My View

2016-02-05 09.19.05

That’s a lot of powdered sugar

This is my perfect kind of morning.  Everybody else in the house has left for work, and I get to look at this beautiful view while I sip my tea at my desk.  I have tons of knitting, tons of tea, and streaming Netflix.  It is a perfectly satisfying way to spend my Friday.

 

I do remember, however, when I was in my early twenties and living in upstate New York.  It snows there.  A lot.  Like, several times a day.  And there are lots of hills there, too.  So it wasn’t as charming as this little scene outside my window, although I really did love snow.  But when you clean it off your car to drive to school, then clean it off again to drive to your part-time job, then clean it off again to drive to your OTHER part-time job, then clean it off again to go home and realize you get to do it all again tomorrow, then it gets a little less charming.  It was beautiful, however, and except for the time that my engine froze and I couldn’t get to work (and got yelled at for it, because apparently I should have walked seven miles in windy, 12-below weather) and I hadn’t laid in the requisite bread and milk (that was a scary time) I really didn’t mind it all that much.  Of course, that was before my knees betrayed me and decided to only work part-time now.

 

But now I’m in a different phase of my life.  So I get to look at this gentle view, sip my tea, and remember just how lucky I am.  Hopefully I’ll have the good sense to re-read this post when I inevitably get into one of my crabby moods and fantasize about running away for a while.  Hmmm…….

good day otter

That otter has sass.

 

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Space Invaders

The other day, as part of my new outlook on life which I refuse to call New Year’s resolutions because that’s got a stigma attached to it, I went to the Dollar Store.  No, that’s not the part that’s the new outlook.  The part that’s the new outlook is to make sure I leave the house every day that it’s not raining.  I had been on Pinterest and saw some cool stuff about organizing with the things you can find at your local dollar store and I was seized with inspiration.

 

Off I went, battling the 13 degrees (F) temperature and the frosted-over windshield and the air so sharp you can feel your cheeks being sliced open all to “get some fresh air.”  The shopping center is on the side of a hilly range that are affectionately known around here as “mountains” but are nowhere near the size of even a baby mountain.  But it’s up, and it’s cold, and when I opened the car door I felt the Winter Thief snatch the air right out of my lungs.  I briefly questioned my own sanity but I still had Pinterest images dancing in my head so off I went, gulping frozen air.

 

I must have picked the worst possible day to go, or else everybody else was looking at Pinterest and wanted to get all the cool stuff.  There were roughly 25 people in this tiny store and while it didn’t seem too crowded it certainly felt like I wasn’t in for a relaxing time.  So in addition to stalking the aisles, I did some people watching:

Shopping Patron #1: I named her Gigi GlamourPuss.  Dyed orange hair carefully teased up and out which looked like it had triumphed over the winter wind, black leggings, leopard boots with stiletto heels, big black false eyelashes, orange lipstick, four thousand bangle bracelets, and a Michael Kors bag in the shopping cart.  She tsked and tsked as she pushed her cart everywhere, which I think was her way of saying “Excuse me” because I kept hearing the tsk whenever she was next to me.  Which was often.  If I was looking at the office supplies carefully packaged to look like the same products you buy in Staples, she suddenly found a fascination with bubble envelopes and tsked as she reached out a manicured claw to touch them.  I don’t know what perfume she was wearing, but it made me wish I was back outside in the icy air.

 

Shopping Patron #2: Mommy Wondergal.  Super thin, very tall, just came from her workout or hot yoga or something equally as body-conscious with her expensive workout clothes, hi-tech footgear, hair tumbled up in a careless “I-don’t-care-how-I-look-but-I-know-I-look-cute” bun, the glow of good health and great energy vibrating off her in waves, and a somewhat impatient look as she wants to sift through ALL the plastic baskets in various shapes.  Unfortunately, there are Other People who want them, too, and she is unhappy that they are not moving as quickly or efficiently as she is through the stack.  She looks at her fitbit and starts shifting from foot to foot and arching her back as if to get in another workout while she has to wait 90 seconds for enough space to find just the right storage containers for the lego sets her children are determined to bring into the House Beautiful family room she designed.

 

Shopping Patron #3: Mrs. MeMe.  Dyed black hair, sensible grey wool coat, pleasant face that you’ve probably seen at every PTA meeting, church service, supermarket line, and Veteran’s Day Parade.  Nice enough, but apparently everybody else in the world is the audience in her personal sitcom and we are merely there at the store to be of service to her.  There you are, minding your own business, marveling at all the aluminum foil pan options at the Dollar Store and then wondering why you’ve been paying $2.79 at the supermarket when they’re just a dollar here and why can you never remember to come here first?  And then you realize that steady noise you heard which you thought was one of the floor stockers talking to his manager is actually Mrs. MeMe and she’s been asking you a question.  “Do you think this package of Hamburger Helper is really good?  How good can it be if it only costs a dollar?  Maybe this is a knock-off kind and that’s why it’s so cheap.  Do you think Betty Crocker knows about this?  I mean, how else do they make their money?  But a dollar is a really good price, don’t you think?”  And before you can swallow and say “I’m sorry, are you talking to me?” she’s onto another product, holding up a can of soup and squinting at the ingredients but she’s not talking to you anymore because Mommy Wondergal is bearing down on her and she’s holding the can in front of her asking if it looks “authentic.”

 

Shopping Patron #4: Ms. IAin’tGotTimeForThis.  She is a woman who is as urban and trendy as possible as she talks to somebody on the line trailing out of her ear.  At least I think there’s somebody on the line, but they must only be listening because Ms. IAGTFT has not stopped for one little minute.  No, not even to breathe.  She is cruising the aisles discussing someplace she has to be on the fourteenth and she doesn’t even want to be there because she isn’t even sure she likes these people and why did they make it on the fourteenth and she guesses she better check her book because it sounds familiar but then she’s not even sure if it’s this month or next month but that’s okay because when she gets home after she hits the other store that might have what she’s looking for because she’s certainly not finding it here she’s going to check with those two other people who said they might not go either and then they might all go up and see Aunt Rho.  I’ve read Shakespeare that’s less confusing than this.

 

Shopping Patron #5: OuttaMyWay Tess.  Down vest, hiking boots, navy blue scarf, white turtleneck, steel-grey hair cropped close, no makeup (I mean, like ever: this skin looks like a baby’s bottom) and no time for nonsense.  Marches right in, no meandering, picks up three boxes of garbage bags, strides purposefully back to the register, and seems momentarily taken aback when there’s an elderly couple ahead of her on line who are chatting pleasantly with the cashier.  Chatting?  This is a store, business transactions take place here, there’s no time for pleasantries!  There’s things to do!  I have to hike a mountain!  And not these little hills that people persist in calling mountains, real ones like Mt. Hood which if you don’t stop chatting and get moving I’m going to miss my plane.  So what if it’s tomorrow.  Move, people, move!!!

 

Then there was me.  I paid for my $1 wastepaper basket and went home to unpin all those great ideas.  My dollar store must not be as good as the rest of the world’s dollar stores unless we just specialize in aluminum foil pans.

 

twilight-zone-movie

Same number of syllables as The Dollar Store.  Not a coincidence, I’m sure.

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Merry Ho Ho and Peace

It’s that time again, and as usual I don’t know how to time things out.  I’m just going to put a lot of pictures here and wish you all the happiness of the season.  And lest you think by these pictures that I’ve got it all together, just keep in the back of your mind that I’ve got a bag of oranges on the rocking chair in the family room.  Yep.  That is prime organization right there, I oughta start me a blog.

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Defining Moments

terrorism [ter-uh-riz-uh m]

~noun

1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

(Talking heads on the news keep saying they’re not yet calling this an act of terrorism.  Stop trying to decide what the definition is to suit your particular agenda, please.)

 

diverse [dih-vurs, dahy-, dahy-vurs]

~adjective

  1. of a different kind, form, character, etc.; unlike.

(Which pretty much describes all humans on this planet we share.  Remember, you’re unique just like everyone else!)

 

empathy [em-puh-thee]

~noun

1.  the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

(And going back to that whole human thing, we all have the capacity to feel empathy.  Whether we choose to show it or stifle it depends on your wheelhouse.)

 

political agenda 

~noun

1.  a set of policies or issues to be addressed or pursued by an individual or group; also, a set of underlying motives of political policy.

(The underlying motives of certain members of Congress and/or the National Rifle Association have been made crystal clear so many times; yet we don’t have a system of stopping this exchange of money for favors.  Remember indulgences?  I believe they were really Fast Passes to Hell.)

 

humanity [hyoo-man-i-tee or, often, yoo-]

~noun

  1.  all human beings collectively; the human race; humankind.

(We’re all we’ve got.  Can we stop the killing?)

 

tragedy [traj-i-dee]

~noun

1.  a lamentable, dreadful, or fatal event or affair; calamity; disaster.

(This is not a normal state of being, but it’s becoming more frequent as if it were inevitable.  It’s not.  And it shouldn’t become an overused word.)

 

radical [rad-i-kuh l]

~adjective

1.  of or going to the root or origin; fundamental; a radical difference.

2.  thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms.

(It is a very short leap from a fundamental religious person picketing a Planned Parenthood to a fundamental religious radical eradicating what they perceive as an affront to the “one true” way.)

 

peace [pees]

~noun

1. the normal, non-warring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world.

(Can we please embrace this normal?)

 

candle-02

 

 

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Thinking….

Been doing a lot of stuff lately.  Mostly this:

trees2trees1trees4trees3

(All taken with my iPhone.  No filters, no color correction or enhancements.  I know, right?)

 

And I made this for you:

thanks

(Again, with my iPhone, but this is terrible.  Maybe I should have taken this outside and flung it in the air to get a good shot.)

 

I’m outside every day with Nellie and it’s giving me plenty of time to reflect, and considering the escalation of terrible events lately, I want to appreciate simple beauty right in my back yard.  I am so thankful I have what I have, and I’m grateful for opportunities to give, and I wish my American readers a Thanksgiving of simplicity and contentment.

 

Back soon, and maybe there’ll be some sarcasm.

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Oh, For the Love Of……. and tags

First, I’m taking a moment of silence for my beloved Mets who didn’t bring quite as much to the table as the hungry Royals did.  But there were class acts on both sides and no hating, so #LGM2016!

Now, you know I’ve been out of teaching for a few years, so I don’t have a horse in this race any longer.  But for crying out Pete’s sake, would all those of you who haven’t the slightest idea how classroom management or impressionable children work please take a large step backwards off that cliff and shut up about educational reform?  Could you please find a different cause to hang your flag from, especially during the presidential “debates” (and how I wish I could do ultra sarcastic air quotes to really impress upon you how ridiculous I find these televised arguments) that show your true ignorance?

Unless you have a degree in education AND have taught in a public school, you cannot profess yourself to be any kind of an expert on what will make our schools run better.  You are blabbering out of the wrong side of your mouth and your ideas aren’t just bad, they’re potentially dangerous.  How about you look back on WHY we have public schools under local control instead of federal government-run schools?  There is a huge difference between the life of a student in Appalachia and Chicago and Wisconsin and Florida and Oregon, and your attempts to put forth a nationwide test that measures every answer the same way not only won’t prove anything substantial but will end up hurting the systems that already work.  You can’t ask a child to define the word “soda” when he’s spent his whole life hearing it referred to as “pop.”  You can’t mark a New Jersey child wrong when defining “parkway” as synonymous with “turnpike” because the test creators in Oregon define it as a strip of grass between a street and a house.  You also cannot argue that those changes to a national standard of definitions or formulas or meanings is for anyone’s betterment except those who sell the curriculum and design the test.

Why does someone like Mike Huckabee or Bill Gates or David Koch think they know best about how a child in a classroom in Rhode Island should be educated?  How do they know what works and what doesn’t, and what “should be” the accepted norm?  They don’t.  But they can’t sell anything if they don’t create a need, whether it’s themselves as a political leader or industrial leader or technology leader, or the companies they buy and sell to reflect their standards of the world.  Do you know why there’s such an emphasis on testing?  Because there is no creativity with a test, no resonance, no empathy, no relation.  It is simply finding which answer on the pre-printed form is likely the one that somebody else thinks is correct.  And when all those tests are scored and tallied and put into pie charts and graphs, what then?  It certainly isn’t benefitting the student or giving them a clearer understanding of how things work.  The test only shows them how to fill out a test.  And in their dim future (if those titans of reform get their way) they will become compliant workers in somebody’s business, not questioning or reasoning or doubting or exploring or creating.  Just doing what the boss dictates, because the boss thinks and creates for everyone.  It’s not your job to think, we pay you to perform.  And if you are at all different from the pre-set standards we’ve determined, then there is no place for you.

A public school is a locally-run entity that reflects the values of the society that supports it.  Where ever you live, you are supporting your public school with some sort of tax dollar, thus ensuring that every child in your community has the opportunity of a free and thorough education.  Not education for only the elite or the well-connected or the privileged, but for anyone who is willing to learn and do more.  If you prefer a private school, by all means pay for it to receive the specific kind of schooling you desire for your child; or don’t, and homeschool your child.  This does not excuse you from the responsibility to support your local school, just as not driving a car doesn’t excuse you from paying taxes to support infrastructure.  In return, you have a voice in that system: you can serve as a member of the board of education or attend their public meetings and address your concerns.  You are a responsible member of that community that supports that school and, in turn, every child in the community who deserves the free and fair education.

For the people who currently feel that “ed reform” is the new Temperance Movement, I say this: when you have put in the time and training and effort and LOVE it takes to be an effective teacher, then we can have a dialogue.  Until then, back off.  Find that cliff and back off.

*****

Today is tag Tuesday.  Even though I sound pretty pissed off up there, I am always happy about certain things, and today it is family.  Remember, all tags are available in my etsy shop (link on the side over there).  You can also mix and match any style you’d like, up to four different designs in each dozen.

IMG_8763 IMG_8762

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Just Putting It Out There

Preach.

Preach.

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Argh and Tags

Did you ever have an Argh Day?  That’s a day when you wake up as normal, go about your normal routines, and then just a little niggle sets in.  Like today, I lift the dryer to start taming the head of snakes that is my hair, and the dryer does not work.  (Yes, I checked the switch.  Yes, I checked the reset on the outlet.  Yes, I checked the reset on the dryer.  Yes, I unplugged it and plugged it back in again after 30 seconds.  Yes, my hair looks gross.)  

Women, has anyone NOT had an unpleasant experience having a mammogram or a follow-up or an ultrasound?  Can there be no technology developed that doesn’t include smashing your tissue flat between two hard sheets of acrylic set at just the right level of height for you to be slightly on your tiptoes while you keep your shoulder down and your chin pointing up and remembering to “relax”?

When I learned to drive, I couldn’t pass my road test or my written test if I didn’t know what a STOP sign was.  Have they changed the test?  Sure seems that way to me.  Do the new tests now require drivers to wave flippantly at the driver they’re cutting off as they run the stop sign as if to say “oh just hold on a minute you can wait for me don’t be so impatient.”  Do I need to retake the road test?  Because I’m very good at flippant signs.

Do all supermarkets have a sign I haven’t found yet that says “This supermarket proudly supports the movement to abandon carts in the middle of aisles and wander off somewhere else thereby ensuring no smooth flow of shopping traffic”?  With the corollary of “Go ahead and leave your cart on line and shop some more!  Your fellow shoppers will be glad to hold your place in line for you as they have nowhere special to be anytime soon!”

********

Aaaaaannnnnnd, breathe.

*******

Here’s today’s Tuesday Tag:

IMG_8767

Get ’em while they’re….. well….. they’re not really going anywhere, so mosey on over and grab a dozen.

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Scenes from an Autumn Home

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Wee flowers in a jar, sad because they didn’t make it into the big arrangement. We love you anyway, blossoms!

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This is about as scary as we get around here. We are not a family for gore and horror.

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Small boxes on a windowsill. I think they used to hold candy or something. The boxes were the good part.

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I don’t know why, but I love this floppy-footed guy.

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This blurry guy is sitting on our mantle. Note: It is TOTALLY the pumpkin that is blurry. It is not a reflection on my camera skills or lack thereof.

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And this little guy hangs on the other end. Note: HE knows how to do his job right and not be blurry.

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That rusty little watering can speaks much about my gardening talents.

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A friend made this for me. It’s so tiny! So cute! So squee!

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Another view.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love autumn?  Probably not.  I’m really restrained about things like that.

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Ten on Friday

  1.  The Mets are going to the World Series.  It is very strange to type that sentence even though it fills me with absolute joy.  I don’t think I remember how to be a baseball fan in October.
  2. My knitting seems to be all garter, all the time.  I have a huge garter blanket going right now for a gift, as well as a garter Baby Surprise Jacket for a December baby, and I’m thinking of another garter blanket when this one is done.  I wonder if that’s a secret signal that my knitting brain is fried.
  3. It is October 23 and it’s still not warm enough to think about baked apples, butternut squash soup (yes, Younger Daughter, I think you jumped the gun), and pot roast.  I think November is going to be a flurry of fitting all these things in before turkey and cranberry season.
  4. I am purging things in my house like mad.  I used to be a collector of stuff, certain I was saving the earth from needless garbage while I thought about how each item would be carefully recycled into something beautiful or useful.  Now I’m all get-that-crap-outta-my-house.  And I’m not doing the “tidying up magic” that’s all the rage now because I seriously cannot hold wallpaper scraps in my hands and divine whether or not they bring me joy and thank them for their usefulness.  I just want all-that-crap-outta-my-house.
  5. If I hear “where’s my hoverboard” one more time I may have to punch somebody.  It’s a movie.
  6. There are a bazillion ideas floating in my brain for landscaping our huge backyard, and I think back to the days when I was moving rocks and digging whole gardens.  Today I couldn’t get up from a kneeling position.  Time, you are a schizophrenic friend.
  7. Of all the things I miss about working, having the funds to hire somebody to clean my house tops the list.  It’s not that I don’t clean my house, it’s that I really suck at it.  I don’t notice stuff until it’s in full horror-movie mode and then I’m frantically trying to fix it before somebody notices.  Or worse, I think to myself “huh, I’ll have to take care of that” and then poof! it’s gone from my thought process and I’m playing another game on the iPad.  (I love my iPad.  It’s so bad for me.)
  8. This year I’m not buying any candy for Halloween.  (Gasp.)  I am getting a pumpkin and painting it teal.  Have you heard about that?  It’s to signify that you are a home dispensing treats that are safe for little monsters that have allergies, so no nuts or wheat or crushed roaches or whatever.  I am handing out little bags of potato chips instead.  And while that is making sweet-tooth Hubby a bit pouty, I am all about the chips.  Mmmmm……
  9. Can we fine all political candidates who flood our mailboxes with glossy mailers about how wonderful they are going to be if you elect them, even though they haven’t been wonderful before this and they’re surely wasting money and materials mailing out those stupid things?  Because I could get behind that.
  10. Luna bars make a perfectly decent breakfast when you don’t want to go through the hassle of making breakfast.  My favorites are Coconut Chocolate and Honey Salted Peanut.
I shall pose like this and look like I'm in charge.

I shall pose like this and look like I’m in charge.

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