cliff in Lego Star Wars, just to hear him scream. I assume he’ll outgrow it someday, too, but for now, I’m not terribly worried about it.

For me, the best part was that after hearing me describe how much fun it was to play the game, my son wanted to act out the picking up and dropping off of taxi customers from one of my hands to another. The kid had never seen it, had only seen me gesture with my hands in a general ‘You do this and then that’ kind of way, but he wanted to ‘play’ it with me.

He’s a good boy. Whatever else happens with him, behavior-wise—green light, yellow light, or even, God forbid, red light in the kindergarten room—the boy wanted to help me recreate my favorite video game.

I couldn’t be prouder of him.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Belly full, much like most everyone else I know right now. Thanksgiving is always such a mixed bag for me, holiday-wise. I enjoy the food, I enjoy the visiting, but really, about an hour in, I’m ready for people to leave and for my quite cocoon to come back. It seems that no one on either side of our families has any volume control and the only way to make yourself heard is to scream above all the din and, really, by the time folks leave, that’s pretty much what I’m grateful for.

But I really did enjoy everything tonight. The food, as always, was spectacular. I decided to forego the roasted turkey in favor of deep fried turkey, which was pretty awesome. We went to Sister Mary G’s for a deep frying party last night and so that was taken care of. All that remained (for which I was responsible) was to cook the ham, two pies, a pumpkin pie cake (mmmmmmmm), and deviled eggs. Between rolling, and filling and mushing and what-all else, we straightened the living room (I swear that debris breeds on my side tables!), cleaned the floors (best hubby ever who vacuums and mops!), cleaned the boy’s room (ish), and cleaned the guest bathroom (ish). In between all that, we got to watch the Macy’s parade (why do they even show that other one?) and, well, not much else. But the house is more or less clean now, excepting the dishes and some minor pickup business that will be taken care of in the morning. Harrison went to spend the night with my parents and they are going out to my grandmother’s house tomorrow to visit. After Robert gets off work, I think I’m going to see if he wants to drive out to Crazy Town (they do live in Rusk…fittingly…) and visit.

So now, the house is quiet. The husband is crashed in bed in a fit of tryptophans and beer. The girl is crashed in her crib, exhausted from cute overload for the family. I am working on a scrapbook of sorts from a trip we took last summer in the hopes of getting it done before the 30th of the month. With quiet like this, it just might happen.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Day Is Upon Us

Got the turkey done (thanks, Bob!). Near done getting the office cleaned and organized. Have pretty much neglected the rest of the house, but I figure I’ll hit it in the morning and it will be fine by the time folks get here for late lunch. (Lupper? Sunch?) We’ve been having Thanksgiving at our house for so many years, I just don’t bother worrying about it anymore.

Now to head to bed, get some rest and get charged up for the day-long marathon that is our holiday. Counting my blessings, including my wonderful husband who I love more each day, my beautiful children without whom I cannot imagine existence, and the health and wellbeing of my family, both immediate and extended. Wishing those further away could be with us, but glad that they are making their lives where and how they are. So grateful that we have enough to eat, a roof over our heads and jobs that keep us busy (and solvent!).

Wishing the happiest of Thanksgiving Days to everyone out there!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I’ve enjoyed spending the last two days with Harrison at home. He and I have hung out, watched a little TV, read and just lazed around the house. We finished the fourth Magic Tree House today (Pirates Before Noon, I think), and he got the stamp for his MTH Passport. Incidentally, if you don’t know about the MTH, do go check it out. I guess because I worked at bookstores for so many years, I just knew that they existed, but many of my friends with kids and grandkids don’t seem to know about them, so here’s your heads-up! Basically, it’s a series of stories in which a brother and sister go to this magical tree house in their local woods and transport themselves to different times and places to see things throughout history. So far, we’ve ‘traveled’ to the Pleistocene era to see dinosaurs, to the middle ages to see an English castle, to ancient Egypt to see a mummy and to the Caribbean to see pirates. Tomorrow, we’ll be visiting ancient Japan and some Ninjas, so that should be cool. At an average of 60-70 pages, they’re chapter books, but they’re quick reads so you don’t get so bogged down in story. The writing’s a little fragmented, but I overuse hyphens and parenthesis, so who am I to complain?

In other news, Harrison also got to read a few emails—and send a few!—with his new Kido'z browser. There are five or six queued up right now, waiting for him, so I know that will excite him in the morning. His only problem with the emailing (which I figured would happen, but hope we’ll find a way to circumnavigate) is that he is constantly trying to run and check his inbox. He only gets a limited amount of time each day, but if he sees me checking my mail and approving something from someone, he then wants to go, boot up and look at it. Definitely going to have to instill the ‘once a day’ rule with him, I think. Or maybe I should just check my email less throughout the day and set a better example….

Monday, November 23, 2009


I can’t thank Momma Snail over at The Snail’s Trail enough. She’s not aware that she has changed my life, but so she has.

She posted a few days ago about a web browser for kids. At the time, I glanced at it, thought, ‘Hmmm, cool.’ And that was pretty much it.

But I was home from school today with the boy and, after getting done entering my students’ grades, I decided to give it a whirl. Man, this thing is cool. After getting it installed on Harrison’s computer*, I looked through it to see what all it had going for it. Y’all, there is any and every sort of kid-friendly internet based thing automagically installed on this thing. Dozens of websites aimed at kids, and not toy websites, but stuff like! YouTube videos that have been vetted and found to be kid-friendly. Better yet, the videos come up in a format that the kids can’t get into, so they can’t go from, say, a School House Rocks video to someone farting ‘I’m Just a Bill.’ And the channels of videos—science, how-to, funny stuff, animals—are just really cool.

Best of all, as a parent, you can moderate what your child sees. If you decided that the vetted videos or websites or games or whatever are not appropriate for your child, you can easily block them through the parent portal. You can also add your own sites—I added and Harrison’s teacher’s class website, as well as our family’s photo site.

I’ve been avoiding the email thing with Harrison for a long time, too, because I just didn’t want the burden of all the crap that goes along with it. Through this browser, though, I was able to set up an account for him, tell from whom he may receive and to whom he may send email and I can actually read the emails he sends and receives. There will come a day when that’s a trust issue and I’m going to have to back up and give him room, but for right now, I think it’s just about perfect. The email itself can be actual text or a picture—it’s kind of like a Paint program.

The basic package is free, but I’m seriously considering the upgrade. It’s $50 a year, but for that, you get some avatar stuff (meh—who cares?), some more email options (more drawing tools, that sort of thing—whatever), but most importantly, you get a timer built in that tells your kid when your predetermined time limit is up as well as statistics you can parse to see if your little angel is spending too much time on the interweb.


*Yes, the boy has his own computer now. It’s kind of a Franken-computer, with parts accumulated from several different sources, but it’s got a newer version of Windows and runs at least as fast as my laptop. He’s allotted 30 minutes to an hour each day, depending on behavior and day of the week (weekend days get longer times than school days, ‘natch).

It’s 2009—what else were we going to do?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Watching The Patriot. I was just thinking to myself recently--mere days ago, maybe even yesterday--that I wanted to see it again. Powers of attraction at work. :)
At church this morning, we were having a Flower Communion in which we were all given some flowers that we would put into a communal vase and tell what we were thankful for. My son, while waiting for our turn, turned his flower stems on their sides and brandished them as a gun.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Tangled Web

So obsessed.

I’m fixated on this new thing I’ve found. I say ‘new,’ but it’s something I've been doing for years with no official name. They call it ‘Zentangling.’ I call it ‘Glorified Doodling.’

Which sounds like I don’t have any respect for it. I do, however, have great respect for it. It is simple, yet looks super complicated. It is amazing in its ability to relax your brain and allow you to ‘Zen out.’ It’s as portable as you want it to be—I’m working on a 12 x 15 inch piece of mat board, but the ZT folks sell 4 x 4 inch tiles. They also have examples of people doing it on all manner of things—shoes, walls, floors, whatever.

I’m so in love with this.

Harrison is digging it, too. He helped me on a few spots on my current piece and I can see setting him up with a piece of mat board and a marker and letting him go crazy pretty soon.

Yay for pattern! Yay for texture! Yay for doodling!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Feeling Lazy Tonight*

*Or, I already thought a lot and typed some stuff, so I’m just going to repost it here.

So my friend Sundie from junior high posted this list on Facebook today that made me kind of sit up and say, ‘Hey, that’s my list!’ (Yeah, I know I was boycotting Facebook, like, a week ago. Shut up.) In lieu of the awkward paraphrase, I’ll just post the actual comments.

Sundie: is wondering... What was your favorite song when you were 5, 10, 15, 20, 25? It's interesting to think about how my music tastes have changed over the years (or have they?) and how the music has changed, or come back around.

Sundie: Here are my answers:
5 (1981) I Love Rock & Roll , Joan Jett
10 (1986) Kiss, Prince
15 (1991) Groove Is in the Heart, Deee-Lite
20 (1996) Who Will Save Your Soul, Jewel
25 (2001) I Try, Macy Gray

[Ed. note: These songs rocked my world! However, in the interest of showing the diversity of those years (or near to those years), I purposely looked for other songs.]

Amy: Man, your list is remarkably close to what I would put. I'm going to have to think and see if I can come up with anything else, but that's dangerously close. :)

Sundie: I had the hardest time with 1986 and 1996. There were so many good artists and good songs those years, but the key for me was to go back in time and remember what I sang along with on the radio the most back then. You and I were always so much alike though. I'm anxious to see what you come up with.

Amy: Ok, here we go.

5 (1980) We Will Rock You (Queen) - we had the 45 record with this and We Are the Champions and because of this, I always still feel funny when I hear the two songs melded into one. In my mind, they're two separate songs that are rarely played together unless you take the time to flip the record. Also listened to a lot of Motown, via my mom.

10 (1985) Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper) and Jump (Van Halen) - tough choice on this one. I remember dancing to both of them tons and tons.

15 (1990) Ice Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice)/Girl You Know (Milli Vanilli) and pretty much anything by New Kids on the Block
1990 was kind of an embarrassing year. Sigh.

20 (1995) Anything by Alanis Morissette or Natalie Merchant - this was early in my angry young female singer phase - good stuff, but in retrospect, a lot of it's pretty whiny. Sigh.

25 (2000) Little Earthquakes (Tori Amos) - this was way past the time this album came out, but I was really obsessed with her for quite a few years there and this was my favorite for a long, long time. Also liked Bjork quite a bit.

30 (2005) Radiohead, Muse, Nine Inch Nails, etc.

Man, that's exhausting. Kind of weird, too, seeing my musical tastes move around so much. A lot of what I listened to over the years was influenced by who I was hanging out with. Now I'm around teenagers, but I refuse to listen to their music. Meh. :)

It’s funny looking at this list. A lot of this music really defined who I was and what was going on in my life at the time. I obviously don’t have everything in there. There was a U2 phase in high school between the 1990 Bad White Guy Rapping obsession and the 1995 Angry White Girl Screaming phase. There’s the very brief country phase I went through when I was very briefly dating a redneck in high school. There’s the Christian Heavy Metal phase I went through (Stryper, anyone?) when I thought I really was holier than, well, everyone else. But it’s interesting to see the strata that are exposed when I do a core test of the bedrock of my musical history.

As a fun side note, it’s always fun to make Robert cringe when I tell him I listened to heavy metal like he did when he was a kid. He’ll be rocking out to some Iron Maiden or something and I’ll say, “Hmm, that sounds kind of like Stryper does.” It’s fun to make his eye twitch. ;p

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Yellow Fever!

Yeah, yeah, we all know I’m tired. What else is new? I’m seriously beginning to wonder if I don’t have some sort of chemical imbalance. Might explain my mood swings, too. I think I’ve got a girl doctor visit coming up—I’m going to ask if it’s normal to always be this tired or if she thinks there’s something up with me. She’ll probably just say something like, “Well, duh, Amy—you’ve got two kids, one of whom is a baby. Suck it up!” But we don’t know until we try, do we?

On a more positive note, Harrison took his first belt test tonight and has advanced to yellow belt! I know it’s kind of a gimme—we pay them the $25 for the belt test, they advance him if he half does it right since it’s the very first test. Nonetheless, I’m very proud of him and very proud for him. He was very excited about it and whooped and hollered pretty much the rest of the night. At supper, he told me that his new favorite color is yellow, which is a pretty big change of heart for a little boy who has favored red the bulk of his very short life.

He’s in his bed now, dreaming of Ninja Camp (a real thing!) and fighting with nunchucks.

Harrison gets his yellow belt!

Ah, to be a kid again and be so excited about something.

Speaking of which, school’s out next week! Talk about getting me excited!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bunco Babe and the Feasty Boy

So the boy got to eat at his Thanksgiving Feast at school today. I totally worried that he wouldn’t get to since I didn’t send the money required for it until the day of the feast, regardless of the dozen or so flyers sent home during the weeks leading up to today. SuperMom—that’s me!

Went to BUNCO tonight at Mechael’s house. Didn’t win squat, but had a good time visiting with the girls. I don’t often get to see the Dub-Town folks anymore since I’m in Longview now, so I usually really look forward to my monthly gathering.

Heading to bed now since my contacts are so foggy I can’t see through them anymore. That’s usually my clue that I’m too danged tired to do much else for the night.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Most nights when I post from my phone I'm just too tired to do elsewise. Tonight, I just don't care. Im tired, yes, but mostly I'm cranky and apathetic and feel like a terrible parent. I've been on edge fir mosf of the night and were it not for this fool goal I've set for mysel I'd be asleep right now. Done now. Heading to bed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Yes, ‘Poo!

I found one of the boundaries of my crunchiness.

I’ve been trying the “No ‘Poo” hair cleaning regimen lately. Basically, instead of washing your hair with shampoo and following with conditioner, you use a baking soda and water mixture to wash your scalp and hair and an apple cider vinegar and water mix to condition. It seemed like it was perfect—the chemistry was sound, the price was right (the whole set up cost me less than $3) and it appealed to the side of me that always wants to try the Nouveau Hippy experiments.


I just never got to the point where I felt really comfortable with the results. The first wash and condition was not bad, but every wash thereafter felt like I was this sopping sponge of grease and oil and that I was never getting it quite clean enough. Add to that that I would feel alternately really dry and powdery from the baking soda in some areas and you can imagine the fun I was having.

I finally got fed up with it during conference when I was washing my hair one morning before heading out to a class. When I got done and out of the shower, I couldn’t comb through my hair, so back into the water my head went. Rinse, rinse, rinse. Sprinkle the cider, let it sit for a few seconds and rinse again. Feel for smoothness. None to be found. Rinse again. Cider again. Rinse yet again.

I finally got the comb through my hair, but by that time I was running late and didn’t have time to dry my hair (another big no-no, but whatever—I’m a busy lady and don’t have time to air dry my hair in the morning; so sue me). I instead pulled it all up in a bun and ran out the door, all the while swearing that this crap was OVER WITH.

And so it was. I washed my hair with the hotel shampoo and conditioner the next day and my hair was soft and smooth and CLEAN. I gave the experiment almost three weeks. I’m sure it was probably part of the ‘getting adjusted’ period that all the blogs talk about. I’m sure if I had stuck it out, it would all be perfect by now and I’d be part of the Super Crunchy Hippy Dippy Society.

Or it would feel even worse and I’d be depressed because I thought my hair looked bad and smelled worse.

Thing is, this kind of thing is always sold on the premise that ‘our ancestors didn’t use these new fangled [thing they’re railing against]. They would never dream of washing their hair with shampoo and finishing it off with conditioner! They did it the old fashioned way, the God-planned way, and they liked it!

Our ancestors also put lead in their face makeup, belladonna drops in their eyes and died of typhoid and botulism.

Maybe modern conveniences aren’t so bad.

[Incidentally, for those of you with the patience and ability to make this thing work, all the best to you—I’m not saying it can’t work. I’m saying that I gave it the honest effort that I intended and it didn’t  work for me. If your Twinkie is creamed with this stuff, by all means, don’t let me stop you. I’ve got a Head and Shoulders bottle calling my name, though.]

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What Happens at TAEA Convention…

Oh, so in need of a break from my break from work. :)

I went to Dallas for my annual TAEA conference this past weekend, wherein art teachers from across the state of Texas descended on the city like a plague of locusts. (Harsh? Maybe. I’ve seen these folks in the vendors’ hall, though. Harsh, but pretty accurate.)

I’ve already griped about how small the classes were (and thusly, how difficult it was to get into and how you had to be kind of rude and elbow your way into them), so I won’t flog that dead horse. Nor will I flog the one about how we got sidetracked (read: we missed our exit and the people following us went an exit too early) on our original arrival to the hotel and the ensuing hurt feelings and cattiness that evolved. Suffice it to say that the first night was kind of rough. The first morning was kind of rough. Somehow, though, by lunch time on the first day, it all evened out for better or worse and the rest of the weekend was marvelous.

I really love Dallas. Robert and I went there for our honeymoon many moons ago and so it’s always been kind of special to me. As it turns out, the same bar we went to on our honeymoon is still there, albeit now serving as a sports bar. The girls and I camped out on the patio for a good portion of the night and had a few rounds of some local brews (Landshark!), enjoying the company and revelry.

The next few days are a blur of awesome workshops, killer sushi (Sushi World is worth the drive, in and of itself!) and more beer. We saw the Dallas Museum of Art (free—thanks TAEA!), went up in Reunion Tower (where I had to get territorial over a seat at the bar) and rode the DART back and forth more times than I care to count.

All told, it was a great weekend. I missed my family, but it was nice to connect with my “art family” and remember that I am other than “Mom” and “Wife,” even if only for a few days.

Best of all, upon returning home, everyone seemed genuinely glad to see me. It’s nice to feel appreciated, even if it’s just for something as simple as walking through the door.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ok, keeping this short since my posts have a tendency to get chopped up into pieces when I send them from the phone. Whatever.
Conference was pretty awesome this year once I started actually getting into classes. I still say the organizers did a pretty terrible job when choosing the venue, but we made it work. Also making it work was the killer sushi bar a DART ride away and lots of beer (Landshark!). Missing my hubby and kids pretty much sucked, but they would have been bored most of the time anyway. Next year's conference is in Austin, so that should be fun.
Heading to bed now so I can get up and go home to my family in the morning.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Conference is going pretty good. The classes I've been able to get into have been really interesting, but getting into them has been a challenge. The TAEA folks didn't check on room capacities when they booked this place, so only 30 or 40 people have been able to get into each workshop at a time. Compound that with a huge number of attendees divided by maybe ten offerings per hour and you end up with a large luxury hotel full of angry art teachers.
That aside, when you finally DO get into a class (and I finally elbowed my way into three), they are really interesting and useful. I'm heading off to bed now to get rested up for the fights tomorrow.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

First night of art teacher conference. Had a really good time hanging out with the Sisters Mary G and S, as well as seeing Joanna and her new friend. Looking forward to really interesting looking workshops tomorrow, as well as noshing on some sushi for lunch. Hitting the hay now so I'll be bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning. Miss my honey and my babies!
Good night, all!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It was going to be so cool…!

My beyond-adorable son and his Veteran’s Day message for his Uncle Mikey. I know it’s sappy and knee-jerk patriotism to get a five-year-old to say the Pledge of Allegiance, but I couldn’t resist. And besides, he was so proud to have done it.
I’m very proud of my big brother who has served in the Air Force for almost 20 years and of my little patriot.
Happy Veteran’s Day everyone!

Ok, if you can’t tell, I got my son to say the Pledge of Allegiance and sing a cute flag song into my phone and was going to be all techy and get it posted on my blog tonight, thus making my posting life quick and easy and something that people would oooh and aaaah over, genuflecting to the overall cuteness of my progeny.

Yeah, technology and I aren’t BFFs any more.

Dang iPhone.

If I ever figure it out, I’ll get it posted on here since it really is cute as the dickens, but it won’t be happening tonight. I’m spending the night getting ready to leave out for my art teacher conference in the morning. I’m going to go eat lunch with the boy and then head off to the Big D for some cool workshops, some gabfests with other over-worked and under-appreciated art teachers and some serious mooching off the vendors. I’ll miss the husband and the kids, but I won’t miss the cafeteria duty I’m very sadly not going to be able to complete. I’ll post pictures and updates as the mood (and chances) strike me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

About Face!

So, thinking of going No Facebook. It sounds pissy, but I often feel like I’m speaking to an empty room when I share stuff on there. I think it’s because of the new format where, to see posted links to videos/websites/whatever, you have to be receiving the much-hated, newer “News” feed (that most people have turned off in favor of the “Status” feed). In turn, when I post links to videos/websites/whatever, I never hear back from anyone about their opinions regarding them. Perhaps people just don’t care about the videos. But I would think that with 100+ “friends,” (and I use the quotations because I’ve got people on there who I have not spoken with in a long time who, quite frankly, should be ‘unfriended,’ but I just hate the idea that that can of worms being opened up so I avoid it), I would think that someone would have something to say. So I’m guessing most people don’t see it.

In re-reading this, I realize how whiny this all sounds. My digital friends don’t want to play with me, boo hoo hoo. Whatever.

The fact is, though, that the whole point of a virtual social network is to exchange ideas and thoughts. When someone shares an opinion on their blog and it is greeted with the chirping of crickets, there’s not really anything to do about it. I mean, I guess you can go be like all the Mommy Bloggers who have the raffles for things and say things like, “Leave comments for me and I’ll pick one of you to get this free thing I’m offering!” But to expect that someone is going to comment on something just because you wrote it on your own dime-a-dozen freely published forum is silly.

On a social network, though, the whole concept is predicated on the idea that Person A says how much they are looking forward to Movie X and Person B says that Movie X is going to suck because there is no way that it can be as good as the cartoon was when they were a kid and Persons C, D and E all give it a ‘thumbs up’ because they’re just as excited about it. Rinse, lather, repeat.

It’s been a wonderful tool to get in touch with people whom I haven’t seen in years. Without it, I wouldn’t have gone to my fake high school reunion this summer (since I had moved away from the school I should have graduated from and hadn’t seen those guys in almost 20 years). I also keep up with former co-workers and former students through it, which is pretty cool for the most part.

But I just wonder if I really need the incessant patter of who’s watching the football game, who’s pissed off because the government is screwing us yet again (danged Liberals, taking over everything!), and who spent the weekend getting wasted.

I think 

Honestly, I don’t know what I think about the whole thing. Do I just have a case of sour grapes because people just don’t seem to want to play with me? Probably. But the fact is, I think there are better ways I could be employing my time lately, anyway. I think I’m going to experiment and see how I do without a few days “in network.” 

We’ll see how long I last.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Out For the Night

Kids are in bed. Grades are in the computer (inasmuch as the kids have turned in what they have—there are always more grades to be entered, it seems). We’re taking this chance to forego the prospect of a few hours TV for the much sexier prospect of getting four hours of sleep before Laura wakes up at 2 am with hurting gums.

Parenting ain’t for wimps.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Taking a [very short] break from grading papers to post for the night.

Good grief, I hate grading papers. I really enjoy teaching. I even enjoy the teenagers. (It would take a whole heck of a lot more money than what they pay if I didn’t like the kids, that’s for sure!) But I detest the paperwork part of teaching. Always have. Fortunately, now that I teach Art instead of English, my lack of getting stuff graded until the very last second isn’t as big a deal.

I should have been grading all day today, but instead, I got caught up on some rest after a particularly carby evening (wedding food—don’t ask) and spent some much needed play time with my family. Harrison and I read together, Laura chased me from room to room like the little baby commando crawler she has become and Robert and I were finally able to sit and talk for a few minutes uninterrupted. It was nice.

It’s almost definitely worth staying up late to get this stuff done just so that my son, at blessing stone time during dinner, could say, “I’m grateful because Mommy played with me today.”

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Congrats Amy and Cody!!!

So the wedding was beautiful, as I knew it would be. My men looked very handsome and Harrison recovered very quickly from his stumble while walking down the aisle. The couple in front of me and Laura in the audience thought it was pretty funny when Robert told Harrison to get up and walk it off. Most importantly, I was very pleased that my child decided for once in his life to stand still and do what he was supposed to do instead of breaking into a goofy dance that he knew would make everyone laugh. So good wedding, all around.

In honor of the nuptials, a sprinkling of good ol’ fashioned Muppets and some weddingy goodness:


Friday, November 6, 2009

Stink Weed

We went to the wedding rehearsal tonight. Robert, in his third trip down the aisle as a Best Man, seems unflappable. Harrison, poised to be the “Ring Barrier,” is pure excitement. Looks to be a good show tomorrow. :)

The girl is getting huge. Here she is in her ‘coming home from the hospital outfit.’ She is, I believe, three days old. I’ve slept since then (not a lot, but still…), so I’m not entirely sure.  I made this wrap-back dress with the intention of her being able to wear it beyond her first month or so, which most newborn clothing doesn’t get to do. She was swamped in it, but beautiful, nonetheless.

Three Day Old Laura

Here she is today, two hundred forty-nine days old (or eight months—whatever), in the same dress, which is now being worn as a tunic with brown leggings and the Mary Jane socks she also wore home from the hospital. The socks were huge on her then. They do not so much fit now, but I still shove them down on her feet because 1) they fit better than the infant socks she has completely outgrown and 2) I’m harboring the dream that she’ll be able to wear them forever since they are so stinkin’ cute!

Two Hundred Forty-Nine Day Old Laura

And the gratuitious ‘Mommy ‘n’ Me’ shot at the wedding rehearsal.

Mommy and Laura

Dang, it’s tough having such cute kids.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Much as I hated hearing teenagers say how random something was two years ago (thank God that verbal tic has passed!), I figured a random gathering of my thoughts would be better than me spending a lot of time fleshing out one idea.

What? I’m lazy.


I wonder if the actors on Heroes (from which I am taking a very short break to meet my self-imposed deadline of midnight for posting) feel silly when they’re filming a scene where they have to use their power and they have to make ‘the face’ (Hiro’s poo grunt, Matt’s crazy eye stare, etc) without the help of the ‘mood’ music that accompanies the shot in the final version. I would totally feel like a doof if I had to do that. Guess it’s good then that I’m an art teacher and not an actor.


My favorite students are often my special ed students. They are, hands down, the most enthusiastic people in the school. What they lack in skill, they are overloaded in gumption and just-plain-HAPPY! The best part is that actually want to be there, as opposed to the ‘regular’ kids who feel duty-bound to tell you on a regular basis, “I’m only here for the credit, miss. I hate art.”


The boy had to do extra pushups and sit-ups at karate tonight. I didn’t feel a bit of sympathy—in fact, when he told his teacher that he had been bad at school today and she suggested the pushups, I’m the one who suggested she tack on the sit-ups as well. Evil mom, maybe. He knows, though, that aside from his classroom teacher and Mommy and Daddy keeping an eye on him and his behavior, his karate teacher is doing the same. It really does take a village to raise a child and I’m making use of every resource I’ve got.


Tomorrow’s Friday. At the risk of sounding like every other yahoo out there who TGIFs their way through life, I’m really glad. It’s going to be a busy weekend—we’ve got a wedding Saturday, so we’ve got rehearsal dinner tomorrow night—but I’m just ready for the break. More importantly, I’m ready for the Thanksgiving break in a few weeks.

All in good time….



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Miracle Oil

I’m not terribly crunchy, by nature. I mean, sure I recycle and try to conserve as much paper/water/whatever as the next person, but I don’t go out of my way to be ‘green.’ My kid wears disposable diapers—both of them did, in fact—and they were both formula fed. (That’s a whole other ball of wax there—time-wise, the breastfeeding thing just didn’t happen before I was set to go back to work and so I figured any food in my babies’ tummies was better than no food. I was not—and am not—going to kick myself over one comparatively insignificant aspect of my parenting. Besides which, my almost exclusively formula fed boy is a phenomenal reader at the age of five and he’s got no health issues. I don’t think that the breast milk would have made him any better than he is right now.)

Anyhoo, the long and short of it is that I went through my ‘let’s recycle all the cans and send the resulting money to Greenpeace’ phase when I was thirteen. Back when I harbored dreams of having a pony and marrying the New Kids on the Block. (Yes, all of them. Shut up.)

The point of this is that I recycle and try to be responsible about what I use, but I don’t go out of my way to do things that are ‘better for me.’ I don’t worry about the chemicals in my shampoo and laundry detergent. I don’t get myself into a huff over using the dryer to dry my clothes. I’m probably just still asleep in the Matrix, but I can live with that.

What I do get excited about, however, is stuff that works and makes me feel good. One of those things is washing my face with oil. It seems crazy and like it shouldn’t work. I’ve only been doing this for a few days, but my skin is soft and seems….I don’t know….better. I don’t have quantitative data on this. I didn’t do extensive scientific research, but it just feels good. For the first time in I don’t know how long, I don’t have to use moisturizer after I’m done washing my face, which is something of a minor miracle, especially if you consider how lazy I am.

I won’t go into a lot of detail at how it works—Simple Mom has done that quite extensively and much more convincingly than I have. I will say that I expected to be pretty greasy when I got done, but by and large, the vast majority of the oil is absorbed by the time my wet rag gets cold and I start to wipe up. I’m using a one to three ratio of castor oil to olive oil, but I suggest playing around and finding your mix. If you’ve been thinking of giving this a try, I totally recommend it. The ingredients are cheap, the mix is easy and if you don’t like it you can always go back to your old chemical ways. I think I’m going to stick with it, myself.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Laura is in the middle of a screaming wall-eyed fit. I know how she feels.

Some nights, it’s kind of hard to come up with something for the blessing jar. I mean, it’s not that I’ve had a bad day, specifically. I wouldn’t even say the tenor of the day has been bad. I’m just weary. I’m tired at work, ready for a break. I’m tired at home, ready for my desk to be returned to it’s regular state of disarray. I’m tired of seeing the piles of laundry that I know I should be disseminating to their respective homes, all the while searching every morning for clean underwear in the bottom of baskets.  I’m tired of hearing Harrison chatter non-stop, even as I know that in ten years he’ll barely speak to me and I’ll be wishing for the days when he talked nonstop.

I’m just tired.

I feel terrible whining about this, because I know there are people who have legitimate problems. They’re not just hung over from Daylight Savings Time. They have actual problems.

I just want to be able to throw the same kind of fit that Laura is throwing intermittently, through the filter of her nightly bottle. I don’t think she’s teething, I don’t think she’s sick. I think she’s just tired, just as I am tired, just as Robert as tired, just as we all are tired.

It sometimes seems unfair that the youngest among us are the only ones allowed to fully express their frustrations with the world.

I wonder if, after a real screamer like she’s been having tonight, I’d feel any better. I bet it’s pretty cathartic.

Wish I knew the neighbors wouldn’t call the cops if I let loose.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Office is in shambles. Robert's desk finally came in--he ordered it at least a month ago and after being in backorder purgatory for what seems like forever, we're FINALLY able to get the room swapped around. I got the bigger rolltop back (yay!) and Harrison got the smaller rolltop. We're planning to set him a (very basic) computer up in the living room so he can play his in peace. Also, my sewing area is getting more streamlined and will be more functional.
Good stuff, all around.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Karate Kid

Harrison won at his Karate tournament today! I mean, it was a white belt match, and, grand scheme of things, he would have come home with a trophy even if he didn’t win, but regardless, I was still really proud of him. He has his trophy on his dresser right now, under threat of me taking it away if he tries to sleep with it, so I expect there will be lots of getting up to look at it (but not take it to bed with him—I hope) episodes tonight.

There was going to be a Youtube link here, but Windows Live Writer/Blogger are being doody heads, so I’m just posting a hyperlink to the video instead. Sorry.

Wonder Baby

Posted on Wanna Share a Needle?